Media trust correlated with COVID-19 prevention behaviors

Whether someone takes proper (sic) precautions to fight COVID-19 may be linked to whether they trust right- or left-leaning media outlets, according to a new USC study.


Research News

Whether someone wears a mask, practices physical distancing or performs other behaviors to prevent COVID-19 infection may be linked to what media outlets they trust.

In 2020, individuals’ behavior in response to the pandemic has closely correlated with the kinds of mass media outlets they trust, according to a study authored by USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology PhD students Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu. The article was co-authored by University Professor Eileen Crimmins, holder of the AARP Chair in Gerontology, and Associate Professor of Gerontology and Sociology Jennifer Ailshire and appeared online in the journal BMJ Global Health on October 8, 2020.

Zhao, Wu and colleagues analyzed response data from the Understanding America Study’s COVID-19 panel on how often more than 4800 participants performed five virus-mitigating behaviors during the coronavirus pandemic: (1) wearing a face mask, (2) washing hands with soap or using hand sanitizer several times per day, (3) canceling or postponing personal or social activities, (4) avoiding eating at restaurants, (5) and avoiding public spaces, gatherings or crowds. In addition, the team also looked at risky health behaviors, including going out to a bar, club or other place where people gather; going to another person’s residence; having outside visitors such as friends, neighbors or relatives at one’s home; attending a gathering with more than 10 people, such as a party, concert or religious service; or having close contact (within six feet) with someone who doesn’t live with the respondent.

Using CNN as an example of a left-leaning news source and Fox News as a news source on the right side of the political spectrum, the study identified the relative amount of trust participants reported in either news source with the risky or positive behaviors they engaged in. Around 29% of respondents said they trusted CNN more than Fox News; roughly half (52%) expressed no preference between the two, and one in five (20%) said they trusted Fox more than CNN.

Risky behaviors were highest among participants who reported more trust in Fox News with an average of 1.25 risky acts in a 7-day period, followed closely by those who reported trusting neither outlet, while CNN viewers reported an average of .94 risky behaviors during the same time period. Positive behaviors were more frequently reported among those who trusted CNN (an average of 3.85 preventive actions in a 7-day window) more than those who trusted Fox News (3.41 positive behaviors on average).

The results imply that behavior sharply differs along media bias lines, indicating that partisan narratives are likely getting in the way of solid health messaging that encourages healthy behavior change.

“In such a highly partisan environment, false information can be easily disseminated. Health messaging, which is one of the few effective ways to slow down the spread of the virus in the absence of a vaccine, is being damaged by politically biased and economically focused narratives,” said Zhao and Wu.


The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health grant P30 AG017265 (Crimmins) for the USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health. The UAS COVID National Sample dataset is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NIH, and Social Security Administration.

From EurekAlert!

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October 8, 2020 10:19 pm

Correlation does not imply causation.

Bryan A
Reply to  Whizkid
October 9, 2020 5:17 am

Risky behaviors were highest among participants who reported more trust in Fox News with an average of 1.25 risky acts in a 7-day period, followed closely by those who reported trusting neither outlet, while CNN viewers reported an average of .94 risky behaviors during the same time period. Positive behaviors were more frequently reported among those who trusted CNN (an average of 3.85 preventive actions in a 7-day window) more than those who trusted Fox News (3.41 positive behaviors on average).

The results imply that behavior sharply differs along media bias lines, indicating that partisan narratives are likely getting in the way of solid health messaging that encourages healthy behavior change.

In such a highly partisan environment, false information can be easily disseminated. Health messaging, which is one of the few effective ways to slow down the spread of the virus in the absence of a vaccine, is being damaged by politically biased and economically focused narratives,” said Zhao and Wu.

So 1.25 vs .94 is statistically “sharply differing behavior” a difference of .31?
3.85 PA vs 3.41 (.46) is a dramatic difference for preventive actions?
Could simply be a rather noisy sampling, after all we do know how Vocal the radical left can be

Thomas Englert
Reply to  Bryan A
October 9, 2020 11:48 pm

So how does Fox News differ from CNN in their general recommendations on Covid-19?

All I hear from anyone at Fox (excluding Tucker) is the official line.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Whizkid
October 9, 2020 6:34 am

Did they include “going to work” as a risky behavior?

Reply to  Paul Johnson
October 9, 2020 10:39 am

WORK is white privilege.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Paul Johnson
October 9, 2020 10:48 am

The most risky is breathing and thinking freely.

Thomas Englert
Reply to  Paul Johnson
October 9, 2020 11:52 pm

“Did they include “going to work” as a risky behavior?”

Yes, but rioting and/or looting is safe.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Whizkid
October 9, 2020 7:25 am

“(3) canceling or postponing personal or social activities, (4) avoiding eating at restaurants, (5) and avoiding public spaces”

These are not meaningful, as even if you intend to do these activities, one does not do many of them when everyone else is shut in and not going out. I have no problem with public activities and we need daily germs to stay healthy, but I have been home a lot because there are few places to go. Only worn a mask to get a hair cut, only 12 minutes each of two times.

The bottomline is that many people believe the MSM and do not question what their claims. Amazing to see a doctor say that masks are our first and best line of defense and that combined with social distancing, you risk of infection is zero—this could not be more wrong.

There is a great and very short video of a man inhaling smoke through a mask and then exhaling. Smoke particles are visible and clearly larger than virus particles. One can clearly see how smoke goes out in all directions, which is where our next breath will come from. Our nose or mouth, by design, sends air away from our fact in a stream such that the next inhale comes from around your face.
“Experts Say” Masks Prevent The Spread Of Viruses” 0:23

Charles Higley
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 7:28 am

Somehow the system deleted my embedded link. Please see it below.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 7:29 am
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 8:15 am

That would be the stupidest, uninformative, irrelevant experiment with masks ever. Now do the same thing except use an airless paint sprayer as a source of say 100 micron droplets to determine the mask effectiveness.

Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 10:19 am

Why, DM? Those vape particles are the same size or larger than virus. Exhaled droplets are going to be the size determined by the mask because the force and volume of exhaled air will ensure that they pass through the mask.

Steven F
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 10:22 am

That appears to be a basic cloth mask of unknown effectiveness. Th N95 masks are a lot less flexible than the mask that person was using..

On the west cost the smoke from wild fires has been very bad this year. I have been using a HEPA air filter inside my home and it really helps reduce throat and sinus irritation. HEPA air filters are a little better than N95, and a lot better than the cloth mask in that video.

John Endicott
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 1:42 pm

Steven, Have you looked around at the masks people are wearing? The majority are wearing masks of “unknown effectiveness”.

Dr Deanster
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 7:56 am


The whole study is predicated on declaring Liberal Solutions are valid, even when they are not.

Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 8:07 am

….but masks effectively catch contaminated mucous projectiles from a sneeze, and saliva spheroids from plosive vowels while speaking. Of course the remaining 5%of viruses means your N95 mask is not going to protect you from air entrained viruses in a contaminated confined space. Basically you are ignoring the obvious because you don’t want to wear a mask because you don’t have CoVid…..makes sense, actually….so if the guy on the bus beside you sneezes, would you wish he would wear a mask ? In Japan, people with a cold have worn a mask as a courtesy to those around them for decades already.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 9, 2020 9:47 am

The best study of viral transmission with mask use showed that a good surgical mask will block at most 10% of the virus. That is not enough to prevent infection in most cases. This is why even the alarmist CDC only says that masks “may help reduce the spread” of Covid-19; which is a pretty weak statement. The word “may” is used when you don’t know one way or the other, or if you know the statement is false, but don’t want to admit it. (“Can you help me move this weekend?”, “Maybe…”) Even if you believe the “may” is really “will”, you are still left with the “help reduce the spread”, which is really just subjective opinion. How much will it help? How much reduction can we expect? Not only are these questions not answered, they don’t even have guesses. Wearing a mask to protect yourself or others from a viral agents is the equivalent of carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck. It may make you feel better, but that’s all.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 9, 2020 10:14 am

Surgical masks ensure that exhaled large particles are broken up into much smaller particles which hang in the air longer, and likely are inhaled deeper into the lungs.

Robert B
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 9, 2020 2:22 pm

Even the WHO site still points out that the effectiveness of masks is the significant reduction in infected people infecting others.

During the SARS scare, health authorities were saying that you need 16 layers of a mask to get 95% protection. This came from the Guardian.

This article seems to be a spin of “You believe me because you’re so smart”

Reply to  Whizkid
October 9, 2020 11:46 am

Yep. I started reading this screed thinking it would lead to the ominous conclusion that being a conservative means you take HUGE risks with yours and others health! I was not disappointed, either! I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in this ‘research’! After all, it comes from California, right?

Marilyn Reed
Reply to  PC_Bob
October 13, 2020 6:13 am

And AMAC one of the most liberal organizations around.

joe - the non climate scientist
Reply to  Whizkid
October 9, 2020 12:03 pm

“Correlation does not imply causation.”

True, but the guy wearing the mask when driving his car doesnt need a Biden Bumper sticker.

We already know who is voting for

freedom monger
Reply to  Whizkid
October 9, 2020 2:18 pm

“Around 29% of respondents said they trusted CNN more than Fox News; roughly half (52%) expressed no preference between the two, and one in five (20%) said they trusted Fox more than CNN.”

Since Fox News regularly trounces CNN in the ratings, does that mean people like to watch news that they don’t trust? Or, maybe, the sample itself is skewed and contains a greater percentage of CNN viewers than actually exist in reality.

October 8, 2020 10:37 pm

I have to question the validity of this study, and whether they didn’t just consciously design their study for the the results they wanted. Maybe they just made it up. Who do you trust anymore?

New survey shows Fox News more trusted than MSNBC, CNN

Of course, I also just committed a biased response, although the study was reportedly done independently by The Research Intelligencer.

When I travel internationally, before I book a hotel, I ensure it has at least Fox News or even RT (Russian) will do or even Al Jazeera is not bad unless you are looking for objective reporting on Israel. Even CCTV (China Central International TV) isn’t too bad and to see how real subtle propaganda works in English. If a hotel only has CNN with its local line-up, I have to say no thank you. Will stay somewhere else as CNN even has North Korea beat for propaganda. It’s a bad day when stuck in an airport for a 12 hour layover, and all they have is CNN.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Earthling2
October 9, 2020 4:38 am

I believe Fox is far worse than CNN. CNN unashamedly produces plenty of garbage and virtually never admits to its worst blunders. Fox pretends to be a counter to CNN and therefore reliable. It is however a blend with many rubbishy reports and illogical opinion pieces with a few substantial ones blended in. The latter may give it a veneer of reliability to the uncritical and naïve viewers but is actually misleading and deceiving them. I am sorry that a few on Fox who are concerned about thorough and careful journalism think that their being on the channel will move it away from all this junk. Wishful thinking!

Here is an interesting video that highlights the problem in the media today.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 9, 2020 5:56 am

Well, you’re entitled to your opinion. I think you are completely wrong. I verify news reports that sound wrong with multiple sources. CNN is full of BS. Fox News is much better, but has been sliding. I thought you don’t get Fox in Ireland. Or are you in Ohio, plotting against Gov. Whitmer?

Bryan A
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
October 9, 2020 10:09 am

California also has a Dublin which could explain many things

Charles Higley
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 9, 2020 7:32 am

FOX at least tries to cover the news and various opinions, but CNN unabashedly lies. So, FOX is worse than CCN because you can count on outright lies from CNN? Yeah, that makes sense?

Reply to  Earthling2
October 9, 2020 8:31 am

“The study coincides with July’s cable news ratings. Fox News finished as the most-watched cable news network for the 199th straight month, with MSNBC and CNN following, in that order.

Fox News averaged 2.4 million prime-time viewers in July, compared to 1.7 million for MSNBC and only 891,000 for CNN. Fox News’ total day average viewership of 1.4 million eclipsed its cable news rivals, as MSNBC averaged 921,000 viewers and CNN averaged an audience of 638,000 in July.”

I think the correct story for this study is that CNN watchers, mostly liberal and irresponsible, are the ones with the preponderance of “risky” behavior. Whom do you think was more likely rioting in Portland, CNN viewers or Fox News viewers?

John Endicott
Reply to  BobM
October 9, 2020 1:49 pm

they’re not “rioters”, they’re “mostly peaceful protesters”, so says the CNN Chyron and if you can’t believe the CNN Chyron who can you believe? 😉

Reply to  John Endicott
October 9, 2020 2:17 pm


Jimmy Haigh
October 8, 2020 10:44 pm

I think it’s mainly gullibility. It’s generally the same people who have swallowed the global warming/climate change scam as well. Without a doubt it is the smartest of the people I know who have fallen for neither.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
October 9, 2020 12:31 am

I’d say less credulous, not smarter. I don’t trust any media sources, I like to find out for myself.

I know many smart people who have fallen for the CAGW and COVID-19 scares, generally trusting the media and mostly without doing their own research.

I also know sceptics of both who also believe some pretty kooky stuff. They are also credulous, but of different things.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 9, 2020 7:34 am

Many smart, educated people swiller both scams because they have not taken the time to check out the claims. In climate change, good scientists who stop to check things out almost always convert to skeptic, as the science behind manmade global warming is non-existent.

joe - the non climate scientist
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 9, 2020 12:06 pm

“I know many smart people who have fallen for the CAGW and COVID-19 scares,”

One of the most prominent was –

the surge in COVID cases beginning early June was cause by all the July 4th gatherings.

Climate believer
October 8, 2020 11:20 pm

Have these people actually watched CNN?

October 8, 2020 11:32 pm

To me it doesn’t look as though ‘behaviour sharply differs along media bias lines,’ with 1.25 vs 0.94 risky behaviours and 3.85 vs 3.41 preventive behaviours. A difference certainly but not a sharp one.

Reply to  richardw
October 9, 2020 12:33 am

In their world, anything that supports their narratives ” sharply differs.” Their “confidence interval” is based whether the findings support the party line or not, rather than statistical significance.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Ralph Dave Westfall
October 9, 2020 3:32 am

It’s an UNPRECEDENTED!!! difference. Those benighted fools who don’t BELIEVE IN SCIENCE are an EXISTENTIAL THREAT to society.

More blah blah woof woof from our EurekAlert! friends.

John Endicott
Reply to  richardw
October 9, 2020 1:52 pm

In the world of narrative over facts, “riots” are to “mostly peaceful protests” as “1.25 vs 0.94” is to “sharply differs”

October 9, 2020 12:51 am

So Zhao and Wu think you should take notice of Xi’s psy-ops messaging.

Who knew?

October 9, 2020 5:58 am


Rich Davis
October 9, 2020 8:00 am

You may be right that they are communist agents slavishly following Xi Jin Ping’s direction, but just because they are apparently ethnically Chinese doesn’t mean they are Chicom agents. They could be loyal American citizens, or dissidents from Hong Kong, or from Taiwan. Admittedly, the fact that they’re pushing party line crap is a good reason to criticize them. Just the same, if the topic was Israel and you made a similar comment about a Steinberg and Goldberg, just based on their names, I’m sure you’d see a problem with that.

There’s no excuse for treating individuals as being defined by their ethnic or racial characteristics that they can’t control. That’s what the BLM racists do.

Reply to  Rich Davis
October 14, 2020 4:31 pm

Well said

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 9, 2020 1:20 am

Almost all news media in the West is now near complete in diverse opinion suppression.
This following case illustrates this very well:

Fake Fact-Checking

The case is interesting because the defendant’s video about the California wildfires was never seen by Facebook’s review board. The defendant contacted and got response from the two reviewers and he finally got response from Facebook which confermed, between the lines, that the reason for throttling the video was his mention of Michael Shellenberger.

COVID-19 scientific viewpoint diversity is even more desperately aggressively suppressed.

Welcome to birth of the new Western Green Democratic Regime – The Blue Planet In Green Shackles.

Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 1:39 am

I see people driving in their cars everyday, windows up, with surgical masks on.

Then I know there is no hope for a substantial %-age of humanity from repeating walking into a gas chamber disguised as shower.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 5:52 am

Point and laugh. It’s for their own good.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 5:56 am

– technically (if you believe in the holy mask), you put it on and keep it on until you take it off to discard or sterilize it.

But I see them around Tucson, too. I try to let them get as far away from me as possible, so that I hopefully don’t end up running into the debris field when they whack someone else with their car. There were more than enough people driving around in this town with an obvious deficiency of forebrain even before they started cutting back on oxygen as part of their diet.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 6:10 am

A few perhaps drive past photo radar cameras. In Colorado at least, a valid ticket requires that the driver’s face not be obscured.

The rest are covidiots.

Rob Duncan
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 6:16 am


I see that all the time here in Indianapolis, and appreciate your comment.

However, I have to admit that sometimes I have my mask on in my car. But to be be fair, I recently have been instructed to return to the office after working from home (where I did not have to wear a mask) for the past seven months. Per company COVID policy, I have to wear my mask in common areas when I leave my office. So I put it on, walk to my vehicle, jump in my vehicle and forget I have the blue out surgical mask on until I almost pass out(wink and nod). I promptly pull it off, put down the window and take in the fresh air:) So maybe all the folks wearing masks in their cars are not lemmings, but just a bit distracted. But I fear your thesis is probably more on point than my single personal experience:)

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 6:52 am

When my wife an I see one, we just laugh and say, “there is another Harris/Biden voter.

I guess we are being unscientific?

Len Werner
Reply to  Drake
October 9, 2020 7:32 am

“Someone driving alone in a car, wearing a mask, is why suppositories have to come with instructions”–from my brother.

Incidentally, I saw ads for masks in a flier from our local paper last night, advertising a per-unit cost of 20¢. We actually have people in our society that believe they can buy a virus protective device for 20¢–and that’s after manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and several profit margins.

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 12:08 pm

“I see people driving in their cars everyday, windows up, with surgical masks on.”

No reason for those people to have a Biden bumper sticker.

We already know who they are voting for.

freedom monger
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 2:31 pm

I have to wear my “muzzle” for work, and sometimes I forget to take it off when I drive home. So, its possible that some people may not even be thinking about it. My “muzzle” is fairly comforable as far as muzzles go.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 9, 2020 4:40 pm

I’m not sure I’d call those paper-napkin style masks “surgical” masks.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 14, 2020 4:34 pm

Isn’t that like saying Holocaust victims were foolish?
Sounds nasty.

Reply to  Paul
October 14, 2020 4:36 pm
Carl Friis-Hansen
October 9, 2020 2:35 am

It going terrible in Sweden./SARC

Today October 8th 2020 I see that five (5) people have died with or of COVID-19, or was it just that they had the SARS-CoV-2 virus? We don’t know, but the mortality has been between 0 and 4 since August 23rd in a population of 10 million. We have now peaked 0.5ppm the last two months.

Will we see a “second wave” here in the mask-less Sweden, like we see in the masked population around Europe and North America? – Personally I doubt this will happen to any significant extend.

I was at an old Danish/Swedish friend’s funeral yesterday. No, he didn’t die of COVID-19. In the Swedish church none with masks, at the lunch afterwards none with masks. This despite the guests from Denmark use masks in their home country.

Apart from a few children, we were all between 55 and 82 years of age. Spontaneous several people said they were really, really tired of the whole COVID-19 thingy. It occurred to me that they all complied with masks in Denmark due to their trust and “obligation” to their government and the horrific descriptions in the media.

My late father, who traveled the world putting up cement factories, once said: “Denmark is the only country in the world where pedestrians wait for green light despite no traffic in sight.”
Today it appears that most Western countries behave like the Danish pedestrians. – Where has common sense and our parent wisdom gone?

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 9, 2020 9:33 am

Really? I’ve only experienced that (waiting for the green light in an empty street) in Sweden. 😉

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  RobH
October 9, 2020 10:27 am

Agree totally.

The thing is though that my father’s announcement stems from the 1960s and at that time there were hardly any traffic lights in Sweden.
Even pawed roads were not the norm in Sweden back then. Weekends in Sweden resulted in at least one puncture on the washboard gravel roads; but it was very beautiful anyway and we didn’t use face masks back then either.

Dodgy Geezer
October 9, 2020 2:39 am

Breaking News!!!

Whether people say that they trust Left-Wing media depends on whether they are Left-Wing or not!

Is this an unexpected result???

Paul C
October 9, 2020 4:36 am

Why are they doing this
Epidemic happened, and government messed up. Epidemic over, and government continues to mess things up, and tries to cover up their earlier failings. Sweden appears to have the only government that operated in the best interests of its citizens (in this instance).
Just do the things you should be doing anyway. Wash hands. Supplement with vit C, D, zinc. If you have the opportunity to replace door handles, taps, or handrails, try to find uncoated brass fittings for their antimicrobial properties. Look into MVHR ventilation to efficiently remove contanimants from indoor spaces. Try to obtain some long term benefit from the belated measures taken to combat the recent epidemic.

Norman Blanton
October 9, 2020 4:44 am

Did the correct for age,
or even race, gender/sex(whatever those are nowadays), education…

October 9, 2020 4:50 am

see funding by billygates
so hes ok with cnn…does he fund them to?

very old white guy
October 9, 2020 4:59 am

The CDC says there has not been any isolation of a virus called covid19, does that mean it doesn’t exist? I would guess they are talking about SARS-CoV-2 which is what the virus is supposed to be, so just what is it?

Jeffery P
October 9, 2020 5:04 am

Define “risky behavior.” Is not following CDC guidelines “safe”or is following Team Doomsday’s hysterical fear-based group-think protocols the standard?

Anyone who looks at evidence knows masks have almost near zero effectiveness. Same with lockdowns. Is not living in fear of a virus that’s no more deadly than influenza for the majority of people considered risky or sensible?

Reply to  Jeffery P
October 9, 2020 5:59 am

Anyone who thinks they are not inhaling a cloud of material expelled from other peoples’ lungs when in an enclosed area, with or without a surgical mask, is just kidding themselves.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
October 9, 2020 11:29 am

I didn’t read them, but judging from the titles I don’t understand how those studies contradict what I said. Surgical masks don’t work against viruses.

Reply to  icisil
October 9, 2020 7:50 pm

icisil- surgical masks don’t protect against viruses. According to the manufacturer they were designed to protect the surgeons and helpers from blood, sputum, and the mess of doing surgery.
An anesthetized patient with a breathing tube is highly unlikely to say anything.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Jeffery P
October 9, 2020 6:06 am

I think the authors show by their terminology that they trust CNN and are therefore leftists. Is there a reason why so many of the authors of alarmist articles pushing solutions that will destroy the western economy has Chinese-sounding names.

October 9, 2020 5:17 am

Great news-

“Lawsuits in the United States and in Europe are being filed against the large corporate perpetrators of the coronavirus fake pandemic. International lawyer Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, with a successful track record against the likes of Deutsche Bank and VW Audi, has posted a new Youtube video announcing the new legal actions.

“I have been practicing law against fraudulent corporations for over 26 years. We must ensure that, on a political level, never again should anyone be allowed to be in a position to defraud humanity and attempt to manipulate us with their corrupt agendas,” said Dr Fuellmich’

Even the United States CDC, even this institution agrees with this, and I quote directly from page 38 of one of its publications on the coronavirus and the PCR tests, dated July 13, 2020. First bullet point says:

“Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019 nCOV [novel coronavirus] is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.”

Second bullet point says:

“The performance of this test has not been established for monitoring treatment of 2019 nCOV infection.” Third bullet point says: “This test cannot rule out diseases caused by other bacterial or viral pathogens.”
It is still not clear whether there has ever been a scientifically correct isolation of the Wuhan virus, so that nobody knows exactly what we’re looking for when we test, especially since this virus, just like the flu viruses, mutates quickly. The PCR swabs take one or two sequences of a molecule that are invisible to the human eye and therefore need to be amplified in many cycles to make it visible. Everything over 35 cycles is – as reported by the New York Times and others – considered completely unreliable and scientifically unjustifiable. However, the Drosten test, as well as the WHO-recommended tests that followed his example, are set to 45 cycles. Can that be because of the desire to produce as many positive results as possible and thereby provide the basis for the false assumption that a large number of infections have been detected?

Full transcript here-

Reply to  richard
October 9, 2020 6:33 am

I found this long string of posts on false positive PCR due to contamination interesting

October 9, 2020 5:50 am

So intelligent people ignore stupid advice? Who’d a thunk it…

October 9, 2020 5:52 am

All media lie, so it’s really a matter of which lies more. In this particular case both Huffpost and FoxNews headlines say basically the same thing, but Fox is a little more honest because they include complications. Whenever you see that word used it’s a good sign that the person didn’t die of, or from, covid (which in this case he didn’t).

Ex-Hockey Pro Tyler Amburgey Dies Of COVID-19 At Age 29

Texas youth hockey coach, 29, dies from coronavirus complications days after feeling sick

Averil Amburgey’s death was ruled an accidental death due to oxycodone and alprazolam toxicity with his symptomatic Covid-19 infection contributing to his death. – Medical Examiner

Reply to  icisil
October 9, 2020 6:24 am

The Dangers Of Mixing Xanax And Oxycodone

Mixing a benzodiazepine like Xanax with an opioid, like oxycodone can increase the chance of respiratory depression, slowed breathing, slowed heart rate, overdose, and death.

October 9, 2020 6:20 am

You will obey. /unfortunately, NOT Sarc

October 9, 2020 6:31 am

In an effort to keep everyone safe from the spread of disease, it is hereby decreed that everyone will, henceforth, carry and use only their own personal fork. Sharing your fork or using someone else’s fork is now subject to heavy penalties. You will carry your own fork with you at all times. Failure to carry your own fork with you will be subject to penalty. You may not use disposable forks as there aren’t enough to supply the entire population with disposable forks. You may make your own fork out of any material, whether such material is sanitary or not. You will rarely, if ever, wash and or sanitize your fork. This will reduce the spread of disease. /Sarc!

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Phil
October 9, 2020 7:49 am

+a lot.

very good. double plus good, in fact.

Reply to  Phil
October 9, 2020 10:06 am

– any other tidbits you feel like sharing from your bug in Emperor Newsome’s throne room?

Reply to  Writing Observer
October 9, 2020 11:58 am

Newsome will likely mandate feed bags next so that diners can eat without taking off their masks.

John Endicott
Reply to  Phil
October 9, 2020 1:58 pm

Except in London, Phil. In London your fork will be classified as a deadly weapon and be confiscated along side your butter knife. But you can keep your spoon (for now).

Jeffery P
October 9, 2020 6:59 am

You will be assimulated.

Reply to  Jeffery P
October 9, 2020 1:54 pm

You already are… 🙂


Jon R
October 9, 2020 8:06 am

Fox News has gone pretty much full Bolshevik lately, just saying,

Kevin kilty
October 9, 2020 8:29 am

The problem of speaking about “risk” with people who have no information about risk, is the tremendous extent to which risk and personal control are covariates of one another. The more people believe they have personal control over something, the less risk they perceive. This is true about practically anything from driving automobiles to recreational activities, work, and so forth. Thus, masks, which give people a sort of “charm” giving them control, also promote a belief that they are in less risk. I won’t even get into a discussion about how awful most of these masks are.

In case people haven’t noticed, there is a mini-epidemic right now on college campuses. It isn’t huge, but it is significant enough to have caused the trend of diminishing rate of infection since late July to flatten out in the month of September nationally. Our local U put together a reopening plan with the goal of preventing COVID-19 in toto, then modified to the slightly more credible goal of preventing “to extent possible”. The complete list of “rules” looks about like living in East Germany, but the hysterical focus on masks, combined with wearing a mask of any sort being a covariate with risk perception, probably led to students engaging in all sorts of socialing without a thought of COVID transmission. The result: a mini-epidemic, and in our case one that has dominated the statistics for the entire state.

Switch to the powers on campus who make up rules. These people thought that endless and comprehensive testing gave them an element of control, thus reduced their risks. When I wrote to them to comment on the unrealistic assumptions on their plan, I got from them the impression that they didn’t really understand false test results, had no plan for how to manage false results, didn’t seem to understand the time lag between tests and results reporting provides a window for all sorts of other factors to become involved, and so forth. Students, who so rarely get sick from this, have even figured out hacks to undermine the tests. And they have gone home to smaller towns in the state, and then come back to campus, despite being asked not to do so. This is no small consideration in a state with small population, and where everyone goes to the one University.

But the real sorry state of this is illustrated by the fact that now, a total of one-eighth of “lab confirmed cases” in our state, over all since the start of the epidemic, have as symptoms “no symptoms”. How does a department of health plot date of onset of symptoms for such people, and how does one get confirmed as symptom free?

I understand that 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 shows that the epidemic is real, but the plans and responses of government, when examined in detail, are almost beyond parody. If someone ever gets around to writing a history about this, I am not sure they will ever be able to capture the farce it became in many instances.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
October 9, 2020 8:40 am

Something like 70,000 positives on US campuses, 3 hospitalizations and zero deaths. The flu is more deadly to that age group.

very old white guy
Reply to  icisil
October 10, 2020 4:19 am

average age of fatalities, 78.2 yrs.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
October 10, 2020 7:13 pm

Coronapanic is very hard to believe, but it is NOT unprecedented. They did the same things in 1918–resulting in weakened immune systems and millions of deaths in 1919.

Wearing a germy face diaper reduces vitamin D, increases concentration of whatever microbes are a round, and will result in major sickness epidemics this November thru April. Most of it will not be COVID–but those risible tests will call it covid and the sheeple will believe it.

October 9, 2020 8:54 am

What this study says is that when it comes to information and information arena these days,
52% of ppl will care think about and disseminate it without consideration of the conclusion or the opinion offered by the “agent”.
29% will care absorb it on the line of the conclusion or the opinion offered by the “agent”,
in consideration mainly of the “orthodox authority”.
20% will care absorb it on the line of the position-opinion offered by the “agent”,
in consideration mainly of the “heretic opposition”.

Well that seems healthy to me,
Where majority still seem capable of thinking and still manage to think independently,
and the rest still offers a quasi balanced opposition environment, keeping the “ball” rolling.

If I understand this correctly,
as far as ppl concerned, this is not a doom and gloom information arena,
despite all hype and censoring.
Looks good, feels good.
What is there to moan about… especially when only ~29% seems to have no immunity to;
“ready-steady, heads on fire, Go”…

Only an opinion.


October 9, 2020 9:29 am

“Using CNN as an example of a left-leaning news source”

Leaning?? They fell over a long time ago.

Dale S
October 9, 2020 9:58 am

Without a link to the study it’s difficult to fairly assess it, but the “preventative”/”negative” actions listed may be mandated/prohibited by local/state mandates, and those mandates are known to be more aggressive in Dem-leaning areas. By itself this should produce a bias towards the “media-trusting” Democratic areas. (Since those also have higher per capita death rates, it’s a pity they aren’t looking for correlation between preventative/negative actions and Covid dath rate, instead of nebulous media trust — that would be more amusing.)

Still, it’s interesting to read that both camps have an average of only 3-4 positive behaviors *per week* — less than once per day. I wonder how that’s counted.. And both camps round to just one “risky” behavior per week.

October 9, 2020 10:06 am

“five virus-mitigating behaviors during the coronavirus pandemic: (1) wearing a face mask, (2) washing hands with soap or using hand sanitizer several times per day, (3) canceling or postponing personal or social activities, (4) avoiding eating at restaurants, (5) and avoiding public spaces, gatherings or crowds.”

#2 (wash hands) and #5 (avoid crowds of 50+) are the only two that are proven to work. Numbers 3, 4 & 5 are all dealing with size of crowds so simplify it to “avoid crowds of 50+”.

Check out how various countries are doing:

Sweden, Belarus and Nicaragua are interesting but Taiwan takes the cake. In this pandemic, like golf, a lower score is better and I don’t see anyone beating 7. How are they counting deaths compared to other countries? What treatments are they providing and early/late?

Reply to  TRM
October 9, 2020 11:39 am

I suspect that at least some countries with low mortalities are actually doing out-patient treatments, rather than largely shutting that down, like in the US, and telling people to only go to the hospital when the disease has progressed to a serious state that is harder to treat and treated with toxic experimental drugs and ventilators.

Planning Engineer
October 9, 2020 11:37 am

I’d like to know what differences there were in infection rates based on media trust.

Robert of Texas
October 9, 2020 12:57 pm

“The results imply that behavior sharply differs along media bias lines, indicating that partisan narratives are likely getting in the way of solid health messaging that encourages healthy behavior change.”

Or…conservative minded people are more skeptical than liberal minded people and like to decide things for themselves rather than march to a social group-think.

I wonder if there was a difference in infection rate between conservatives and liberals…hmm. I am willing to bet there was, and more liberals (as a percent of their group) where infected then conservatives. Lots of reasons why this might be so, but it could easily be twisted into a narrative about who lies about their prevention habits more.

Just more propaganda.

Andy Pattullo
October 10, 2020 8:01 am

My study shows that trust in commercial media correlates more strongly with spectacularly poor investment decisions, and a high frequency of unintended self-injury.

October 10, 2020 8:37 pm

Here is an interesting tidbit. Yesterday I walked up to the local store, and the local paper had a headline stating that there had been 7 confirmed cases in the county this week. I made a remark about that to the owner, and she replied that they were all proven to be false positives. This after noon I took a look at the NYT virus update page, updated to the afternoon of the 10th at the time. Their page clearly stated that my county had 10 confirmed new cases this week. Given how many counties (3,141) there are in the US it would then be a simple matter to alter the daily US new case count in whatever direction they wanted to. Think about it. The daily new case average was running around 40,000/day since the middle of August. Then in the last 3 days the numbers shoot up over 50,000/day just like magic. All of the media sites get to talk about that. It verifies the exact number which Biden had stated in his recent town hall meetings, that there were 50K+/day in new cases in the US even before there were actually 50K/day occurring. How does that happen.

BIden also gives another false numbers claim over the last 6 weeks. That is the claim that wearing masks could save 100,000 lives by the end of the year, if everyone wore a mask. Yet, it is obvious now that with a declining daily death count down to 700/day for the last 3 weeks that means we should expect to see less than 65,000 total new deaths by the end of the year. The daily rate would have to jump up to 2,000+ a day in order for Biden’s remarks to become true. For one that shows how out of touch that Biden is, and that he is lousy with numbers. Another thought is will the number fixers do something like switch flu cases to covid cases to boost the covid count? You could get a count of close to several hundred thousand when the flu season kicks in, if the flu was extra strong, or if the people who make the yearly flu vaccines mess up the vaccines. One thing of which I am now certain of is that the hand of man is 100% behind this virus in making it appear worse than it is to drive/herd people into becoming obedient to an agenda.

I came across a video in which Dr Fauci is participating in a video conference hosted by Cell, a medical publishing site. In that video Fauci discusses forming a new UN committee with extraordinary powers to handle future crisises. Fauci speaks of the need to sacrifice and completely change society in an operation which will likely take several decades of hardship. Those are his words!!!!!!!!!!! It sounds like something that would be said by CCP officials, or Obama, or Soros, or by the climate change agenda people. I see now that Dr Fauci is one of “them”. That is beyond doubt.

October 10, 2020 10:21 pm

In other news, poll shows that people on the left are more likely to have very exaggerated views of the dangers of the virus

October 11, 2020 8:20 pm

The secret service was put at great risk by being masked (SFP2) next to masked (chirurgical) Donald Trump – allegedly.

So now spare us the “proper (sic) precautions to fight COVID-19”. Corona will get us all even if we have spacesuits. We are doomed.

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