Where do you go when you don't trust official data sources?

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by 10GaugeNeedles 10GaugeNeedles, BSN Member Nurse

Specializes in Acute Dialysis. Has 13 years experience.

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Been engaged in alot of discussion under the COVID heading. Got me thinking. I find myself not trusting published data. There's so much politicization of everything. The government agencies are simply not independent and they are the source of most information. They want compliance. Period. Why wouldn't they change the data to fit? They certainly could and they have before. They constantly put out demands and conflicting information over and over again. Masks are BS. They don't protect anything. they stop a cough. GREAT! But they push masks like they are vital to life. People are wearing their masks while jogging in the woods. seriously? What the foxtrot!!? 

I hear all colors of reports about anecdotal stories of people being hurt by the vaccines. Those stories don't even exist as far as official sources are concerned. Do I risk the vaccine hurting me or COVID hurting me? Neither is a good option. COVID is a crap shoot. but taking the vaccine is a conscious choice. People come out of COVID without a problem. people take the vaccine without a problem. Both sides are valid in my mind. but now they are forcing the vaccine by law. This isn't a clear situation. It's very muddy. vaccinated still get infected but the narrative is the vaccine is totally safe, effective, and mandatory and will save the world. How do we know the vaccine isn't driving mutation? If I can't trust the source, how the hell can I make an informed decision? The drug companies have a massive profit motive to avoid any bad press. did they really disclose all their data?

Every single positive case is counted as a case. Are vaccine injuries treated the same? How many people harmed by the vaccine are taken into account? There's no way to know. Positive case: Always assume regardless of symptoms. Vaccine injury claim: PROVE IT WITH AN AUTOPSY!! IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN THE VACCINE!! ITS PROBABLY SOMETHING ELSE!! HERE'S A REFERRAL NOW GET OUT OF MY OFFICE!! (Yes I'm being hyperbolic). Its a double standard and there's no way we can get a clear picture with a double standard like that. This whole thing is a mess. 

Does anyone else feel like they have found an unbiased source of information that someone who doesn't trust CDC, FDA, government bodies can turn to to make an informed decision? I'm tired of all the fighting and politicization. I just want unbiased information. If you are like me, what did you do to get a clear picture of this mess and come to a conclusion about vax vs avoid? I'm seriously frustrated. I don't want to add to the problem. But I also don't want to get vaccination injury which can be just as bad as anything I can get from (yes liberals, vaccine injury happens. deal with it). Sigh....tired. I hope this makes sense. Does anyone else feel like this? I hope I'm not the only one. 

Charlcie

Charlcie, BSN, RN

Specializes in Travel Nurse, All ICU specialties and ED. Has 11 years experience. 63 Posts

Personally I don't have any issue with the information released by the CDC or WHO. However, I am aware that there is currently distrust. I recommend people who do not trust the WHO or CDC to reputable research institutions who do not have any reason to lie and nothing to gain. Johns Hopkins has a very transparent and informative page. I agree that we need to look at information with a objective eye and mindset, the same way we were taught when examining a piece of published research. I personally never felt like there was any concealment when the vaccines caused adverse reactions.

  • The J&J was halted when it was discovered it caused TTS and only resumed after further investigation suggested this was rare and occurred mostly in women under 50. That gives that population a heads up so they can talk to their doctor and make sure they do not have any other risk factors.
  • It's also widespread and easy to find that the instances of Myocarditis and Pericarditis increased by roughly a thousand and it researchers have identified a possible link to the pfizer and moderna vaccines. however, again, this is 1 thousand cases in about 100 million.

I know this may not have been what you were looking for, but this is the type of information that I find helpful in explaining that the vaccines are safe (although like any medical treatment they will never be 100% risk free). 

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,566 Posts

2 hours ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

Sigh....tired. I hope this makes sense. Does anyone else feel like this? I hope I'm not the only one. 

Lots of people are trying to find reasons to justify pushing against mitigation and vaccination during a deadly pandemic.  My guess is that you will find more sympathy on social media platforms than on a nursing forum. The science and public health recommendations aren't really muddy at all.  No health professional should be surprised that a novel virus comes with unknowns. Neither should they be surprised that simple masks and distance should be our first line tools in combating a respiratory pathogen. 

10GaugeNeedles

10GaugeNeedles, BSN

Specializes in Acute Dialysis. Has 13 years experience. 334 Posts

1 hour ago, Charlcie said:

Personally I don't have any issue with the information released by the CDC or WHO. However, I am aware that there is currently distrust. I recommend people who do not trust the WHO or CDC to reputable research institutions who do not have any reason to lie and nothing to gain. Johns Hopkins has a very transparent and informative page. I agree that we need to look at information with a objective eye and mindset, the same way we were taught when examining a piece of published research. I personally never felt like there was any concealment when the vaccines caused adverse reactions.

  • The J&J was halted when it was discovered it caused TTS and only resumed after further investigation suggested this was rare and occurred mostly in women under 50. That gives that population a heads up so they can talk to their doctor and make sure they do not have any other risk factors.
  • It's also widespread and easy to find that the instances of Myocarditis and Pericarditis increased by roughly a thousand and it researchers have identified a possible link to the pfizer and moderna vaccines. however, again, this is 1 thousand cases in about 100 million.

I know this may not have been what you were looking for, but this is the type of information that I find helpful in explaining that the vaccines are safe (although like any medical treatment they will never be 100% risk free). 

Thanks for the Hopkins suggestion. I started this separate thread to hopefully get an idea how other healthcare workers felt about this whole thing as well. Sometimes I find myself wondering if I've listened to too many "alternative views" shall we say and possibly become biased in the wrong direction without realizing it. 

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,566 Posts

3 minutes ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

Sometimes I find myself wondering if I've listened to too many "alternative views" shall we say and possibly become biased in the wrong direction without realizing it. 

It's the "alternate" facts and data that's the problem.  Sticking with reputable science and journalism sources is always the best strategy for informing oneself in troubling times...especially when the reporting on misinformation and disinformation campaigns have identified where people are getting much of the bad pandemic info.

But seriously, even apart from this pandemic, there's been a real assault on truth in this country.  Too many people rely upon overtly biased opinions and commentary to shape their own opinions rather than relying upon the facts. It takes less time.

Charlcie

Charlcie, BSN, RN

Specializes in Travel Nurse, All ICU specialties and ED. Has 11 years experience. 63 Posts

5 minutes ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

Thanks for the Hopkins suggestion. I started this separate thread to hopefully get an idea how other healthcare workers felt about this whole thing as well. Sometimes I find myself wondering if I've listened to too many "alternative views" shall we say and possibly become biased in the wrong direction without realizing it. 

You're welcome. I personally wasn't worried about getting vaccinated but I know many who were and still are. Sources like this helped me feel reassured and confident in my decision to vaccinate and encourage others too as well. I think we all have so much emotion and pain built up, regardless of which side of things we see. I've found taking a break from social media and trying to keep up with a few sources that I find reliable has helped keep me current and grounded in the science (vs the opinion/emotional) side of things. 

SansNom

116 Posts

I too have been talking/thinking/reading/watching all things covid-related practically nonstop since the beginning of the pandemic. Mostly because I'm interested and want to know all that I can, and partly also because I'm a healthcare professional and I feel it's my duty to know the most accurate answers available to the questions we have.

First of all, I think it's a bad idea to discount any source entirely, especially ones like the CDC and WHO because believe it or not, the more popular the source is then the more people pay attention to it meaning the more people scrutinize it. It's much harder for an organization like the CDC to get away with flat out lying about information than some small Youtube channel or website because literally millions and millions of people are following it, many of which are experts in the field, and scrutinizing everything they put out. Small sources tend to have small audiences, most of whom are people who sought out those sources because they already tend to believe some preconceived narrative, so it's much easier to make up whatever you want and not be questioned. This is not to say all small, independent sources can't be trusted or that some info isn't selectively published by mainstream sources to follow a narrative, or reported in a way to serve a purpose, but the CDC could not just make up whatever they want without people calling their bluff because they're so squarely in the spotlight constantly.

As for subjects like masks, they were always being proposed as one tool of many to help curve the numbers, not some magic bullet that would end the pandemic if everyone just put them on. Just because people ACT like they're some magical cure all and misuse them constantly doesn't mean that's what any real agency is recommending.

Keep in mind too that this whole pandemic has been a constant influx of information, and as we've gained new information we've had to alter our behavior and recommendations accordingly. People don't seem to grasp this. No one alive on this planet but a handful of centurians were even around during the last pandemic so this is a real life, real time science experiment we're experiencing on a global level. Info is going to change, it's just how it works when you're learning about something new. It doesn't mean people are just making it up.

A lot of data can be validated by cross referencing to various other sources. This can be time consuming and annoying, but worth it if you're concerned about having an accurate opinion. Look at hospitalization and severity of the unvaxxed versus the vaxxed, for example. You can look numbers up on mainstream news sources. Don't trust them? Then go to individual hospital websites nationwide that are reporting those kinds of numbers and see how that aligns with the mainstream narrative. Still don't trust them? Then go to people working in those settings directly (if you aren't working there yourself) and see how their experiences align with reported hospital numbers and mainstream reports. I work in 3 different city hospitals in my area and am frequently in their ICUs talking with their doctors and other nurses and looking through charts. I know from first hand experience that hospitalized covid patients in my area are definitely predominately unvaxxed, and by far nearly all the most critical ones (on ECMO and ventilators in the ICU) are unvaxxed. This aligns with the "offical" or "mainstream" reports, which also aligns with individual hospital reports nationwide, which combined gives high credibility to the narrative that hospitalized patients, especially the most critical ones, are predominantly unvaxxed.

While a "spin" of a story or selective reporting of data is common in media and mainstream reports, it's extremely rare to see data literally made up out of thin air.

As for dangers of the vaccine, absolutely no one I've ever heard has denied that there have been negative reactions to it. Some of which have been quite significant. But as with ANY drug or vaccine that we've ever had, we are weighing benefits against risks. I've helped treat hundreds of covid patients, many on their death bed, but I've yet to see one single patient admitted for complications from the vaccine. This certainly doesn't mean that it's not happening, just that it's substantially more rare to be hospitalized over a reaction to the vaccine than to get seriously sick from covid. The data from multiple sources and personal experience shows over and over and over again that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.
It's kind of like having airbags and wearing a seatbelt in your car. Sure, many people die in car wrecks despite these safety features, but we still all have them in our vehicles because they significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome in the event of an accident. Dismissing something because there's a small chance of a negative outcome despite evidence of a significant increase of the chances of positive outcomes is just bad risk assessment.

All this to say no, there is no singular source of information that will never be biased and tell the whole story from every possible angle. Instead, it's up to us to dig around, look at a story or a topic from multiple angles, and put the pieces together. It's a pain in the ***, but worth it.

 

Guest219794

Guest219794

2,453 Posts

5 hours ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

Masks are BS. they don't protect anything. they stop a cough.

If, as a nurse, this is what you understand about masks, then you should seriously question where and how you inform yourself.

5 hours ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

people are wearing their masks while jogging in the woods

That does reflect a misunderstanding of how masks work.  Ideally this is not being done by nurses, who should actually understand virus transmission, and AFAIK, not being recommended by any of the official sources you distrust.

 

5 hours ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

I hear all colors of reports about anecdotal stories of people being hurt by the vaccines.

As a  nurse, you clearly understand the extreme limitations of anecdotal evidence.  Misuse and misunderstanding of anecdotal evidence is why people are scared of dying in a plane crash and are comfortable driving.  No doubt you have heard about the drunk guy not wearing a seatbelt thrown from the vehicle before it caught fire, and so relaxed when he landed he had no injuries.

6 hours ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

but now they are forcing the vaccine by law.

Who is being forced to take the vaccine?  I have been required to be vaccinated in order to do certain things since shortly after being born.  Public school, camp, international travel, nursing school.....  

Ironically, nurses have accepted being required to be vaccinated against thngs that are not generally transmissible in a healthcare setting- tetanus and hep.  This vaccine will protect you, but the point of the requirement os to protect the patient.

6 hours ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

the narrative is the vaccine is totally safe, effective, and mandatory and will save the world.

Have you got a link from any of the sources you are concerned about, eg CDC, that make this ridiculous claim?  Obviously there are risks and benefits.  I have not seen any credible source claiming this.

6 hours ago, 10GaugeNeedles said:

yes liberals, vaccine injury happens.

This virus does not give a crap about your politics.  Neither does the vaccine.  There are plenty of conservative scientists, physicians, epidemiologists, virologists, etc..... they are overwhelmingly vaccinated.  Sure, they get their news from FOX, but they sure as hell don't make personal medical decisions based on Tucker Carlson, or the crazy Jewish Space Lazer lady. Think of all the docs you work with.  Pretty well educated, pretty smart.  Probably understand the science better than you- They understand it better than me.  How many of them are not vaccinated?

litepath2

litepath2

Specializes in ICU/Burn ICU/MSICU/NeuroICU. Has 12 years experience. 69 Posts

You think you/me/we got it so bad? How about the general public? Those folks are taking a beating unless they bury their heads and march to the beat of only one drum. Those folks I dearly care about.

For the discerning person who doesn't mind research, it's a tough road unless you ignore certain signals. 

IMO we have .gov to thank for much of the root problem (and this dates back to mid 20th century). They and the media have destroyed the trust of the American populace. Now we trust that they have an agenda vice being that 4th arm of the Estate, looking sniffing and calling out BS from both political sides equally in the name of America. /derail.

But back to COVID and info. I'm skeptical of the vax and it's producers and the contracts to the various .govs in the world. I keep my head grounded by following the "COVID Long Haul" Social Media pages so I can daily read what people are dealing with in their own lives, while at the same time, like you, researching left/right/to/fro.

I do not ignore any of the alphabet agencies, because all data is data. I mean, ****, they even wiped the *waybackmachine* last year for one entity (I was monitoring). There may be trusted sources out there, like Alex Berenson & Brett Weinstein, but not many IMO. I need to hear clear cogent statements to get my full attention. 

I keep an open mind and, just trudge on amidst the horror show.

Guest219794

Guest219794

2,453 Posts

On 8/27/2021 at 11:09 AM, litepath2 said:

Alex Berenson & Brett Weinstein

Not even sure what to say.

Wow.

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,566 Posts

On 8/27/2021 at 11:29 AM, hherrn said:

Not even sure what to say.

Wow.

Maybe the fellow will get something right about covid to justify people's trust...someday, maybe. 

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,335 Posts

Info sources beyond CDC, WHO

1. Medical and Nursing professional journals that peer review articles like  New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, AJN, AORN, OJIN-Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, American Nurse

2. Respected health care organizations + medical schools/universities: Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, Penn Medicine, Stanford Health, Kaiser Family Foundation

3. Respected health websites  Medscape, 

4. Professional organizations: Institute of Medicine, AMA, ANA, Sigma Theta Tau, AACN

5. Other countries: International Council of Nursing, Royal College of Nursing, Australian College of Nursing

Validate information across several sources.