The Skeptics Guide #793 - Sep 19 2020


Steven. Novella. Joining me this week or Bob Novella everybody Cara Santa. Maria. Howdy Jane Avella. Hey guys and Evan Bernstein good evening folks. So Keira your whole side of the country's on fire over there. Not Not not good. Are you doing I'm okay. So I live in East La just below and to the west of passed some southwest of Pasadena in a neighborhood called Eagle Rock, and there is a fire called the Bob cat fire, which is burning the Angeles national forest actually encroaching on Mount Wilson, which is really sad. I know I mean there's so much history at Mount Wilson and it has made the air quality for our area quite bad. Usually, it's unhealthy to very unhealthy according to like the National Weather Services kind of standards in my area, but it's nothing compared to one of my best friends lives in Eugene Oregon and it's hazardous outside there. Isn't what does that mean to everyday life? What what can't you do? Oh so when I go outside now first of all I'm not walking my dog except to let him go to the bathroom quickly and bring him back in. So I'm. Not. Really Leash walking him like I usually would around the neighborhood when I go outside and only wearing an N. ninety five mask. I'm not wearing one of my cloth masks I'm not doing anything that would require any sort of I don't know heavy breathing outside I mostly just getting the mail letting my dog out coming back I'm lucky that I have central air. So I'm running my a lot and I just put a new filters I, run my extraction fans but there are people in La who don't have air conditioning and that's a double whammy because it's hot outside. But it's like you can't open your windows because it's Burns your eyes and the the other thing that's frustrating is there so much ash on the ground so like as cash coating everything. So like when my dog does walk outside, he has a tendency to stick his little nose on the concrete and like sniff kind of in the. Gutters, and he keeps breathing in all of this ash sneeze. Like no killer don't do. But when you look at I'm going to look at the numbers now. So if you were to open your weather APP, it would say that right now which is Wednesday at five PM. Unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups ninety one degrees. So our air quality index is only one nineteen which is lower than it has been in days. The air quality index in. Around Portland and parts, of Eugene. Oregon. Has Been like four, hundred, four, fifty like don't go outside. It's hazardous to breath the air. It's I I think that I read an article recently that said that it was the worst air quality in the entire world. I saw that too. Yeah. So I, guess part. Of. What it was like for a lot of people living in Beijing but a little bit worse we're going to talk about the forest fires a little bit later in the show but let's get to our covid nineteen update. So when record the show last week news just broke about the vaccine trial being paused in the UK, the Astra. Zeneca vaccines. So we have a lot of information about it other than that bear fact So we do have some further information. The good news is that the vaccine trial restarted and Board. said that it was safe to restart the trial. Nice. Oh, it seemed like it was just this one isolated person. Well, the thing is that's like a nicely ambiguous way of stating it saves restart the trial. Deliberately. Not Releasing Information and they say, because they don't want to bias other trials or other researchers and also there's a paper. She asked truth. Well. There is a hip concern there. Yes, definitely a hypocrite. Sir, but but it was unofficially stated that the the side effect, the potential side effect adverse outcome that the person had was treasurer. Smile. As now I haven't read anything to say that that's not true and and so that seems to be the case. With that is is inflammation of the spinal cord. On Sabbatical. But I mean by background rate is just people. Getting transverse. My lights who don't have out of the Blue Ya don't have multiple sclerosis or some background disease where that that would cause it and that's about three to four per million per year right so If you say thirty thousand people are getting the vaccine that would be pre ten percent chance that one of them would come down with transfers myositis over a year over three months, it would be a quarter of that so. The background rate. The background rate you would expect two point, five percent chance one person with crop up in the chain in the trial so far was transferred by something like that. Right something on that order of magnitude single digits percent. But again, that's the the lottery fallacy right? So we that's right. Don't just consider it. What's the probability of Tranche my light? It's you have to consider what's the probability of anything cropping up during any? You know. They could have been optic narrates it could have been you whatever it could. Syndrome anything any of thousand things the. Way They have to look at what's the total rate of that of potential adverse events in the population the people getting the vaccine over the course of time and does it is it collectively in the background rate and also individually is there nothing that is really defying the odds something with a one percent chance of happening. Sure. That's fine. When you have thousands of people in a trial, you're going to see one percents things cropping up right but but it's the rate significantly more than. The probably gets to go. Yeah. It's like thousands to one that these three people would have had this same. To people with the same one it's. Different totally. and. So again. It's safe to restart the trial, which is not the same thing as saying that this was definitely not caused by the vaccine. It's totally plausibly aside effective vaccine especially again. The concern here is that corona virus in particular and covert nineteen in particular? Has a pretty extreme immune response you know and? The Immune response, a lot of ways more damage than the infection does, and so the concern is that if you give enough of a reaction to the vaccine to protect against SARS co two might that also cause enough of an immune reaction that it would cause an adverse inflammatory side effects. So that's why we need to do these face clinical trials. We absolutely need it. Because, it's totally plausible and this takes years to develop vaccines because they don't necessarily hit the bullseye right out of the gate got to study these things and and make sure that you're in that

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