Matters of Life and Death

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Coronavirus: Miscounting deaths, the Sun's front page, key workers with long covid and vaccine generosity

In today’s episode we’re returning to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been almost six months since we last dedicated an episode to covid, and since then a lot has happened. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been delivered around the world, but are they going to the right people at the right time? We now know the vaccines increase by a tiny amount the risk you might experience a dangerous blood clot in the brain – how have we done at understanding that risk and putting it in its proper context? We’re also sadly much more familiar with long covid– what’s going on there and how should we as a society look after those suffering these symptoms? And finally, does the way we count – or rather, significantly undercount – deaths caused by coronavirus really matter? 


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The ONS report on how many people in the UK have long covid - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/prevalenceofongoingsymptomsfollowingcoronaviruscovid19infectionintheuk/1april2021

The BBC Radio 4 programme on long covid - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000w4t4

The Sun's front page on the blood clot risk - https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/14589798/brilliant-front-page-oxford-astrazeneca-vaccine/

The government's information page on the blood clot risk with the covid vaccines - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting

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1/22/2021

Social media and free speech: Fake news, Facebook's 'Supreme Court', the Capitol riot and YouTube algorithms

In today’s episode we’re taking a sideways step from the covid pandemic and instead are discussing social media and free speech.The banning of Donald Trump from every social media platform following the deadly riot earlier this month at the US Capitol building has prompted fierce debates, not only about free speech and censorship online, but also the role of social media in fostering hate and lies. Why is it that so much horrendous stuff accumulates and spills out of social media, from deranged conspiracy theories about coronavirus all the way up to the violent and often racist political rhetoric which inspired the Capitol insurrection? Do we need more regulation and moderation of what people are saying online, or less? What are the implications of unaccountable tech CEOs barring anyone they choose from the world’s dominant communications networks? And how should we, as Christians, think about the ethics of free speech and censorship in our always online 21st century world?Our previous episode on conspiracy theories and misinformation online about coronavirus - https://shows.acast.com/matters-of-life-and-death/episodes/coronavirus-misinformationResearch on the spread of false and true news online, published in Science - https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146'Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It', published in Scientific American - https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/information-overload-helps-fake-news-spread-and-social-media-knows-it/