"We need to foster an environment in which learning & disseminating scientific concepts is ingrained in our culture so that the population & government can be better informed to make the best choices based on experimentation & evidence."

A thread on why I do #scicomm
The link above is to my first ever tweet. As I've gained a few followers since then, I'll introduce myself.

I'm a scientist. I joined twitter at the start of the pandemic mainly to communicate important information to my friends, but also as a way of combating misinformation. Image
To people desperate for power, control of information is everything. Once you have control of information, you can change peoples views, manipulate the truth and, as we have seen over and over again, decide elections.

Mis/disinformation has exploded through the pandemic.
As a scientist I aim to discover truths, which means I hate lies. Which means I hate this government.

A lot of misinformation is just from uninformed opinions, but some of it is strategic and serves to push an agenda. This is known as disinformation.

This gvmnt does just that.
They lie about everything. Everything.

They blame problems they have caused on immigrants, workers, young people, Europe.

They create a frenzy so the general population can never keep up, jumping from scandal to scandal, so people become numb to the news & switch off.
These are classic tactics used throughout history, now used extensively and very effectively in Putins Russia, Trumps America, and Johnsons Britain.

This manipulation of information is intended to polarise and disorientate people.

1930s Germany 👇

medium.com/@cfhorgan/this… Image
"What is the cost of lies? It's not that we'll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all."
The internet has allowed the spread of disinformation to become very prevalent in the world. The UK in particular has a lot of dark money networks (see 'Prof' Sikora).

It is really important to fight mis and disinformation wherever possible.

Especially during a pandemic.
But aside from all the dystopian info war talk, my primary purpose here is to do effective science communication.

Although atm it is largely focused on COVID, pandemics are not my primary interest, & I am going to make a conscious effort to share other amazing science stories.
When sharing articles or doing threads, I will always try and give a balanced view, and I hope that my long-term followers would attest that I give valuable insight, try to explain complex concepts clearly, whilst always thinking like a scientist.
I do hope that my tweets have been insightful to you: One thing I have noticed is this little project has definitely improved my writing skills and, for better or for worse, forced me to keep up to date with all the scientific (and political) developments of late.
I'd also just like to say thanks to those amazing blue-tick scientists and journalists who have inspired, and sometimes interacted, with me and given me even just a small platform.

You know who you are.
And also thank you to anyone who has ever sent me a kind message. It gives me the energy for what, if being honest, can sometimes feel like a slog.

And the biggest thanks to my followers who have been RTing me since day one.

@TakuTamaki I see you!

Let's get swamping!
To see where it all began, find a link here for a look back to my first ever mega-thread: The Top 10 essential topics to get your head around the coronavirus pandemic!

Enjoy!

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More from @ScienceShared

15 Sep
So, @pritipatel name drops @PHE_uk multiple times here, trying to blame them for the testing shortages.

But it is actually the outsourced system run by SERCO, Deloitte, and Lighthouse labs (Pillar 2), who report directly to @DHSCgovuk, where capacity has been breached.
Not NHS or PHE labs.

Lies on lies on lies.

PHE staff are bound by civil service rules, so cannot defend themselves when the government tries to pin everything on them.

Which is exactly why the government tries to pin everything on them.

@JonAshworth
Against the advice of any and all public health experts, SAGE and iSAGE, the government decide to set up a centralised and outsourced testing system with unregistered staff, rather than assimilating testing pathways into existing accredited NHS labs with guaranteed infrastructure
Read 5 tweets
13 Sep
As much as this was sort of intended as a joke to everyone on Twitter desperately trying to figure out what's going on from data that doesn't exist, it is incredibly scary.

We should be clear: in terms of surveillance, the test results coming through now are meaningless.
Anyone who follows me who has a media platform should make sure to make this point when speaking to media.
When testing breaks down, tracing breaks down, and we then completely lose track of the virus and it's growth.
We've had 10 days of this now.
REACT and Covid symptom study suggests doubling time of 8 days BEFORE testing and tracing broke down.
So what is it now? We don't know.

Tagging those who have a media platform: when they say 4000 new cases or whatever today compared to 3500 yday or whatever, it's meaningless.
Read 5 tweets
10 Sep
The important thing to note with operation moonshot is that, realistically, it’s not going to be ready in time to even potentially prevent another second wave.

Is it just another PR stunt, or is it something more sinister?

A thread👇

bmj.com/content/370/bm…
The tests used for #moonshot would most likely be rapid at-home kits, which do have huge potential. These are more transmission indicators and not diagnostic kits.

@michaelmina_lab has spoken a lot on how and why these would be effective:


1/
The main points are that they give rapid results, & lower sensitivity means that they are more likely to catch just infectious people &, if orthogonal assays are included, overall specificity is high which decreases the chance of false positives.
2/
Read 23 tweets
9 Sep
So, you've all seen the rising cases and hospitalisations, you've seen the local lockdowns, you've seen that social gatherings are reduced to 6, and we are now spiralling towards another national lockdown in the winter.

What can we do?

Find, test, trace, isolate, support.👇
We are seeing the start of the COVID second wave. But important to remember this isn’t weather forecasting – it’s not a storm that will hit regardless. It’s an infection that we can largely suppress with an effective and robust FTTIS, coupled with *some* social distancing.
2/
In this thread I’m going to summarise the premise of FTTIS, and why it is absolutely crucial to have a robust FTTIS system in place ahead of unis, & wider society reopening, and to save lives and avoid a second national lockdown.
3/
Read 28 tweets
23 Aug
Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, Support (FTTIS).

In this thread, I’m going to summarise the premise of FTTIS, and why it is absolutely crucial to have a robust FTTIS system in place ahead of schools, unis, & wider society reopening.

1/
Find – Finding cases is the bedrock of FTTIS. If you don’t find the cases, you can't isolate them, you can’t trace their contacts, and so you don’t break the chains of transmission.
The more cases, and the earlier you find them, the more chains of transmission can be broken.

2/
The @ONS estimates 24,600 people are currently infected/would test +ve for COVID19, & @timspector KCL symptom tracker suggests 20,000 symptomatic patients. We arent finding all of these. But apart from encouraging symptomatics to get tested, how do we actually find more cases?

3
Read 18 tweets
29 Jul
How to eliminate COVID and achieve a #ZEROCovid UK:

1) On top of normal testing of symptomatic people, use our testing & tracing capacity smartly (we now have most capacity in Europe).

2) Set a +ve test threshhold for local authorities (eg 35 cases per 100,000 per day in a LA) Image
3) Passing threshhold triggers mobilisation to systematically test EVERYONE in LA (or as many as feasibally possible).

*Ideally this would be made more specific so do by ward/constituency for more targeted response*
4) Isolate all positive cases in LA (OFFER THEM SICK PAY, isolated accommodation if they want/need it, delivered food etc).

5) Follow up to ensure they're isolating
(Have 20,000+ contact tracers who mostly do nothing atm (should also check arrivals from Spain etc isolating)).
Read 7 tweets

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