Information sources

Information Sources

Since the pandemic started, many organizations published information on these topics in three types of formats:

  • Medical and public health science journals published tens of thousands of new research reports on COVID-19.  It is impossible to keep up with reading them, so scientists needed to create new methods of vetting, selecting, organizing, and synthesizing them (Callaway; Brainard; Packer).  And most people have not learned how to search the many science journals and read the technical vocabulary.
  • A variety of news media published summaries of the research articles in plain language which each linked to a one or a few research articles, often within hours after the scientific journal article was published. But these news stories are scattered across many print, TV, and online locations.  Then other stories displace them.  Often a new discovery partially contradicts previous ones.  People wondered, which recommendation should I and our group members act on?  How can I find that explanation or recommendation I saw days ago?
  • Public health organizations, health experts, and some online magazines posted summaries of what people should do in different situations. But they had few links to the research articles, if a reader wanted to know the science behind the recommendation.  Some  had difficulties keeping up with the new research studies published each day, so many of those public health web pages did not have information published in the last few weeks (Aubrey, Wamsley, Wroth; Bromage; California; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Considerations…”; “Coronavirus”; “COVID-19 Employer…”; “Funeral…”; “When…”; “Recommendation regarding…”; “Returning…”; Ernst, Beamer; Lopez, Northrop; San Diego County; Sneider; World Health Organization “Coronavirus”).

So this web page meets the needs of people who want a synopsis of the latest discoveries on COVID-19 transmission and prevention, in one location, in plain English, with links and references to the many research articles supporting each statement.  Most people’s information needs are satisfied by the news reports and public health recommendations.  But many health professionals, researchers, interested people, and leaders of organizations and groups would want this web page’s “one stop shopping” summary with links to each scientific article explaining the reasons for the recommendations.  Most articles referred to here are peer-reviewed journal publications.  Some are preprint postings from medRxiv and bioRxiv, or popular science articles, or companies’ web sites I selected.  I have served as a peer reviewer for some science journals, so I am doing a preliminary review to choose some articles for this web site.