As a data scientist that grew up in rural Arkansas hunting in a cypress swamp behind my house from age 5, I have my share of friends from back home who are too easily fooled about some of "the big things." Things that affect the health and well-being of our family, friends, even things that will affect our grandchildren and their children. Things like, say....a global pandemic. If you're reading this and your initial thought is something along the line of "I'ma gone tell this boy what the deal is about this fake coronavirus stuff" you should just stop now. But if you genuinely care about the health and well-being of your family, and are open to possibly learning something new, read on. First, the data: In summary: covid-19 is much worse than the common flu The overall fatality rate is dramatically higher The average incubation period is much longer. This means that people without systems spend far more time interacting with others before they have any symptoms, which leads to a much higher RO (rate of disease spread) The hospitalization rate is much higher. This is what causes huge strain on countries' health care systems, which then has in many cases led to higher fatality rates due to lack of care My tips for how you can avoid being fooled about "the big things": Most importantly: do not get your information from a news outlet. Do not get your information from politicians. Do not get your information from talking news heads. Do not get your information from blogs. For the big things, if you really want to know the truth, look at peer-reviewed research and specifically the data provided in that research. Following up on that, because it's so important: politicians are elected by popular vote, thus they are incentivized to say things that are popular. Talking news heads are paid by the number of viewers they get, so they are incentivized to say things that are popular with their viewers. Bloggers and radio talk show hosts earn their money from the number of readers/listeners they get, so they are incentivized to say things that are popular. Look at the data. The data is the only source you can really trust. Second most importantly tip, keep an open mind. If you believe xyz, then are shown clear evidence that xyz is incorrect, genuinely attempt to understand the issue more and realize why you may have been wrong. If you are unwilling to do this, you should right now that you are being fooled, often on a grand scale. If you must read some source of news about "the big things," if you are not willing to look at the original data, then there is one source I would recommend most. The leaders of the US Military. What? Yes, that's right. They are generally not incentivized to say or do what's popular. They are, for the most part, incentivized by looking at the data and facts and determining what the best course of action is. Their training (at the upper levels) is basically "look at what is really happening on the ground, look at the data, and make inferences from the data. F*** everything and everyone else"