COVID-19 Resources

Updated: 2021-04-29 ** Added NYT story about how vaccines are made, and my guide to how to get vaccinated in Taiwan.
Updated: 2021-03-09 ** Added information about CDC guidance for people who are fully vaccinated.
Updated: 2021-02-03 ** Added a link to Science Magazine’s fact check of the “Plandemic” video.
Updated: 2020-05-18 ** Added a link to Science Magazine’s fact check of the “Plandemic” video.

I want to start out by saying that I am not a doctor (not the medical kind, anyways) and nothing I say here should be interpreted as medical advice. I am, however, a scientist, and I thought I could do my part by putting together a list of some resources for people who are dealing with COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns, quarantines, etc. I wanted to gather all these resources in one place for myself and other and also avoid spamming my social media with each of these things individually.

FYI: Myself and my immediate family are all safe and healthy. Vanessa and I live in Taiwan, which has done a fantastic job of controlling the spread of the COVID-19. There have only been a handful of domestic cases since May 2020, and no community transmission.

My advice: get the vaccine as soon as you can

I’m not a medical doctor, but as a scientist and a person who has closely followed the progress of vaccine development and regulatory approval, I have complete confidence in the vaccines that have been approved for use in the US and Europe including those by Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech. While these vaccines were developed in record time, I do not believe there have been any compromises made on safety. These vaccines have all been shown to be safe in tens of thousands of clinical study volunteers and now millions of regular recipients. The vaccines are extremely effective (>90%) at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections and almost completely eliminate the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. In addition to protecting the people who are vaccinated, there is now preliminary evidence that the vaccines also prevent you from spreading the virus, thus protecting the people around you too.  Widespread vaccination is the only way we will be able to return to life as normal.

Check out this fascinating New York Times story that explains how the vaccines are manufactured in a 60-day process, half of which is dedicated to testing to ensure quality and safety. (It’s mostly beautiful short videos).

If you are feeling unsure about the vaccine, ask your doctor about it!

Also, if you live in Taiwan, I wrote a guide about how to make an appointment to get vaccinated.

Once you are fully vaccinated

(Current as of 2021-03-09)
The vaccines for COVID-19 are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and almost completely effective at preventing severe disease and death. However, it is not currently known whether vaccinated people can transmit the disease, so it is important to remain cautious. On March 8, 2021 the CDC released its preliminary guidance for fully-vaccinated people to keep themselves and others safe. Even for fully vaccinated people, it is still important to mask up in public and avoid medium to large gatherings, and the CDC is still recommending delaying all nonessential domestic and international travel. Read the full guidelines here.

My personal advice for staying safe and sane:

  1. Don’t listen to me, listen to your public health authorities.
  2. Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap (sing the chorus of Toto’s Africa to yourself)
  3. Wear a cloth face covering when you are in public, or a disposable mask if you have access to them (or both).(how-to)
  4. Practice social distancing
  5. Keep track of the news in moderation
  6. Spend some time each day not thinking about the pandemic

How to help out (NEW)

Understanding what is going on

Staying safe:

Staying sane:

This is a tough time and it’s totally normal to be scared or worried. Few people alive remember a crisis like this. On top of all that, many of us are quite literally isolated and physically separated from our usual support networks. Hopefully some of these things will help.

Sciencey activities you can do at home

If you’re stuck in the house all day, you might as well try to do some cool science. I am a theoretical physicist because I am not good in the lab, but fortunately other people have figured out that there are tons of ways you can do some science at home, especially if you have kids.

Anything missing?

If you have suggestions for things to add to this page, please send them my way.