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Key Words

 Don’t feel like reading? I’ve compiled a bunch of key words and terms below for people who just need definitions or a real quick rundown. 


Herd immunity: A bunch of people getting immune so the people who can’t immunize are safe.

Vaccine: A substance that boosts the creation of antibodies and builds immunity to either one or several diseases. 

Pandemic: A global outbreak of a disease.

T-Lymphocytes: White blood cells that attack infected cells in the body.

B-Lymphocytes: White blood cells that make antibodies that attack the germ remains left over by macrophages.

Macrophages: White blood cells that digest germs and dying cells to produce antigens (traces of the germ that the body can identify and analyze as dangerous.)

Viral vector: Modified versions of a virus that help our cells understand the virus.

mRNA: A single strand of RNA that goes to the cytoplasm with instructions on how to make proteins.

Protein subunit vaccine: Injects a harmless version of the virus (specifically the virus’s proteins) that your body learns how to fight.

Quarantine: Isolating a person, animal, or object to stop the spread of a disease. 

Cloth mask: Masks that can catch droplets you cough or sneeze 

N95 mask: More respirator than masks. Is built to filter large and small particles

Medical mask: Filters small particles you might inhale, and filters and prevents any droplets or particles you let out from reaching others as well.

Abstract (specifically the section of writing in science papers): an overview of the study done.  

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It’s really easy to fall into a rabbit hole of misinformation surrounding covid. Here’s some tips to keep your research on the right track:


    • Keep to .gov and .edu websites: these mean the website domain is either educational or a government website, either most likely has research on covid that’s accurate and most importantly being updated. A go to .gov website for me is the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), .edu sites are a little more specific as they are usually research papers about specific aspects of the virus, but still if that’s what you’re looking for those are what you should be clicking on first.
    • Anything that says “What scientists aren’t telling you”: is a good early red flag to see because it mostly just means the source is clickbait. The entire job of scientists is to tell you stuff, there’s no benefit to hiding covid information. 
  • Things that say the vaccine is the “Mark of the beast” or if the vaccine is “Satan Juice”: It’s not, this and things similar to this are appeals to your religious belief’s as a way to convince you of something that you normally wouldn’t believe.
  • Sources that claim that the vaccine changes your DNA: This just indicates a simple misunderstanding of the mRNA vaccine. The vaccine doesn’t enter your nucleus or change your DNA, it just gives you the information you need to fight the vaccine. Think about it like this: If I gave you an axe to cut down a tree, that wouldn’t change who you are, it just means you’re now properly equipped to do what you need to do.
  • Social Media: I don’t need to explain to you how much misinformation is on social media. However, I know you’re going to use it anyways so I’m not gonna try and stop you. Instead, try to follow science communicators whose job it is to relay/correct accurate information on stuff like this. Some great science communicators I recommend following are science.sam, dresmerelda, and kizzyphd on Instagram. They are all great sources to use, have science-based PhD’s, and update information on a daily basis.

Corroborate Data: make sure the information you’re getting is agreed upon. Try to find the same/similar information from another good source just to double check what you’re reading isn’t either wrong or outdated.

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About Me

Hello, my name is Alex Guigar. My pronouns are they/them. I go to Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and the COVID TLDR is my senior project. I wanted to do my part in stopping the spread of misinformation surrounding the covid pandemic. I could wax poetic here about a sense of noble duty to keep the people informed and safe. Honestly, I was just tired of hearing the same repeated misinformation about what can be a deadly situation for people. I know people either can’t be bothered or maybe aren’t able to read a lot of the new information coming out, and either way I don’t really blame them. Not to repeat what I say in the website intro, but that stuff is really boring. Unfortunately, it’s super important too. So I made something to meet people in the middle, it’s a bunch of the really fundamental stuff about covid and the pandemic, boiled down and super informal. And, for the extra-achievers, sources to branch out into their own research. At the end of the day, all I want the COVID TLDR to be is an easy website where you can make a quick fact check, read up on something in a few seconds, or watch a quick cover video to get the basics of what’s going on before you go back to what you were doing. Hope you can find something informative and arm yourself with a little knowledge out there. Stay healthy and stay safe.

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Reviewed by Philip Ball July 23rd, 2020

Debora MacKenzie COVID-19: The Pandemic That Should Never Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One 2020 Bridge Street Press 


Scientific American Charles Schmidt December 14th, 2020 Dr. Fauci Explains How to End the COVID Pandemic 


Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, COVID-19 


American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ecology and Economics for Pandemic Prevention, Andrew P. Dobson, Stuart L. Pimm, Lee Hannah, Les Kaufman, Jorge A. Ahumada, Amy W. Ando, Aaron Bernstein, Jonah Busch, Peter Daszak, Jens Engelmann, Margaret F. Kinnaird, Binbin V. Li, Ted Loch-Temzelides, Thomas Lovejoy, Katarzyna Nowak, Patrick R. Roehrdanz, Mariana M. Vale, July 24th, 2020 


World Health Organization



Our World in Data, Hannah Ritchie, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, Diana Beltekian, Edouard Mathieu, Joe Hasell, Bobbie Macdonald, Charlie Giattino, and Max Roser 


Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, What is Herd Immunity and how can We Achieve it With COVID-19, Gypsyamber D’Souza and David Dowdy April 10, 2020,not%20immune%20to%20the%20disease


Heather A. Berlin, March 14th, 2016, Trends in Immunology 

Pew Research Center Most Approve of National Response to COVID-19 in 14 Advanced Economies, August 27, 2020Kat Devlin and Aidan Connaughton 


 Bloomberg, The Covid Resilience Ranking Best and Worst Places to Be in Covid: Vaccine Not Slowing Deaths, Jinshan Hong, Rachel Chang and Kevin Varley, November 24, 2020 

UNC Health Talk, January 4th, 2021, The COVID-19 Vaccines Are Here—Now What? 


CDC,  September 10th, 2020, Show Me the Science – Why Wash Your Hands?


Mayo Clinic, February 13th, 2021, How well do face masks protect against coronavirus? 


CDC, November 24th, 2020, When and How to Wash Your Hands 


PMC, June 2nd, 2020, The immune system and COVID-19: Friend or foe? Fereshteh Yazdanpanah, Michael R. Hamblin, and Nima Rezaeib 


B.19 – Transportation and Pandemics,  Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Dr. Thomas Luke, Dr. Michael Osterholm,increase%20the%20risk%20of%20exposure


Stanford Medicine, Bruce Goldman, Study reveals immune-system deviations in severe COVID-19 cases 


CDC, What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations? 


University of Colorado Boulder, Lisa Marshall, April 8th, 2020, 6 lessons we can learn from past pandemics 


University of California San Francisco, Allison Bond, We Must Learn from Our Past-

A look at past outbreaks offers guidance on bringing the current one to an end – and on thwarting the next one.