Weekly Health Quiz: Masks, Vaccines and Loneliness

1 Which of the following are all risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease?

  • Low BMI, elevated vitamin D and D-dimer
  • Advanced age, dark skin color and vitamin D deficiency

    Dark skin color, increased age, pre-existing chronic conditions and vitamin D deficiency are all features of severe COVID disease. Of these, vitamin D deficiency is the only factor that is modifiable. As such, it would be foolish to ignore, especially since vitamin D supplements are readily available and low cost. Learn more.

  • Young age, low vitamin D and insulin resistance
  • Light skin color, advanced age and B12 deficiency

2 Evidence suggests a deficiency in the following can worsen COVID-19 severity:

  • Nitric oxide
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Glutathione

    There’s evidence glutathione deficiency may worsen COVID-19 severity. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to reduced glutathione that appears to be an important part of COVID-19 prevention and treatment. Learn more.

  • Cytokines

3 When a vaccine causes antibody-dependent enhancement, it means:

  • The vaccine results in exceptionally high antibody titers and therefore excellent protection against the virus
  • The vaccine triggers production of neutralizing antibodies that fight infection
  • The vaccine only works if you’ve already been infected with the virus
  • The vaccine enhances the virus’ ability to enter and infect your cells, resulting in more severe disease than had you not been vaccinated

    Antibody-dependent enhancement means that rather than enhance your immunity against the infection, the vaccine actually enhances the virus’ ability to enter and infect your cells, resulting in more severe disease than had you not been vaccinated. Learn more.

4 What percentage of U.S. adults over the age of 18 report feeling lonely and socially isolated as a result of pandemic measures?

  • 88%
  • 66%

    In 2018, 54% of American adults over the age of 18 reported feeling lonely. By January 2020, it was 61% and now, nine months into the pandemic, we’ve reached 66%. Among 18- to 34-year-olds, 19% say they’ve gone as long as two to three months without interacting with another person. Learn more.

  • 33%
  • 13%

5 What does a PCR test tell you?

  • Whether there’s viral RNA present in your body, but not whether that RNA is part of a live virus or a “dead” or inactive one

    PCR tests are not designed to be used as a diagnostic tool as they cannot distinguish between inactive viruses and “live” or reproductive ones. It only tells you whether there’s viral RNA present in your body, but it cannot tell you whether the virus is live or inactive, and whether you’re infectious or not. Learn more.

  • Whether you have an active COVID-19 infection or not
  • Whether you have an active infection caused by any of the human coronaviruses
  • Whether you’re infectious or not

6 When it comes to universal mask wearing, the science backing up the recommendation is:

  • Moderately strong but only for medical-grade masks
  • Moderately strong but only for cloth masks
  • Weak to nonexistent

    The science does not support universal mask wearing recommendations. Evidence to support it is weak to nonexistent. Learn more.

  • Moderate to strong for all types of masks

7 What is “fear appeal”?

  • The psychological fact that people secretly enjoy feeling scared
  • A psychological tool used by filmmakers and public relations companies
  • A term that describes the addictive nature of fear
  • A branch of public health research that explains how to impose public health measures through the use of fear

    There’s a branch of research within public health on how to frighten people, known as “fear appeal.” Fear appeal is based on the premise that to successfully implement a public health measure, you must first highlight a threat. And, to work, the threat must be made personal, so that people fear for their personal safety. Next, you give people something immediate to do that will set them on the path of cooperating with the plan in its entirety. Learn more.


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