Writing 101: COVID-19: Facts or Fake News?
Instructor: Cary Moskovitz
When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States a year and a half ago, I, like many others, suddenly found a surplus of spare time as shutdowns took place across the nation. I took this opportunity to spend more time on activities I enjoyed doing—hiking, making music, and taking long drives in the mountains, to name a few. But for the most part, my family and I spent our newfound time keeping up with global news. Whether we were playing card games or cooking dinner, we always kept the news on as a remaining connection to the outside world. Having been involved in translational medical research throughout high school, I particularly gravitated towards the developing research on COVID-19 therapies and vaccines. I would wind up spending many of those quarantine hours perusing the new journal articles being published each day, watching developments such as hydroxychloroquine come and go from the digital headlines.
So, when searching for a Writing 101 course, Dr. Cary Moskovitz’s COVID-19: Facts or Fake News? immediately caught my eye. The class became an invaluable experience in exploring the diverse spectrum of online COVID-19 health claims from multiple unique modes of thought. From politics-infused opinions to conflicting scientific data, I learned strategies to harness these contradictory claims into my own arguments and conclusions. Our final project was a commentary—an evidence-based perspective on how the public should interpret an emerging COVID-19 health claim. Tapping again into my research experience, I chose to explore the opposing opinions on a controversial new drug for COVID-19 patients through an extensive review of current literature. I wanted to highlight the limitations in peer-reviewed scientific studies and emphasize the frequent disconnect between these limitations and how science news is presented to the public.
I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Moskovitz for his continuous support and his exceptionally thought-provoking classes that made this piece possible. His insightful feedback always challenged me to think about my piece from different perspectives. I would also like to thank Dr. Sheryl Welte Emch for her assistance throughout the publication process and the entire Deliberations editorial board for their valuable suggestions and feedback.