A meta-analysis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the 2019 form of coronavirus that led to the COVID-19 pandemic, found that the chance an infected person showing symptoms was infecting someone else even in their home was only 18%, while it plummeted to 0.7% if they are not symptomatic.

The pool was not small, it was data from over 77,000 participants. That's actually good news, and it may mean a return to normalcy, because if even being trapped in a home with someone has only a minor risk for those not at respiratory distress risk from flu or anything else, casual public contact means nearly none.

That's not an excuse to go out and sneeze on people, of course, but it may mean things break for the better before the world enters an economic depression that will last a decade. It may also mean that next time we'll know better what works and how much control to implement.

Next time? But...vaccine! Well, a vaccine is great, I am taking it the first chance I get, but this is the third coronavirus pandemic of the last 17 years. In "The Next Plague And How Science Will Stop It" (free download) my colleagues and I listed coronavirus as a concern for that reason. It is not new, it was only discovered as a distinct form of the cold virus in the 1960s. Like cold and flu, coronavirus is here to stay. Once we accept that as the new normal we'll be better off than dreading the unknown. It may become an annual vaccine, like the flu.

In fairness to the group behind the meta-analysis, they see the glass as mostly empty. At 18%, they consider homes a "high-risk setting" whereas most of the public would look at 82% safe even if someone is really ill and 99.3% safe if they're not ill as being a great thing.

Science and health need to be put in proper context that way, but that is not being done by corporate journalism.

And 2021 looks like it will be an economic bloodbath, where nonprofits are first to fall. So I hope you can make a donation and we can continue the important work of letting science be the journalism.

Science context is needed more than ever, especially when politicization of science has become common. In Colorado, a county coroner is annoyed that of their 5 COVID-19 deaths, two were gunshots, but the state health department says the CDC forces them to list anyone who tested positive in the last 30 days as "deaths among COVID-19 cases" regardless of actual cause.

Things are serious enough, why is government out to make them look even worse?

Why does a coroner have to be a whistleblower when journalists, the fourth estate, are promoting panic? On the other side is casual lack of knowledge. The New York Times is relieved there is no "twindemic" - flu landing people in the ICU - with few there realizing that people likely to get respiratory distress and end up in the ICU with the flu are likely to already be there with COVID-19. They're both viruses that act in similar ways, the populations at risk overlap substantially, and instead we're all being told not to get a haircut.

We sounded the alarm early about COVID-19 - when the Chinese government was kidnapping and imprisoning the doctor who exposed it as a severe new disease in Wuhan - and then we provided needed context when people were saying there should be no travel restrictions because, they insisted, a President they oppose was being xenophobic.

We're going to continue to do that in 2021 but we're already anticipating a $100,000 shortfall. So if you can donate, please help now.