Sorting fact from fiction is a challenge these days. We're deluged with endless statistics and modelling and data about coronavirus, many of them contradictory, or questionable, or devoid of context.
Even global authorities like the World Health Organisation have chopped and changed their advice, particularly on questions such as whether face masks should be worn. Finding the truth in this hailstorm of information can seem impossible.
Add in the relentless doom-mongering by our political leaders and it's no wonder that people are confused and frightened.
This may go some way towards explaining the findings of a recent Savanta ComRes poll which uncovered some stark misconceptions and seriously exaggerated fears about the threat posed by coronavirus.
The survey found that the public mistakenly thinks the average age of Covid deaths is 65 and that the virus is the UK's biggest killer.
In fact the average age for Covid deaths is 82.4 years, older than the overall average life expectancy of 81.16 years.
Neither is Covid the number one cause of death in the UK. According to the most recent report from the Office for National Statistics, for September, Covid was the 19th cause in England and the 24th in Wales.
The Savanta poll was commissioned by The Conservative Woman, an online magazine. It points out that such mistakes may be an example of the "ignorance gap": the extent to which the public's support for lockdown has been predicated on a false perception of Covid risk.
I'm no conservative woman. Far from it - I have always been on the liberal-left of politics, and still am.
But I've been dismayed to see the Left calling for authoritarian Tories to lock us down ever harder, faster and longer, at the expense of the most vulnerable, impoverished or disadvantaged in society, especially children -who, by the way, are at virtually no risk from Covid. Neither is living with children linked to a greater risk of severe coronavirus in adults.
Here in Northern Ireland, the statistics agency, NISRA, has just published some interesting findings, for those of us who prefer factual accuracy to pseudo-scientific angst. It reports that respiratory diseases - not, repeat not, including Covid-19 - continue to be the leading cause of excess winter deaths in NI, accounting for 51.7% of the excess winter mortality in 2019/20.
According to NISRA, there have been 902 deaths this year where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
NISRA notes that the full impact of Covid-19 on mortality in Northern Ireland is "still unfolding", but estimates that the excess winter mortality for 2019/20 will increase to 910 deaths.
Importantly, it describes this as "in line" with estimates for previous years, after Covid-19 "inflated" the number of deaths usually seen in the non-winter period, particularly April to July, which led to a winter seasonal increase that was lower than usual.
Will Stormont and its unofficial cheerleaders in parts of the media be sharing this news widely, to help us get a clear, balanced picture of where we're at right now?
Not likely. They have bet everything on keeping us in a state of confused, childish dread until the cavalry, in the form of a vaccine - to use Boris Johnson's daft military metaphor - comes galloping over the hill to save the day.
There is much more that we are not being told. Last week, Kamran Abbasi, executive editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), one of the world's leading scientific journals, wrote a searing editorial, claiming that politicians and governments are suppressing science.
Abbasi believes that the UK's pandemic response is too reliant on "scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture Covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines".
He says that suppressing science, "whether by delaying publication, cherry picking favourable research, or gagging scientists, is a danger to public health, causing deaths by exposing people to unsafe or ineffective interventions and preventing them from benefiting from better ones. When entangled with commercial decisions it is also maladministration of taxpayers' money".
As Abbasi notes, some of history's worst autocrats and dictators politicised science, concealing inconvenient truths. Now democracies are doing the same. And "when good science is suppressed," he writes, "people die."
Verifiable facts, openly shared, help us all to form an accurate, individual perception of risk. Or at least they did, before we relinquished personal autonomy and started relying on the government to protect us from all harms, ever, up to and including death. We need to take back responsibility for own lives. We need to be trusted to make sane, informed, socially-conscious decisions.
Truth matters. The search for truth matters. If we lose that, we really are doomed.