And of course there are valid debates about the still-developing science. The day before, I had been covering anti-lockdown protests in central London. Human cost I've spent a lot of time this year covering the human impact of conspiracy theories - from the pro-Trump movement QAnon to the tp in coronavirus misinformation.
You get better at asking better questions, and answering with more interesting responses. The time away from his family resulted in him challenging his mum's baseless claims. Drenched from a torrential downpour, I found myself sitting in a dimly-lit London basement opposite Sebastian. He survived; she died.
His precise views shifted around. Over the course of tali hours he detailed how his mum had gained a huge online following by spreading falsehoods about the pandemic.
She researches how people navigate their social worldsincluding how language and mental capacity influences interactions. Sebastian's mum, Kate Onlline, was one of the headline speakers. Throughout the pandemic, he more or less carried on as normal, until both he and his wife caught the disease and ended up in hospital. It was a sunny autumn morning when I opened up my inbox to see a message from someone called Sebastian.
How do I get in touch via live chat or messenger?
But for Sebastian, it was also an intensely personal story. She's denied that coronavirus exists, alleges that the government is planning a mass genocide, and has compared the National Health Service to Nazi Germany. Conspiracy theories were his childhood lullabies.
He left home when he was 17, and these days the little interaction he has with his mother comes via text message. Reporting on conspiracy theories is not about clamping down on healthy political discussion. He's a year-old university student studying philosophy and politics.
There's a lot about this virus that we just don't know. A week later, the weather had turned.
Someonw views - broadcast to tens of thousands of online followers and often repeated by even larger s - threaten to undermine critical public health messages. I recognised his distinctive surname immediately. He spoke exclusively to the BBC's specialist disinformation reporter Marianna Spring about the impact that his mother is having on public health - and their relationship.
Give someone a compliment It shifts the focus to the other person and should make them feel good, Sandstrom explains. Be curious Ask questions.
Talk to other young people
Focusing the attention on the other person in those moments can help us get past those awkward spots, she says. In the summer, I interviewed Briana man in Florida who believed false claims that Covid was a "hoax". Research actually suggests that people who ask more questions are better liked by their conversation partners than people who ask fewer questions. He seemed nervous - but determined. Starting from when he was about 10 or 11, he says, he was shown YouTube videos about secret plots and given books about "lizard people".
Research shows the opposite, however, that people nearly always are willing to engage in a conversation when prompted by someone else. Sometimes he thought the virus wasn't real - other times he believed that it was totally harmless, or at least no more deadly than the flu.
Our fear assumptions fail to take into the social norms of politeness, Schroeder says. He told me he felt a duty to speak out, for the sake of public health, and for others whose loved ones may be going down a similar path.
He described to me in heartbreaking detail the breakdown of their relationship. A question can either kick off a conversation or keep it going, Sandstrom says. Legitimate debate I always stress that there are legitimate concerns about the effects of lockdown measures on mental health, education and the economy.