UFOs And Pandemics, Did Covid-19 Increase UFO Sighting Reports?
 Alien Life & UFO/UAPs
Tuesday 21st, March 2023
A recent article published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration where authors Chase Cockrell from the University of Vermont and Mark Rodeghier and Linda Murphy from the Center for UFO studies asked the question and looked into it, did the covid-19 pandemic increase the number of UFO sightings?

The authors hypothesized the the pandemic (covid-19) which included many changes to the way society worked, including, but not limited to social distancing and lockdown measures, may have led to an increase in the number of UFO sightings.

The main reasoning behind this hypothesis was that more people were staying home, spending more time outdoors and overall enjoying more free time.

Furthermore the authors looked at the idea that feelings of anxiety and uncertainty may have led to heightened attention of the environment which could have cause more people to notice unusual phenomena and in turn if the witness was unable to make sense of what they were seeing they could have assumed it's a UFO.

The authors analysed data from the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) and Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in the United States, reports from 2018 to 2020 were looked at and the numbers were compared to reports prior to and after the pandemic.

Going further the authors looked at whether social factors could have influenced the number of reports. They looked at publicly available data for social mobility from Google Community Mobility Reports and at SARS-CoV-2 cases and deaths which they say are indirect measures of stress and anxiety.

The authors then looked at alternative causes and identified the initiation of regular Starlink satellite launches in late 2019 as a complicating factor due to the fact that each Starlink launch could contain up to 60 satellites each. This caused many UFO reports that were just Starlink satellites, usually in the format of a straight line of lights or a bright light 'followed' by another bright light and so on etc.

The work of the authors show a relationship between UFO reports just after a Starlink launch and removed these reports where identified from the study.

After looking at the data they authors found no relationship between UFO reports and the pandemic related changes in society. Additionally they found now statistical increase in reports in 2020 and no decrease in reports to NUFORC.

"This study sheds light on the potential impact of social factors on UFO reporting," says Mark Rodeghier, Scientific Director of the Center for UFO Studies. While they found that the COVID-19 pandemic did not significantly impact UFO reporting, their findings suggest that future research should investigate other factors that may influence reporting.
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