One Big Thing: Coronavirus, Disinformation & the “Infodemic”
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What is it?
- Since the discovery of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in December 2019, a lot of false information regarding the virus has emerged in the news and on social media.
- Stanford University explained why people’s uncertainty about Coronavirus can lead them to believe misinformation and encouraged folks get their information from established news sources instead of social media.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken steps to work with big tech companies including Facebook and Google to combat Coronavirus misinformation online.
Why is it important?
- Some officials have dubbed the spread of fake news about Coronavirus and “infodemic” because of the danger false information. In many cases, it can actually worsen public health crises.
- Initially much of the misinformation was about the Coronavirus’s origins and who was carrying it but has since shifted to the social, economic and political ramifications as well as treatments.
- It is important to keep in mind that the best sources are health organizations like the CDC and the WHO.
What can you do?
- Remain vigilant about where your news comes from. Check out Time’s recommendations for spotting Coronavirus misinformation
- Johns Hopkins University and Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center remains an excellent site for factual information about Covid-19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick & maintain distance from others. The CDC also recommends canceling large gatherings to inhibit the spread of the disease.
- If you think you have been exposed to Coronavirus and develop symptoms, immediately call your healthcare provider for medical advice. You should take the appropriate steps to prevent spreading the disease to those around you.
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