Misinformation, and How It’s Affecting the Pandemic
By: April Feng
The current COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the everyday lives of many. However, the impending pandemic and continuously rising case numbers aren’t the only things that frontline doctors must face. With an increasing amount of misinformation and rumors regarding the virus being spread online, this additional problem is making it difficult for doctors to successfully treat patients with coronavirus. In order to face the pandemic, medical leaders and major social media platforms must put up a united front to cease misleading rumors.
Conspiracy theories about the coronavirus have spread rapidly through social media. According to The New York Times, there were rumors that the “coronavirus had been cooked up in a secret government lab in China.” Other bogus medicines and home-made remedies for the virus have also spread amongst internetists. While misinformation in the medical field is not new, misinformation regarding COVID-19 has blown up on a massive scale like never seen before. According to a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, thousands were hospitalized due to misinformation about the virus, including an additional 800 that died. However, social media platforms have started to take a stand. Facebook and Youtube recently introduced policies to limit misinformation regarding coronavirus. YouTube stated it was “committed to providing timely and helpful information around Covid-19,” says The New York Times. By reinforcing these new policies and readily providing more transparent information about the virus to citizens, it is certain that misinformation will slowly cease.