The following are excerpts from a USA Today article by Jessica Guynn published March 19, 2020.
The world Health Organization was so alarmed that in February, it warned of a massive "infodemic," shorthand for information epidemic, "all over an abundance of information-
some accurate and some not- that it makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it."
- Be prepared for a national quarantine. Martial law is coming.
- The coronavirus was cooked up in a bioweapons lab by the CIA, or the pharmaceutical industry, or was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to boost vaccine sales.
- Sip water every 15 minutes, gargle with ethanol or eat raw garlic to ward off infection.
None of it is true, but, as public fear and uncertainty grow with the rise in deaths and confirmed cases across the U.S., we are becoming increasingly susceptible to these wildly false and sometimes hazardous claims that tap into our urgent need for the latest information about how to protect ourselves and our families.
Too often we pass along the misinformation we pick up, unwittingly exposing others to a flood of conspiracy theories, hoaxes and falsehoods that could mislead or even harm them.
There are three main types of coronavirus misinformation:
- Fake cures or preventative measures such as taking colloidal silver, steroids, acetic acid, essential oils and cocaine; gargling with salt water; spraying chlorine on your body and avoiding ice cream.
- False information about the nature of the virus such as COVID-19 is just a cold or a normal flu and children cannot catch it.
- Conspiracy theories such as COVID-19 was bioengineered by a Russian bioweapons labor was caused when an infected rat bit a student in a bioweapons lab in China.
There is also coronavirus malware: Fake and malicious coronavirus mobile tracking apps could spread amid pandemic.
How to know misinformation? How to help?
- Arm yourself with facts
- Take 20 seconds to research before sharing.
- Do not spread misinformation about prevention or cures
- Beware of posts that traffic in fear.
- Don't trust everything you see.
- Don't join the crowd.
- Keep partisan politics out of it.
- Uncertainty sucks, get used to it
In Health and Solidarity