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COVID-19 and Infectious Misinformation

In these times of pandemic, we are witnessing the continued dissemination of pseudoscientifi c misinformation about the disease as well as dubious claims of alternative cure. In some instances, such claims appear to be getting offi cial endorsements. Enabling people to identify unscientifi c claims and hoaxes, is the way forward to build rational immunity to halt the infectious spread of misinformation.

We are living in an unusual ­period. When was the last time that a disease infected millions of people in under six months and penetrated every county? When was the last time that the scientific community as well as governments appeared totally helpless? When was the last time that the majority of the world population was forced to stay indoors for days and weeks? Every one of these situations has a potential for a paradigm shift, shaking people’s faith in governments, science, economy, world order, etc. In such moments of ­crisis of faith, the void created by the diminishing confidence in these systems is filled by other things like misinformation.

When COVID-19 started spreading around the world, it did not take much time for many to realise that this disease is unlike others. Swine flu, bird flu, and mad cow disease were thought to be deadly, but their spread remained limited. Thus, humanity had enough time on its hand to develop their treatment. But, this one spread like wild fire and exposed the deficiencies of medical services and governments the world over. Naturally, the blame game began.

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Updated On : 18th Jun, 2020

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