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August 09, 2020

Let’s stamp out misinformation or suppress the infodemic!

The coronavirus pandemic has mercilessly wreaked havoc across the globe for more than six months back. And, nobody has sensibly known yet that it might last until an unforeseeable period. The deadly pathogen has killed at least six-hundred thousand, and over seventeen million have caught the viral disease all over the world. WHO has also maintained the pandemic’s status as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) — its highest level of alarm. Since the infections are still rampant and the vaccines are yet to be found we have many challenges ahead to vigilantly encounter any possible second or third wave of the pandemic. In the meantime, pieces of misinformation about COVID are floating especially in the social media circles.
That is an added danger to all of us because the world’s nations are trying their best to strategically stem the infectious outbreak and spread in every corner of the world. Some pages and posts on social media are brimming with false news stories on the novel coronavirus. Misinformation about COVID, some may coin ‘infodemic’, is as dangerous as the infection itself. Some can say they may have benign inaccuracies. However, we need to be more careful about the correct news stories and information on the pandemic. We need to differentiate between information and misinformation. News consumers should remain vigilant against any signs of misinformation at all times, especially in this coronavirus era.
Every government and its health authorities have formed a national task force to impose and enforce rules and regulations in connection with the preventative measures against the coronavirus disease. They have imposed restrictions on their people along with health awareness protocols to be followed. At the same time, they have to disseminate correct and accurate news and information amongst their people. People need to know only the real-time information — not any stint of misinformation or false news or fake news stories about the global infectious disease.
To save lives, we all need to abide by the health information — not misinformation like ‘coronavirus isn’t deadly and you can cure it with a herbal remedy or anything’. The WHO guidelines and health authorities’ instructions are the only simple protocols for all of us to follow up: frequent handwashing, donning a facemask in public, strictly maintaining the social or physical distance between one another, no gatherings, staying at home if necessary, etc. To seek real-time information, let’s stamp out misinformation or suppress the ‘infodemic’.


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