Covid-19 outbreak means (mis)information overload: How to cope


The Manhattan bridge is seen in the background of a flashing sign urging commuters to avoid gatherings, reduce crowding and to wash hands in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The coronavirus pandemic is leading to information overload for many people, often making it difficult to separate fact from fiction and rumor from deliberate efforts to mislead. — AP

The coronavirus pandemic is leading to information overload for many people, often making it difficult to separate fact from fiction and rumour from deliberate efforts to mislead.

Already, text messages predicting a US nationwide lockdown have circulated, along with social media posts telling people that one way to get tested for the virus is by donating blood or warning that mosquitoes can carry it. All are untrue. Such falsehoods can endanger public health, sow confusion and fear, and prevent important information from reaching people during a crisis. The Associated Press has debunked many such claims, including one about bananas supposedly preventing people from catching the virus and another on Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe testing positive.

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