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Conspiracy theories and fake news:
Fighting the infodemic
Disinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding
the global coronavirus pandemic have flooded the internet – often with an additional nudge from world leaders and
celebrities – presenting a challenge for health authorities, social media platforms, journalists, fact-checkers
and concerned citizens worldwide.
US health officials scrambled this week to put out a fire started by President Donald Trump when
he suggested in his Thursday press briefing that injecting disinfectant might be worth studying for the treatment
As worried Americans called hotlines to request more information, doctors and health experts reacted strongly,
warning people against trying such dangerous homemade remedies.
Disinformation is a scourge of our era that tends to piggyback on any crisis, particularly a
global one like the current pandemic: From conspiracy theories about how it began (in a Chinese or American lab?)
and how it spreads (boosted by 5G networks?), to fake news about the reappearance of seldom viewed animals in ports
and canals, to bogus remedies (some deadlier than the disease itself), the internet is awash with it.
“We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned in February.
|Bill Gates defends China's coronavirus response:
He says Beijing "did a lot of things right" at the start of the pandemic and claims criticism
of the Communist Party is "a distraction." In a CNN interview, he also said U.S. handled COVID-19 response
"particularly poorly" compared to others. He also defended the World Health Organization as a "phenomenal"
Trump this month announced US would halt funding to the UN-run WHO. The
decision was blasted by Gates' wife, Melinda Gates
Gates' foundation is second largest donor to WHO behind the United States.
Critics claim claim his hospitalization “too perfect” and he was “dodging responsibility by
becoming a victim”
Who You Gonna
Opinion Pundits run wild
How deadly is the coronavirus?
of the data
The Kill Factor
There Is a ‘Tipping Point’ Before Coronavirus Kills
The new coronavirus causes little more than a cough if it stays in the nose
and throat, which it does for the majority of people unlucky enough to be infected.
Bloomberg March 8, 2020,
The mounting toll of coronavirus deaths,raises a basic question:
How does it make people sick, and
why does it kill some of them?
Post February 19, 2020
The science of soap – how it kills the virus
A letter in the Daily Telegraph, from a retired doctor, Dr George
Birdwood, of Shipton Moyne, Gloucestershire, who qualified in 1953. deserves a wider audience:
'I have been reflecting on how we
would have reacted to a coronavirus epidemic in those days. The answer is not at all, for three main reasons.
'The Covid-19 virus could not have been identified rapidly enough, if at all. Most cases would have been too mild
to attract attention in this season of coughs and sneezes.
And the small proportion of deaths among elderly people with chronic respiratory disease would have remained much
as usual for the time of year.
'It follows that there would have been no alarm or counter-measures. International trade and travel would have
carried on as usual. World stock markets would not have collapsed. And governments would not have needed to get
'As it is today, we know too much about the coronavirus for our own good, but almost nothing about treating its
victims or preventing its spread.'
Sometimes a little knowledge really can be a dangerous thing.
I'm not advocating complacency, but I do worry what we're seeing right now is well-intentioned over-reaction.
Rush, you don’t sound panicked over any of this....