An ‘infodemic’

  • Sun May 10th, 2020 1:30am
  • News

Submitted by Washington State Department of Health

The World Health Organization has said that along with the pandemic of COVID-19, we are experiencing an “infodemic” of misinformation, rumors, and myths regarding COVID-19. Help spread the facts! Consider the following as you scroll through the headlines on social media.

Who?

Who is presenting this information? Is this person from a government agency? Is it someone with a political agenda? Are they trying to sell something? Who else is spreading this information? Is this information available from multiple credible sources?

What?

What is the information? Is it a fact or someone’s opinion? Are they asking for money? If I click on the story, does the information given there support the headline? Or was the headline more sensational than true?

Where?

Where did I find this information? The popularity of a website is in no way connected to its credibility. Is this site run by a university or government agency? What do I find out when I google the organization running this website?

When?

When was this information first published? What we know about COVID-19 is changing so quickly that information and public health recommendations now are different than just a couple weeks ago. Are you looking at the most recent information?

Why?

Why was this information published? How does the author want to make you feel? Are they trying to elicit fear or outrage? Some situations are scary or outrageous, but people who are trying to deliberately spread misinformation rely on emotions like fear and outrage to prompt others to forward false information.

And, as always, beware of scams. Do not respond to any texts or emails claiming to be about the stimulus checks. Ignore any online offers for COVID-19 vaccinations or home test kits.

Great information waits for you on the state’s web portal, on the Department of Health website, or on the CDC website. Or you can call the DOH COVID-19 hotline at 1–800–525–0127 and press #. You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211–211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more.

Practice compassion. The kids have been out of school a month now. As their learning becomes more independent and more reliant on the internet, help them learn to tell good information from bad. Teach them to correct misinformation when they see it in a kind, clear, and helpful way.