A good number of fake information have spread almost as fast as the new coronavirus.
Some of these fake information include:
? Chloroquine is a proven cure for coronavirus.
? Children are immune to Covid 19
? 5G is the cause of coronavirus pandemic.
? Drinking more water helps to flush out the disease.
? The infection can be treated by gargling salt water.
? Coronavirus was man-made.
? Black race are immune to Covid 19 infection. Etc.
It should be noted that that all these claims have been rubbished by the World Health Organisation.
However, all these plausible and predictably untrue, fake news about COVID-19 is flooding the internet as people scramble to make sense of this crisis that has wrecked havoc around the world.
Nevertheless, if unchecked, this so-called “infodemic” threatens to hamper the world’s collective best efforts to curtail the coronavirus.
One should bear in mind that covid-19 has killed more than 115,000 people in a little more than 100 days since news of its emergence in Wuhan, China surfaced on the world’s media.
Carl Miller, the research director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at United Kingdom-based think-tank Demos, told Al Jazeera thus:
“Were we to view this [pandemic] as a conflict, then we could talk about two fronts, “The first is the public health reaction, and the second front are the waves of social and political chaos that have been caused by the virus and our response to it – this is a key battle on that front.”
However, while millions of people remain lockdown at their homes under strict laws, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere, are circulating a range of bogus half-baked conspiracy theories concerning COVID-19.
In the UK alone, nearly half of all adults have been exposed to false claims or misleading information online about the virus, according to research published last week by the country’s media watchdog, Ofcom.
Among those to have personally witnessed the pernicious advance of misinformation is Ahmed Aweis.
Ahmed Aweis is a business owner in London, the epicentre of Britain’s coronavirus caseload.
According to Ahmed, for weeks, he has seen fake news spread freely on WhatsApp and Facebook.
WHAT AHMED TOLD ALJAZEERA;
“Towards the end of March, up to 25 videos a day spouting mistruths were being shared across a handful of my online groups of friends and relatives. All while COVID-19 tightened its grip on swathes of Western Europe.
“Despite my best efforts to rebut the claims, “everybody was just sharing stuff left, right and centre”, including content that purportedly proved coronavirus was man-made, or caused by the rollout of 5G mobile technology.
“It was frightening and infuriating because you know this information is false, but the people who are sharing it have the confidence this will help or save humanity – and other people pick up on that.
HOW TO IDENTIFY FALSE INFORMATION
|Top tips for tackling misinformation|
|* Stop and think. If you have any doubts about something’s accuracy, don’t share it. |
* Check the source. The most reliable sources of information on coronavirus are public health bodies, such as the World Health Organization.
* Pay attention to quality. Reputable sources have high standards when it comes to grammar and presentation. Typos and odd formatting may be an indicator of inaccuracy.
* Beware emotional posts and consider biases. We are more likely to share content that corresponds with our own opinions or that excites powerful emotions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate.
* Ask a pro. Several reputable media organisations offer fact-checking services free of charge, or have fact-checking teams tasked with identifying misinformation on social media.
According to Aljazeera news, The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning against the premature lifting of lockdowns, saying it could trigger a dangerous resurgence of cases.
Aljazeera.com further stated that Scientists around the world are racing against time to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 100,000 people and infected more than 1.7 million worldwide.
In some of the worst affected countries such as China and Italy, the infections and deaths have levelled off in recent days, but experts warn the risk of a new wave of outbreaks is imminent without a vaccine.
Scientists in the United States have begun testing an anti-malarial drug as a potential treatment for coronavirus patients.
President Donald Trump has touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine despite warnings from health experts of its long list of side effects.
Its efficacy in curing COVID-19 remains unproven and a specific vaccine for the virus may still be months away.
SOURCE : ALJAZEERA NEWS