A dangerous misinfodemic spreads alongside the SARS-COV-2 pandemic

McGinty, Meghan; Gyenes, Nat
Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review

As health authorities around the world struggle to respond to this pandemic, they are challenged by the misinfodemic that has followed, where the spread of health misinformation online has contributed to the spread of health and disease outcomes offline. The public has had an insatiable appetite for information about this new virus and its disease. Public health experts have communicated what they have learned in this short time, what is not known, what they are doing to fill the gaps. They have also made recommendations about how individuals can protect themselves, as well as the policies communities should implement to mitigate the impact of this pandemic based on what is known to date. However, the viral spread of false information has caused confusion. Some public health and political leaders have struggled to maintain public trust in their recommendations. Mis-and disinformation and an inability to effectively communicate risk to the public threaten our ability to effectively respond to this global pandemic.