Trump Found To Be ‘Single Largest Driver’ Of Misinformation Around Coronavirus
Donald Trump has been found to be the ‘single largest driver’ of misinformation surrounding the ongoing health crisis.
Despite frequently calling out media outlets for their supposed ‘fake news’, the president has arguably been spreading some himself.
From calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung Flu’, to implying people should inject themselves with disinfectant, Trump has said some extremely dangerous and incorrect things during the ongoing health crisis.
The news comes following a study conducted by Cornell University, which analysed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. The study was released today, October 1.
The data found that Trump made up 38% of the overall ‘misinformation conversation’, therefore making him the largest driver of misinformation surrounding the virus.
As per The New York Times, Sarah Evanega, the director of the Cornell Alliance for Science and the study’s lead author, said:
The biggest surprise was that the President of the United States was the single largest driver of misinformation around Covid. That’s concerning in that there are real-world dire health implications.
The university broke the study down into 11 categories, including one about conspiracy theories.
While this played a large part in COVID-19 misinformation, researchers found that ‘miracle cures’ was the most prevalent topic. Apparently, conspiracy theories accounted for more global misinformation than the other 10 topics combined.
Looking at articles between January 1 to March 26 in particular, researchers found that more than one million articles contained incorrect information.
Following Trump’s comments regarding disinfectant in April, the university discovered there were more than 30,000 articles in the ‘miracle cures’ category, compared to 10,000 in the days prior to Trump making the statement.
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former principal deputy commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration, has dubbed the misinformation in the US one of the major reasons why the country hasn’t dealt with the pandemic as well as other countries.
He said, ‘There is a science of rumours. It’s when there is uncertainty and fear’. Dr. Sharfstein added that clear and concise information is vital during a time when there aren’t any treatments or vaccines and that, ‘if it’s not done well, you get far more infections and deaths.’
It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.
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CreditsThe New York Times
The New York Times