Misinformation about Covid is everywhere – CNN – Community News
Covid-19

Misinformation about Covid is everywhere – CNN

Kaiser, widely respected for his first-rate work in this field, tested eight false statements about Covid. Nearly 80% of Americans surveyed said they had heard of at least one of the lies and either believed it or weren’t sure if it was true.

“Usually,” the report’s authors wrote, “six in 10 adults have heard that the government is exaggerating the number of Covid-19 deaths by counting deaths from other factors, such as deaths from coronavirus, and either they believe they are. this is true (38%) or not sure if it is true or false (22%).

A third of respondents “believe or are not sure whether deaths from the Covid-19 vaccine are intentionally hidden by the government (35%),” the authors wrote, “and about three in 10 believe or do not know certain whether Covid-19 19 vaccines have been shown to cause infertility (31%) or whether ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 (28%).

The researchers also found that “between a fifth and a quarter of the public believe or aren’t sure whether the vaccines can give you COVID-19 (25%), contain a microchip (24%) or alter your DNA (21%) .”

Vaccine microchips, trackers, changes in your DNA — these bizarre ideas have clearly impressed a large number of people. And media diets have something to do with it.

“People’s trusted news sources are correlated with their belief in misinformation about COVID-19,” the authors said. “At least a third of those who trust information from CNN, MSNBC, network news, NPR and local television news believe none of the eight false statements, while small proportions (between 11% and 16%) believe or are uncertain about at least four of them. the eight false statements.”

That’s a positive sign — it suggests that traditional sources help people separate real news from noise and nonsense.

Only 11% of those who trusted CNN’s coverage believed four or more false statements, the smallest percentage of any media reported.

But sources like CNN and NPR are deeply distrusted by many Republicans. Instead, they lean towards Fox News and even more right-wing channels like One America News. And Kaiser found that “nearly 4 in 10 of those who trust Fox News (36%) and One America News (37%) and nearly half (46%) of those who trust Newsmax say they believe or are not sure about at least half of the eight false statements.”

However, the researchers cautioned that “whether it’s because people are exposed to misinformation from those news sources, or whether the kinds of people who choose those news sources are the same ones who are prone to certain kinds of misinformation for other reasons, is beyond the scope of this review.” the analysis.”

The Washington Post called it “a sobering poll about the GOP’s embrace of misinformation about the coronavirus”.

Post-reporter Aaron Blake succeeded Kaiser, concluding that the overall numbers “make it unclear how ripe the law is for this kind of misinformation.” That’s because, “in most cases, if you exclude Republicans who haven’t heard the claims and focus on who is familiar with them, a majority of them actually believe the claims.”

It’s easy to see a connection between this research and the current pattern of Covid-19 deaths in the United States. David Leonhardt of The New York Times wrote Monday that the partisan gap in deaths is widening, with residents of heavily Republican counties dying much more often than those in Democratic counties.

Covid vaccines “are remarkably effective at preventing severe Covid, and nearly 40 percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10 percent of Democratic adults,” Leonhardt reported.

In the Kaiser study, unvaccinated adults were more likely than vaccinated adults to believe four or more of the eight false statements.

Unfortunately, the World Health Organization’s early warnings about an “infodemic” have been proven to be correct.

“An infodemic,” the WHO said, “can intensify or prolong outbreaks when people aren’t sure what to do to protect their health and the health of those around them.”

U.S. officials such as Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy have been outspoken about the dangers of Covid falsehoods. On Tuesday, his office released a “community toolkit,” complete with a comic strip and illustrations, to help people identify and debunk misinformation about health.

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Rakesh

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