COVID-19 misinformation spreading faster than the virus

 

Ontario doctors are urging residents to rely on science and proven public health measures, rather than the disinformation that is rapidly spreading.

According to the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), as of February 3, more than 100,000 Ontarians have been actively participating in social media conversations regarding whether the COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax and whether they should get the vaccine.

Based on the data, roughly 75 per cent of the people taking part in these conversations were supporting or promoting the misinformation, the majority of whom are men.

“As Ontarians continue to make hard choices and suffer the consequences of this pandemic, it is discouraging and even dangerous to have such a disproportionate amount of misinformation,” Samantha Hill, president of the OMA, said in a news release.

“Flagrant misinformation puts us all at risk and the best way to get the most correct and up-to-date answers to your personalized questions in your community is to ask your family doctor or public health expert," she continued.

Additionally, according to the findings, the majority of people discussing and spreading misinformation are under the age of 45--those over the age of 45 more frequently discuss the politics and policies around pandemic restrictions and vaccine rollout.

“Ontario’s doctors have been working around the clock to provide the best possible front-line patient care. They are making evidence-based decisions, getting patients the care they need, and helping to vaccinate the public," Allan O'Dette, CEO of the OMA, said in the same release.

“Do your part.  Stick to the facts, follow expert public health guidelines and when in doubt, ask your doctor," he continued.

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