Chances are you are up to your eyeballs in COVID-19 news. It’s pretty hard to escape it since using social media and watching TV are two of the most common activities going on right now. It’s good, even necessary, to be informed and to know how to protect yourself. This is a world event none of us have experienced before and we’re all learning as we go.
However, as with any other topic, misinformation typically spreads faster and more efficiently than actual information. There is nothing like a world wide pandemic to breathe life into the most absurd conspiracy theories already out there and to create thousands more. Here are some of the ones I’ve seen lately:
- China created this virus as a biological weapon
- Ventilator use is deadly for anyone with COVID-19
- COVID-19 is a hoax being used to implement the New World Order. No one has actually died from it because it doesn’t exist
- Flu vaccine causes COVID-19
- Shelter in Place is just a way to destroy the economy, it doesn’t control the spread of COVID-19 at all
- If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds you don’t have COVID-19
- If you stay hydrated (i.e. drink lots of water) you can’t contract COVID-19
- Zinc cures COVID-19
- Lemons cure COVID-19
I’m sure you’re seen plenty more. Some are laughable, some are downright scary. All are dangerous to share/ spread.
Very few of us actually WANT to spread misinformation. Most of us think when we share something that we are helping or entertaining our friends and family. But when it comes to COVID-19 related items you really need to do your our fact checking, no matter how much you like the person who posted it. We all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Check out the CDC website, or the website of your state or local public health organization. Go to the hoax busting website of your choice. Do a quick Google search.
This isn’t like sharing a hoax about a giveaway or a coupon. While that’s incredibly annoying, and quite frankly, everyone should know better by now, it’s not fatal. People can, and very likely already have, died from believing misinformation about COVID-19. Imagine how you would feel if you found out someone died because of something you shared with the best of intentions. That should be enough to make us all think long and hard about what we are posting these days.
Stay safe everyone!