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Misinformation can be as contagious and harmful as COVID-19

At the end of August 2020, when around 1,000 Americans were dying from COVID-1 9 every day, I posted on my personal Facebook account a straightforward translation of the deaths statistic: averaged over 24 hours (8 6,400 seconds ), one U.S. inhabitant was dying every 86 seconds. In another berth, I uttered my concern for the mental health and safety of hundreds of public health officials all over the country who were being threatened and persecuted for recommending or enforcing measures aimed at stemming these sickening losses, such as restricting restaurant capacity, restricting large-scale rallies, and mandating mask-wearing when social distancing wasn’t possible.

It didn’t occur to me that either of these posts would be the least bit controversial among my friends and family. But later that night, a friend from college whom I’ve known for more than a fourth of a century commented that I was vastly overdoing the death toll and “fear mongering.” Do the math, I reacted. He countered by claim that doctors were inflating COVID-1 9 fatality weighs for financial welfare and that really because thousands were dying with COVID, they weren’t definitely dying of COVID. The influenza kills 100,000 beings each year, he wrote, and we don’t shut down the country for that. I gently pointed out that according to official CDC statistics , no more than 60,000 people had been killed in a single influenza season for the past few decades, and those numerals are thinks , not actual contingency weighs. We went back and forth like this for a while. Finally, irritated, I observed that my friend is a lawyer, while I have medical and public health degrees and was probably a little bit more informed than he was. “Elitist, ” he razzed, your imagination education doesn’t mean anything. The immense thing about social media is that it’s the ultimate equalizer – no one needs to “bow down” to your guessed expertise. By the path, he wrote, right before I pleased him well and blocked him from affixing more misinformation on my sheet, those public health officials you funding all march in lockstep with the Democratic Party, so as for the persecution, well, they had it coming.

Six months ago, more than half a million Americans have died from the pandemic, and though new infections have come from their post-holiday peak, we’re still losing about 2,000 beings every day( or one every 43 seconds ). Despite the greatly increased pace of vaccination since President Biden took office, as of today less than 10 percent of the U.S. population is fully injected, and less than 20 percent has received at least one dosage of the Pfizer or Moderna two-dose inoculations( the Johnson& Johnson vaccine is a single dosage ). Nonetheless, the misinformed boss of Texas and Mississippi have declared victory, jettisoning their disguise authorizations and restrictions on businesses and sending the word that if COVID-1 9 was ever a serious public health problem, it isn’t any longer.

Of course, online misinformation bristled well before COVID, infamously leading many mothers to refuse the measles, mumps, and rubella inoculation for their children because they feared, based on a single fraudulent, discounted and retracted technical essay, that it might induce autism. And I’m deeply concerned that the crazy myths now proliferating online about COVID vaccines – that they make changes to your DNA, they cause infertility, they contain tiny microchips to allow Bill Gates can move your gestures, that their side effects are worse than the disease – pose a huge obstacle to achieving herd immunity through vaccinating 70 percentage or more of the population.( And don’t get me started on the barbaric “let’s achieve flock immunity through natural infection.” One might as well go back to the days of bloodletting and Hippocrates’ four feelings, for the immense harms that policy would justification .) Let me be clear: I don’t think that vaccination should be mandatory for every adult( or child, when it is shown to be safe and effective in children ), but those who decline it for themselves or on someone else’s behalf should do so because they have concerns that medication can’t yet answer( e.g ., are there any side effects that don’t show up for a year or more ?), not because they fall for misinformation or scheme theories.

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