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There has been a tremendous amount of misinformations about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), unfortunately a lot of incorrect information is coming from sources that we should be able to trust. It makes many of us sigh, and others have reactions that paint such a telling story. Here are a few things to avoid as you look to keep yourself and others safe:
1. Learn the basics of the disease
What are the symptoms? How does it spread? What diseases is it similar to? The more basic information you have about the disease, the better prepared you’ll be to spot online misinformation. Just know it might be scant early on. Look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance.
2. Don’t share prevention or treatment methods without consulting official sources
This is a global epidemic, so too do social media posts prescribing tactics for preventing and treating infection. Some hoaxes like drinking bleach to cure coronavirus may be dangerous, while others may be harmless, but the end result is the same: misinformation. For confirmed ways to protect yourself, look for guidance from the CDC, WHO and local public health authorities.
3. Ignore stories that say the disease is planned
In the early stages, it can be difficult to tell where an epidemic started, especially if it’s a new disease. That’s where conspiracy theories come in. With the coronavirus, some have asserted the disease is a bioweapon, was created in a lab or was planned by someone in power to make money. Resist the urge to share these baseless claims.
4. Beware of attempts to downplay or inflate the threat of the disease
Epidemics often get politicized, and some people will use spin to deflect blame or create a scapegoat. Watch out for claims that attempt to pin the outbreak on one politician, party or group of people.