Myth busting

Tackling the spread of misinformation in the wake of the novel coronavirus


The World Health Organization (WHO) has faced a daunting task in dealing with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

More than 45,000 cases of the infection have been confirmed globally, with 44,730 of those cases located in China.

As well as limiting the spread of illness, the WHO has had to limit a threat that is dispersed by cellphones and social media rather than sneezes and unwashed hands.

The WHO has released a series of downloadable graphics aimed at reducing misinformation about coronavirus.

Working alongside tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, the WHO is working to limit the spread of myths about the virus.

For example, if ‘coronavirus’ is entered into the Facebook search function users in most countries are presented with a link to the WHO site.

Alongside the proliferation of fake news that has accompanied coronavirus, there is another insidious piece of baggage that has followed in its wake.

Chinese nationals living in the UK have reported increased incidents of racism following the outbreak of coronavirus.

“We’ll be in trouble if these guys sneeze on us,” Jason Ngan recalled being told as he got into a lift at Manchester’s Piccadilly Station.

“It’s exposing all these underlying prejudices towards Chinese people, or at least anyone who looks Chinese,” he told the Guardian.  

Although isolation is a necessary part of containing the coronavirus, an effective global response needs to be built on the values that build strong communities – truth and kindness.

The AOP is here to support its members – you can find member guidance on coronavirus precautions on the association’s website.

Image credit: Pixabay/Niek Verlaan