During COVID-19, ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories are putting peoples lives at risk” – says Heinz Bierbaum, the President of the European Left Party. Further he continuous: ”Misinformation and disinformation in the health space are thriving. It is important that you rely only on authoritative sources to get updated information on the COVID-19 outbreak.
Various conspiracy theories about the origin and scale of the disease were spread on online platforms since the very begging of the outbreak. From 5G networks and Bill Gates causing the global coronavirus pandemic to Chinese scientists creating it in a lab: all those misinformations related to the public health crisis are dangerous. Unverified news shared by huge amount of people don’t help to stop the pandemics. It is understandable that people will be looking for answers to why this crisis happened, and why it is hitting some groups more than others, but conspiracy theories don’t explain society’s problems. They only create chaos, false reasoning, confusion and lead to wrong, simplified conclusions.
Across Europe and northern America COVID-19 has prompted a spike in hate crimes. Many people started to believe that minorities, in many cases of an asian descent, are to blame for the spread of the diseases. Racism and hatred are useless to protect us against a virus that recognises no borders or nations. Instead of spreading hatred towards for example China, we need a resolute international cooperation to combat corona pandemic. We are in this together. Now, more than ever, we as individuals have a key role to play in spreading correct information.”
Some valuable information on COVID-19 can be found on dedicated pages on fighting disinformation like the World Health Organization’s myth busters section or the website of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Below you will find the links: