“The Coronavirus is just a flu, nothing serious.” “It’s my American right to wear or not wear a mask.” “If you are younger than 50, you have nothing to worry about!” These are some of the many comments that have been thrown around by people who are not epidemiologists or virologists, nor have they most likely not worked in the field of public health.
It’s no surprise that individuals are left struggling with what to believe, says Jane Bambauer, a professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, who is studying why the COVID-19 crisis is particularly suited to breeding bad information.
“A situation like this, where even the best experts and scientists with the most critical minds are dealing with something that they still don’t fully understand, creates a low-knowledge environment,” Bambauer says. “And when people are desperate for knowledge, when we don’t have much light, we try to fill the gaps and share what we can. Even scientists are not immune to this.”
“When we’re forced to make decisions in an environment where much about COVID-19 falls into one of two categories—”known unknowns” or ‘unknown unknowns”—we should not be too credulous,” Bambauer says, adding that she would “take anything shared on social media with a grain of salt right now, no matter how rude it may feel in the moment.”
Jane Bambauer’s comments were included in an article about COVID-19 myths, conspiracy theories, disinformation, and false news. You can read the entire article here.
Stay safe! Hope to see you all very soon.