It’s no secret: Coronavirus, officially called Covid-19, has changed the world as we know it. Death rates continue to rise, businesses have shut down creating millions of workers to become unemployed, and people are being forced to stay home.
It’s a scary time. Hospitals and medical staff are becoming overwhelmed while coping with PPE (personal protective equipment) shortages. Family members aren’t able to be with their loved ones during their final moments.
According to Business Insider, 95 percent of Americans are being told to stay at home, while many are struggling to adjust to being confined in their household.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has been under lockdown for over a month. In a world that is constantly on the go, millions of United States, UK, and global citizens are doing their best to remain productive.
Predictably, the news cycle has been airing nonstop coverage on this novel virus. Amongst the constant information being spread to the public, fake news and misinformation have also been circulating, creating more public panic.
If you scroll through your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed, you’re likely to come across a post sharing an article about Coronavirus. The problem here is that a substantial amount of this information is false, often shared from a friend of a friend.
Given that most of us are adapting to this new and restricted lifestyle, staying busy to pass the time can be difficult to accomplish. While those under lockdown are finding it a challenge to keep themselves preoccupied, news outlets are having a field day.
Whether reliability and credibility are values for media channels or not, it seems as if misleading information is spreading as fast as Covid-19 itself. Not only does this fake news cause people to fear even more, it also produces a false perception about how society is dealing with this pandemic.
Unreliable sources floating around the internet have published claims that are either reporting false statistics or claiming that Martial Law might soon be declared in the United States.
In fact, a media outlet that published one of those articles uses ‘rumors’ in its headline; a dead giveaway to those agencies who want to continue adding fuel to the fire by jumping on the fake news bandwagon.
While the outbreak of Coronavirus has undoubtedly caused panic around the world, sharing related social media posts without checking the source is resulting in greater fear. Yes, we should stay up to date on current news regarding this pandemic because after all, we rely on these sources to disseminate accurate information to us. We are depending on reporters, journalists, and television news anchors to inform us about the world outside.
However, not all media has our best interest in mind. Certain news outlets aren’t concerned with obtaining the facts; instead, they’re focused on being the one who gets the word out first. Subsequently, social network users want to join in on this competition and continue to spread these false narratives.
It’s understandable to be scared during this time. Even though scientists, doctors, and researchers have made tremendous advances in medicine and technology, there is no vaccine or treatment for the everlasting pandemic of fake news.
However, we can still strive to avoid falling victim to untrue news reports. Checking the article source, researching author credibility, and confirming statistics are some ways to prevent you from being fooled.
Stay home, stay safe, and stay informed.