Disinformation flourishes in COVID-19 pandemic, representing a risk to public health

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Sasha Jacquez tests University of Texas at El Paso student Ariona Gill for coronavirus on Oct. 16 in El Paso, Texas. Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every single state. In El Paso, authorities instructed people to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew because of a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals.

America’s information atmosphere is being polluted by disinformation, some of it straight from the White House.

For instance, President Donald Trump falsely stated that the World Health Organization agreed that lockdowns were more damaging than the coronavirus.

PolitiFact and Kaiser Health News analyzed the issue and concluded Trump’s statement was false.

Trump took comments out of context by David Nabarro, a special envoy on COVID-19 for the World Health Organization.

Nabarro said that lockdowns are not the primary means of controlling the pandemic but should be used as a temporary measure.

He supports a middle path that includes wearing masks, physical distancing, frequent handwashing, testing, contact tracing and isolation when needed.

That’s the middle ground that needs to be following during most of the course of the pandemic.

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