Misinformation about Covid is everywhere – CNN


Kaiser, who is widely respected for his first-rate work on this topic, has tested eight false claims about Covid. Almost 80% of Americans polled said they had heard of at least one of the lies and believed it or did not know if it was true.

“Most often,” the report’s authors wrote, “six in ten adults have heard that the government is exaggerating the number of Covid-19 deaths by counting deaths from other factors like coronavirus deaths and think that this is true (38%) or you don’t know if it is true or false (22%). “

One-third of those polled “believe or don’t know whether deaths from the Covid-19 vaccine are intentionally hidden by the government (35%),” the authors wrote, “and about three in ten each believe or don’t know if Covid- 19 vaccines have been shown to cause infertility (31%) or if ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 (28%). “

The researchers also found that “between a fifth and a quarter of the public believe or don’t know if vaccines can give you COVID-19 (25%), contain a microchip (24%), or can modify your DNA ( 21%). . “

Vaccine chips, trackers, changes to your DNA – these wacky ideas have clearly impressed a significant number of people. And the media regimes have something to do with it.

“People’s reliable sources of information correlate with their belief in disinformation about COVID-19,” the authors said. “At least a third of those who trust news from CNN, MSNBC, Network News, NPR and local TV news do not believe any of the eight false statements, while small shares (between 11% and 16%) believe or are not sure of at least four of the eight false statements. “

That’s a positive sign – it suggests that traditional sources are helping people separate real news from noise and nonsense.

Only 11% of those who trusted CNN’s coverage believed four or more false statements, the smallest percentage of all media reported.

But sources like CNN and NPR are deeply suspicious of many Republicans. Instead, they gravitate towards Fox News and even more right-wing channels like One America News. And Kaiser found that “nearly 4 in 10 of those who trust Fox News (36%) and One America News (37%) and almost half (46%) of those who trust Newsmax, claiming whether they believe or are not sure of at least half of the eight false statements. “

The researchers cautioned, however, that “whether this is because people are exposed to misinformation from these news sources, or if the types of people who choose these news sources are the same as those who are predisposed to believe some types of disinformation for other reasons is beyond the scope of analysis.

The Washington Post called him “A sobering poll on the GOP’s adoption of coronavirus misinformation.”

Post reporter Aaron Blake followed up with Kaiser and concluded that the overall numbers “obscure how ripe the law is for this kind of misinformation.” That’s because, “in most cases, if you exclude Republicans who haven’t heard the claims and focus on those who know them, the majority of them actually believe the claims.”

It’s easy to see a relationship between this research and the current pattern of Covid-19 deaths in the United States. David Leonhardt of the New York Times wrote on Monday that the partisan division in deaths is widening, with residents of heavily Republican counties dying at much higher rates than those in Democratic counties.

Covid vaccines “are remarkably effective in preventing severe Covid, and nearly 40% of adult Republicans are still unvaccinated, compared to about 10% of adult Democrats,” Leonhardt reported.

In Kaiser’s research, unvaccinated adults were more likely than vaccinated adults to believe at least four of eight false claims.

Unfortunately, the World Health Organization’s first warnings of an “infodemic” have proven to be correct.

“An infodemic,” the WHO said, “can intensify or prolong epidemics when people don’t know what to do to protect their health and the health of those around them.”

US officials like Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy have been outspoken about the dangers of Covid lies. On Tuesday, his office released a “Community toolbox”, complete with comic book and illustrations, to help people identify and demystify health misinformation.

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