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IST 605: Misinformation and COVID-19

An exploration of misinformation as it pertains to the spread, severity, and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Purpose: The primary objective of this guide is to combat misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time when accurate information can save lives, it is crucial to ensure that the public has access to facts that are scientifically sound and verified by trusted health experts. This guide aims to empower readers with the knowledge and tools necessary to discern fact from fiction, enabling them to make informed decisions for their health and well-being.

Scope: This guide focuses on:

  • Defining Misinformation: It will clarify what constitutes misinformation and the various forms it can take, especially in the context of a global health crisis.
  • Identifying and Debunking Myths: It will address common myths and misconceptions about COVID-19, providing factual, evidence-based responses to these claims.
  • Providing Reliable Sources: It will guide readers towards trusted sources of information where they can seek up-to-date and accurate data about the pandemic.
  • Understanding the Impact: It will explore the impact of misinformation on the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is COVID-19?

According to The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, SARS-CoV-2, commonly called "COVID-19", is caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2. This particular virus, which originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in late 2019, led to what was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The pandemic was henceforth known as "COVID-19", referring to the identifying information of the virus that infected 27 people in the year 2019 (Long et al, 2022).

Globally, as of 3:52pm CET, 30 November 2023, there have been 772,052,752 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,985,278 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 23 November 2023, a total of 13,595,583,125 vaccine doses have been administered. (WHO, 2023).