The Deadly Cost of COVID-19 Misinformation

Social media is a catalyst to COVID-19 misinformation

By: Maha Altamimi

According to a study published in October 2020, in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, about 6,000 victims were admitted to hospitals as a consequence of rumor, stigma, and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19. 

Among all categories, researchers say rumors were the most prevalent cause of COVID-19 illness, transmission, and mortality at a rate of 89%. Due to false information, a lot of people have refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine and some have reverted to drinking methanol or cleaning-based products to prevent the virus, which has resulted in death in several cases. There has also been misinformation about eating garlic, drinking alcohol, and drinking cow urine to cure COVID-19. All are false.

Adriano Goffi, the Medical Director of the Altus Health System near Houston, who has been treating COVID patients, reaffirmed that 80% of his patients were victims of Facebook’s misinformation. They were duped into believing that COVID-19 vaccines are poisonous and contain tracking devices. 

Even US President Joe Biden has pointedly accused Facebook and other social media companies of killing people by allowing COVID-19 misinformation to spread. “They are killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.” Biden said. 

Despite that, Facebook insists on denying its involvement, yet they refuse to share any data on the number of people who are seeing consuming misinformation on their platform. 

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