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Thanks to the COVID19 pandemic, we are going through a period of massive gaps in data and information. And what happens when there is an information vacuum? It’s often filled up by misinformation. As anyone with a smartphone or an internet connection knows today, we are constantly deluged by an endless stream of dubious forwards and fake news, and, in these times of fear and uncertainty, it seems like peddlers of misinformation are working overtime.
It’s especially easy to spread misinformation on a subject that is complicated and technical. Issues of public health are perfect fodder for fake news because the average layperson often doesn’t know enough of the science involved, and that lack of knowledge mixed with the visceral fear of catching the disease makes them susceptible to believing and spreading any spurious "news". So it becomes especially important for us in the news media to ensure that we get our facts straight and our science right.
So, this week we discuss how to avoid muddled science and consequently, misinformation.