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Social media rumors complicate fight against COVID-19

KUWAIT: The menace that is the coronavirus (COVID-19) was not only spread via conventional methods of exposure and lack of hygiene. Rumors and false information on social media platforms also played an equal role in propagating the virus, said a medical expert yesterday. Dr Mohammad Abol, a virologist, indicated in an interview that there was a thirst for information concerning COVID-19; however, most of what was being spread on social media platforms like Twitter for example tend to veer off the truth and scientific data.

According to Dr Abol, there was an “alarming anti-science trend” on social media concerning COVID-19; from false information on the origins of the virus to inaccurate data on vaccines, and so on. It is necessary to involve medical experts and their peers in all media platform including social media to fend off rumors and put the correct information out there, affirmed Dr Abol who stressed that the faster experts refuted rumors and lies, the better.

The world has been struggling with COVID-19 since it was declared a pandemic back in early 2020. While authorities around the world, including Kuwait, launched their media and health campaigns to counter the spread of the virus, false information and fake news, discussions regarding the COVID-19 on social media and some conventional media outlets were polarizing with some describing the virus as a hoax, a normal flu, and sometimes even a blatant lie.

In a quote that described Kuwaiti medical professionals’ painful struggle against the coronavirus, head of Mubarak Hospital Dr Mahdi Al-Fadhli said previously that “there were two enemies in the fight against COVID-19, one being the virus itself and other being rumors and false information.” Despite, the odds Kuwaiti medical staff and peers around the world continue to fight with a keen determination to end the suffocating hold of the coronavirus on the world. – KUNA


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