Home Posts Misinformation About COVID-19 Is An “insidious Threat” To The United States, According To The Surgeon General.
Misinformation About COVID-19 Is An “insidious Threat” To The United States, According To The Surgeon General.

Misinformation About COVID-19 Is An “insidious Threat” To The United States, According To The Surgeon General.

On Thursday, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a strong warning to the nation about the continued spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

Murthy stated in his first advisory since being appointed by President Joe Biden that the United States had come a long way in its fight against the pandemic, but that disinformation campaigns remained the nation's biggest challenge in moving beyond the coronavirus.

He also chastised technology companies for failing to control anti-vaccination posts, which he described as an "imminent and insidious threat to our nation's health."

“Modern technology companies have enabled misinformation to poison our information environment with little accountability to their users,” Murthy said at the White House on Thursday. “They’ve designed product features, such as ‘Like’ buttons, that reward us for sharing emotionally charged content, not accurate content, and their algorithms tend to give us more of what we click on, drawing us deeper afield.

So, the next time you want to share a health-related article or video, check your sources and make sure the information is backed up by scientific experts. If you're not sure, don't share. #NotSharingIsCaring pic.twitter.com/rZUMYy7rpX — Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) July 15, 2021

Surgeon General advisories are typically reserved for immediate public health threats, such as tobacco, opioid addiction, and suicide. Murthy's latest warning comes amid an increase in COVID-19 cases across the United States, owing primarily to the spread of the virus's highly transmissible delta variant.

Despite the fact that more than 160 million people in the United States are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, regions with lower immunization rates are especially vulnerable to the delta strain, and vaccines have proven to be effective at preventing the severe illness and death associated with COVID-19, despite the delta variant's high transmissibility.

Almost all coronavirus deaths in the United States occur among unvaccinated people.

Murthy stated in the advisory that misinformation had hampered the country's effort to get Americans vaccinated. He revealed that he had lost ten family members to COVID-19, and that it was painful to know that many of the recent deaths in the United States could have been prevented by vaccinations.

“Health misinformation is a serious threat to public health,” Murthy stated in the advisory. “It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, harm people’s health, and undermine public health efforts. Limiting the spread of health misinformation is a moral and civic imperative that will necessitate a whole-of-society effort.”

Although major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have taken steps to remove or reduce the spread of false COVID-19 claims, misinformation has persisted throughout the pandemic, both at home and abroad.

The White House also expressed dissatisfaction with Facebook's efforts to weed out major misinformation peddlers. Press secretary Jen Psaki said there were about a dozen accounts responsible for the vast majority of anti-vaccine misinformation, and they were all still posting on the platform.

“Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated that they have the levers to promote quality information,” Psaki said at a press conference. “We’ve seen them effectively do this in their algorithm over low-quality information, and they’ve chosen not to use it in this case.”

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