The Covid-19 period has undoubtedly been connected to so much misinformation and conspiracy theories about its origin, spread and vaccination and other linkages like 5G that has slowed down the response process.
As the world continues to ail through the pandemic to stand on its feet again, misinformation and fakeness have become a second pandemic and it continues to evolve just as the virus. When Covid-19 first struck in China, it was considered a Chinese virus with no chances of it spreading to the other parts of the globe. with the inclusion of additional narratives misled more people on the seriousness of the pandemic in its early days. We had days when it was clear its a white people pandemic and doesn’t affect black people before it finally hit with full force.
A major conspiracy theory was on the 5G network. It was launched within the same time when the pandemic first occurred which gave it leeway to its close linkage to the spread of covid-19. A number of publications picked up the story to further spread the lies. It first appeared on a French conspiracy website “Les Moutons”. where the article pinpointed the 5G rollout in the Wuhan city a few months before the outbreak. While this was clearly unrelated, the theory fueled arson attacks on cell towers in some parts of Europe.
Rumours and conspiracy theories continue to be a barrier to the administration covid-19 health policies. Social media platforms for instance have become a common source of health information and have been largely used to spread misinformation on the covid-19 pandemic.
While social media has proved to be effective in improving peoples knowledge about the disease, transmission, and prevention mechanisms. Online platforms have been amplified by rumours and conspiracy theories with no scientific basis exposing users to misinformation that could threaten public health.
A UK study conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health says two-fifths of the participants online have encountered either negative messages, rumours and misinformation about vaccination on most social media platforms.
The most recent case of misinformation was in India when the covid-19 infections skyrocketed. There were hundreds of publications including decades-old images portraying the current covid-19 cases in the country that caused panic across the world.
Many gullible people beyond India are increasingly falling prey to a rising tide of misleading and false content that continues to affect the various nations’ mass vaccination processes. For instance in Kenya, during the first phase of vaccination, there were rumours all over about how adverse the effects are on old people and how they cause blood clots in their systems. While the context of this information has no support, there were still more Kenyans who fell prey to this.
Vaccines have also been tied down by misinformation in regards to their safety. People have been misled against getting the jab citing such reasons as blood clots, hormonal imbalance. While vaccines are bound to fail at times, misinformation poses a threat to the health of innocent citizens.