The coronavirus pandemic began more than six months ago in the city of Wuhan in China. During the early days of the crisis, misinformation about the virus was common. Even the medical community did not know much about the infection due to the lack of research. However, conspiracy theories about the coronavirus continue to spread even today when a lot of studies have been conducted on its origin, spread, and prevention.
Although the vast majority of the scientists agree that there is still a lot of room for further investigation, several things about the virus have been confirmed including its various modes of transmission and its potential and long-term side effects on other organs in the body.
Regardless of the studies, briefings, and scientific commentaries present on the coronavirus, many people continue to believe the information provided by unverified sources that are usually scientific inaccurate.
In addition, the role of government officials, influencers, and other certain prominent figures is also a fundamental prevalence of misinformation about the virus.
Many times, well-known officials have added to the conspiracy theories about the infection, thereby further encouraging people to believe in random information on the internet rather than statements by public health experts.
Therefore, the medical community has urged people to believe in information sourced directly from credible scientific databases, articles, and journals or listen to trusted and certified health experts.
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Believing in conspiracy theories about the coronavirus can not only further add to the spread of misinformation but also potentially harm the progress over the pandemic.
For instance, people who may believe that the use of face masks for coronavirus can be harmful and cause health issues can encourage others to not wear a face-covering in public spaces.
In reality, face masks are not harmful unless a person suffers from a severe form of specific lung disease. Wearing a mask does not cause any damage to health in other cases. Instead, it can protect from various pathogens in addition to the coronavirus.
Various studies have corroborated the benefits of wearing a face mask and their important role in controlling the pandemic. Secondly, data from previous epidemics has further shown that face masks are important especially during public health issues.
Leading experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have stated that following preventive measures including wearing a face covering is fundamental in ending the crisis even when after a vaccine is launched.
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However, many people do not choose to wear a face mask and even perpetually advocate against it as they believe it can damage health. This includes not only normal people but also influencers and government officials from different countries.
Misinformation like this can worsen the pandemic as the transmission rates will further increase if people stop wearing masks. Lack of face-covering was one of the primary reasons why the number of cases rose tremendously in US states like Arizona a few weeks after lifting the lockdown in June.
This is why experts argue that conspiracy theories about the coronavirus need to end in order to control the pandemic. With the prevalence of false information, some people may not even choose to get a vaccine.