COVID has really brought into sharp focus the full extent of damage that health misinformation is doing. ... Every life that is lost to COVID-19 when we have vaccines available, is a preventable tragedy. — U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy
COVID has really brought into sharp focus the full extent of damage that health misinformation is doing. ... Every life that is lost to COVID-19 when we have vaccines available, is a preventable tragedy. — U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy
The U.S. Surgeon General Is Calling COVID-19 Misinformation An 'Urgent Threat'
With about a third of adults in the U.S. still completely unvaccinated, and cases of COVID-19 on the rise, the U.S. Surgeon General is calling for a war against "health misinformation."

On Thursday, Dr. Vivek Murthy is releasing the first Surgeon General's advisory of his time serving in the Biden administration, describing the "urgent threat" posed by the rise of false information around COVID-19 — one that continues to put "lives at risk" and prolong the pandemic.

Murthy says Americans must do their part to fight misinformation.

"COVID has really brought into sharp focus the full extent of damage that health misinformation is doing," Murthy told NPR in an exclusive interview ahead of the advisory's release. Surgeon General's advisories are reserved for significant public health challenges that demand immediate attention.

In some cases, he says, the simplest way to stop the spread is to not share something questionable you read online: "If you're not sure, not sharing is often the prudent thing to do."

The U.S. has dealt with misinformation around other public health crises, including decades of persistent rumors about HIV/AIDS, but Murthy says the coronavirus pandemic is underscoring just how problematic the false information and rumors related to health can be.

"Every life that is lost to COVID-19 when we have vaccines available, is a preventable tragedy," Murthy says.


Murthy hopes that drawing public attention to the harms of misinformation will lead more Americans to take action in their own lives, including through simple one-on-one conversations with friends and family who are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Rather than judging others, Murthy encourages people to listen to their concerns and come prepared with sources of good information to counteract the bad. Research shows that vaccine hesitant people are more likely to be open and listen to those they know. "These conversations are all driven by trust," he says.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/07/15/1016013826/the-u-s-surgeon-general-is-calling-covid-19-misinformation-an-urgent-threat