Viewpoint: Lack of trust in science on GMOs, vaccines and climate change fuels coronavirus misinformation

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What is driving the novel coronavirus infodemic? Fear, uncertainty and opportunistic marketing are all playing a role. But it is also a legacy of our growing distrust of science, experts and health-care institutions.

The issue of trust is complex and health-care providers and scientists are still relatively respected voices. But there is no doubt that even a modest increase in suspicion toward these key institutions can help fuel the spread of harmful misinformation. Indeed, any lack of trust in science, public-health officials and health-care institutions will make it more difficult to combat both the outbreak and the spread of misinformation ….

This breakdown in trust is happening at a terrible time. But it shouldn’t be a surprise. Fermenting distrust has become the go-to strategy for selling health products, generating clicks and getting elected.


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The science communication battles surrounding topics such as genetically modified organisms, climate change, organic food, raw milk, fluoride and vaccines all contain messaging that encourages a distrust of science, experts and government officials. You can’t believe the science, the opponents and deniers will say, because the science and the experts are corrupted and not to believed.

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