Don’t be a ‘covidiot’: Navigating the world of coronavirus misinformation and ignorance

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A pandemic was declared. Italy is on lockdown, with more cases than China. Other countries are following suit. Governments everywhere are instituting measures to slow the spread. Everyone has been impacted. I can’t eat out, get library books, or even get a haircut.  Fortunately I can still write.

Supplement sales have increased. Idiocy abounds. In fact, a new word has been proposed, covidiot, referring to those who ignore social distancing protocols or who deprive others of needed supplies by hoarding and panic buying. Every day someone makes a new claim about another alleged remedy. I just read that an Indian politician was arrested for organizing a cow urine drinking party.

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Skeptics can evaluate new claims for themselves as they pop up. It’s easy enough to find out who is making the claim, what their track record is, and what evidence they have. We can ask whether anyone has spoken out in disagreement, and what the experts are saying. We know we should get our information from reliable sources like Dr. Anthony Fauci (who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease) and not from ignorant celebrities and politicians with an agenda. And it’s always wise to withhold judgment after initial favorable reports and wait for confirmation.

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