COVID“Tell us the truth”

QUICK READ: According to the Times 89% of all media stories on COVID have been negative. While less tan 5% of people who get COVID will require hospitalization both Democrats and Republicans believe that number is a lot higher. The simple reason why there are so many scare headlines around COVID is that they lead to traffic which means higher ad revenue for publishers. It’s time to seek the truth rather than rely on sensational media stories.

That rag of misinformation, the NY Post, had a headline that read “person dies one day after receiving J&J vaccine”. This type of irresponsible headline could lead to widespread panic and more people refusing to get vaccinated despite the fact that we don’t know why this patient passed away.

You have a better chance of getting struck by lightening than getting a blood clot from the J&J vaccine yet the media continues to fan the flames of misinformation rather than focus on facts like 78% of people who have been hospitalized, needed a ventilator or died from Covid-19 have been overweight or obese.

Health care professionals are flocking to social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, to make sure people understand the truth regarding their health, but pharma is silent. Online health misinformation is a widespread problem, with false or misleading information about both longstanding health concerns like cancer and emergent situations like the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the internet at a rapid pace.

According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 93 million Americans—8% of internet users search for health information online. The phrase “health misinformationTrusted Source” refers to any health-related claim under the assumption of truth that is false based on current scientific consensus. It is a relatively new catchphrase gaining momentum as more people become active on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

There are credible websites that health information, but a better approach is needed. Government sites are about as user-friendly as barbed wire and often hard to read. Political division in our country has led to a high level of mistrust of the government and mainstream news sites. While pharma websites seem credible, my research has shown that online health seekers often seek to validate claims on product websites.

It may be that we’re afraid that reporting the truth around COVID will lead to more cases, but the fact remains we have left it up to people to find the truth. We’re still ignoring the truth around obesity and COVID, yet the store that as clinicians develop care plans for COVID-19 patients, they should consider the risk for severe outcomes in patients with higher BMIs, especially for those with severe obesity” according to the CDC.

Breakthrough cases of COVID among vaccinated people are less than .0007%, yet anti-vaxxers still spread misinformation. When Ivanka Trump got vaccinated, MAGA supporters called her a traitor largely because of her father’s misinformation when he was in the White House.

John Lennon wrote “just give me some truth”. That is valid today when it comes to COVID more than ever.