COVID-19: A pandemic or an infodemic ?

After creating havoc around the world, coronavirus has caused a massive amount of rumors as well. Especially in parts of the world like Nepal.  It took no time to cause massive panic created through online hoaxes and misinformation.

Let’s start with mainstream media. The majority of mainstream media seem to cause clickbait through misleading titles about corona creating a panic buzz in readers. When main news sources start to publish news without a proper dig in things like the ‘Birgunj Case’ emerge. Media giants such as News24 and Repulica had their own version of faults in this scenario. The news about a businessman in birgunj getting infected by the virus caused a panic which was completely unnecessary. It just doesn’t stop there as we scratched on our last blog some misinformation about government hiding cases also emerged into action. People who tried to spread these rumors regarding patients dying in Norvic Hospital and IOM did get arrested though. Recently some media sources also reported that the girl who came from Italy was cured and sent back home which was certainly untrue. These clickbait titles lead up to increasing a media house’s TRP which is very insensitive to take advantage of a situation like that.

Not only hoaxes and fake information, but also the rumors regarding prevention and cure for COVID-19 has created various misbeliefs such as putting charcoal on your skin will help you prevent coronavirus which people actually tried. This type of misinformation causes more trouble than it may seem. Some lunatics also kept spreading rumors such as Nepalese are immune to the virus. This just leads ignorance to flourish and hampers the situation. As the WHO is trying its best to keep people updated on any new findings regarding the prevention, believing other rumors is only going to lead into a debacle.

The situation that we are in requires us to think how we can stay calm and composed to deal with the fear and panic it is causing. So, this situation should be judged as concern rather than panic.

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