How to Sort Out Coronavirus Myths and Facts 

Only 28% of Americans Can Fact Check on Coronavirus Confidently 

There are a lot of coronavirus myths and facts circulating in the news and on the internet. But telling the difference is not always as easy as it should be. Knowing what is and what isn’t scientifically helpful or dangerous can be crucial for businesses working to get back to work—and staying open–following social distancing quarantines.

According to new findings from The Pew Research Centeronly 28 percent of Americans—fewer than three out of 10 peoplesaid that they are very confident they can effectively fact check information on coronavirus.  

Pew conducted its research from April 20 to 26 by surveying 10,139 adults who are part of the Center’s American Trends Panel. Iwe apply that statistic to the entire populations of the country, only 92 million American are very confident they can distinguish coronavirus facts from fiction.

That leave 236 million people who are not very confident about what’s true and what’s not. 

Pew found that overall, 49 percent of people expressed some confidencewhich is good. But the poll also showed that 22 percent said they have little to no confidence in verifying coronavirus information.

Most PR crises can be avoided by making good decisions before the problem ever happens. 

We know from our experience supporting companies with the coronavirus business impact that it is crucial to understand COVID19 symptoms, as well as proper coronavirus treatment and prevention, so that employees and customers can be protected when they return to operation.

Our team of coronavirus response experts recommends the following key steps to sorting through the reams of informationMost PR crises can be avoided by making good decisions before the problem ever happens.

Coronavirus Tips:

  • Follow Trusted Health Organizations: There are several well-respected research and scientific organizations across the globe that are sharing incredibly important and helpful information. It is important to determine if your information if coming from one of these agencies see our COVID-19 Response Page to see websites our experts recommend, such as: 
  • Read Legitimate News Sources: Just because it is on the internet doesn’t make it wrong. And just because it is on television doesn’t make it right. Generally, large news organizations with resources and history have more to lose than fly-by night start-ups and anonymous bloggers. Trusts professional journalism that has a track record of telling the truth and be skeptical about those that tend to skew towards an agenda.
  • Separate Opinion from News: A lot of people confuse the opinion pages of a newspaper with the straight news reporting of the publicationThese are two different things. Most large news outlets strive to maintain strong journalist ethics based on objectivity. While it is important to recognize that reporters and editors are people too, and have their own opinions, they also live by a code upon which their reputation rests. Plus, many  “hard news” reporters are among the most informed experts in the field, with decades of experience following a given subject, and can provide valuable insight and analysis unlike any other.
  • Doublecheck Information: If you want to feel really confident that what you are reading is accurate, compare news from two or three different outlets. Trust but verify, right? If USA Today and CNN are both saying the same thing, there’s a better chance the information is reliable. But remember, the news outlets are often relaying news from a first-hand source, and that’s still the best place to get information.
  • Verify Sources on Social Media: This could be the hardest part – verifying information from a Facebook post or checking the source of a graph in a Twitter is essential. Even if social media giants started posting editorial warnings, there’s still a need for critical analysis. While social media can be a good measure of public perception, it is also highly susceptible to mob mentality. And that’s not a great place from which to make key business choices.
  • Use a Third-Party SourceThe way we do this is at Xenophon Strategies is by working closely with worldclass experts in epidemiology, infectious disease modeling, and important public health issues. We go right to first-hand sources for their expertise on the latest up-to-date information. Our experts review the latest health and medical information and translate it to needs of our clients 

 

For additional informationresources and facts regarding the latest on coronavirus, please visit Xenophon’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Team webpage at: https://xenophonstrategies.com/covid-19-response.

Getting Back to Work is an ongoing series on health and safety regarding COVID-19 from Xenophon Strategies, in partnership with Dr. David Hamer, a professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine with more than 30 years of experience in epidemiological diseases. Through the partnership Xenophon is working with Dr. Hamer to provide science-based recommendations and guidance on how employers, employees, and families should best respond to and combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

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