Aug 01, 2020 Volume 396 Number 10247 p291-360, e12
The truth is out there, somewhere
The tidal wave of information on the internet concerning the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in difficulties in discerning truth from fiction. This so-called infodemic, defined by WHO as an “overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it harder for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when needed”, has become a major threat to public health. Infection rates will rise if people are confused about restrictions and patients may be harmed if they use unproven treatments or bogus remedies.
An urgent call for action to gauge, map, and develop a means of combating this problem was explored at a WHO-organised conference held across April, June, and July. The meeting, which focused on so-called infodemiology—the science behind managing infodemics—brought together experts from a range of disciplines, including epidemiology, public health, applied mathematics, and data science…