As evidence accumulates that facemasks work to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19, new myths have arisen claiming that, not only do facemasks not work, but that they are actively harmful. These myths have no basis in physiology or chemistry, but that hasn't stopped anti-mask activists from using them to claim protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Antivaxxers launch a preemptive disinformation war against a COVID-19 vaccine that doesn’t yet exist
We don't yet have a vaccine against COVID-19, but that hasn't stopped the antivaccine movement from launching a preemptive disinformation war on social media against it. Unfortunately, as a recent study demonstrates, on Facebook at least, they have been so successful that it is possible that antivaccine messaging will surpass pro-vaccine messaging on FB within a decade.
NewsGuard has identified "super-spreaders" of COVID-19 misinformation on Facebook and Twitter, including Dr. Joseph Mercola, the NVIC, Rush Limbaugh, and Ty Bollinger.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned almost innumerable conspiracy theories, and conspiracists like the antivaccine movement have joined forces with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists. To combat the proliferation of pseudoscience rooted in conspiracy theories, it is useful to step back and examine the nature of conspiracy theories, including ones that are not medical, even ones like QAnon. Critical thinking is the key to inoculating...
Judy Mikovits is a disgraced scientist who published a paper claiming that a retrovirus called XMRV causes chronic fatigue syndrome, results that other investigators were unable to replicate. Since then, she's been a regular on the antivaccine circuit, but now she's been reborn as a "Fire Fauci" COVID-19 conspiracy theorist. Sadly, it worked. Her book is #1 on Amazon.
The COVID-19 pandemic will almost certainly wind up being by far the worst pandemic we have experienced in a century. Given a huge pandemic with tragic death tolls, it's not surprising that conspiracy theories are popping up. Here, we look at two of the most common kinds of COVID-19 conspiracy theories. One blames 5G. The other blames—of course!—the flu vaccine.
Denial of the benefits of chemotherapy is very prevalent in "natural health" movements. This denial is based on fear mongering, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories and thus shares many similarities with the antivaccine movement. How can the misinformation spread by "chemo truthers" be countered on social media?
Pseudoscience, denialism, fake news, and disinformation about health are a bigger problem than ever, thanks to social media. As doctors and scientists join lay defenders of science on social media, will they be willing to pay the price in terms of harassment? Or will they decide it's not worth the hassle? And what about our fellow docs who think that it's beneath...