The COVID-19 pandemic is the worst health crisis humanity faces currently and the US has been the worst-hit nation by the deadly virus. With more than 200,000 deaths and millions of infections, the United States is in deep grip of the virus, struggling to make its way out. But it hasn't been easy for Americans to understand the virus as they were constantly met with challenges of confidently-put-out misinformation.
US President Donald Trump has been going back and forth on his statements about the COVID-19, which he constantly refers to as the "China Virus" despite people's reservations against it. But labeling the virus to the country where it originated is not the extent of his propaganda. In the process, Trump shared a lot of misinformation that flabbergasted health experts and left millions of Americans confused. Now, there's a study that confirms it.
Trump - 'world's biggest spreader of coronavirus misinformation'
Cornell University published a study on Thursday, which is a comprehensive look at the pandemic misinformation in the media. The researchers analyzed 38 million COVID-19 articles from English-language news outlets around the world. And they concluded that the United States President drove the biggest misinformation spikes ever since the pandemic broke.
Wonder why? There are many instances when IBTimes had to fact-check Trump's statements about COVID-19 and some were outright ridiculous. For instance, Trump literally led to a shortage of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine by declaring it a 'game-changer' in March. A month later, he suggested injecting a disinfectant such as bleach inside the body could kill the virus. But those were just the tip of an iceberg that is Trump's "miracle cures." They accounted for more misinformation than the other 10 topics combined, said the researchers.
The researchers pointed out an example of when Trump suggested using UV light to kill COVID-19 on April 23, the very next day, there were 30,000 articles in the "miracle cures" category - a 300 percent spike, which was single-handedly driven by Trump. The researchers found more than 295,000 articles involving miracle cures.
In case you're wondering of the consequences, the study said when people are misled with false information about the nature and treatment of COVID-19, they are less likely to follow the advice of medical experts and health officials based on scientific evidence. This leads to the spread of the virus, which then adds to the death toll.