I don’t know about you but I have not lived through a period we are living through now. It is not just the uncertainty but also just a negative cloud that seems to be hanging around everything since the COVID-19 pandemic was announced by the World Health Organization on 31 December 2019. People are dying, people are losing their jobs, businesses shutting down, and generally not much seems to be going well.
Take South Africa just today. The country is now among the top 10 in the world as far as COVID-19 positive cases go. As if that is not enough, Statistics South Africa released the unemployment numbers and the country is now sitting at 39,7% unemployment. This is for the first quarter of 2020 before the lockdown started in March!
Having said that, there have been some good news. Also today, there were some good news. The University of the Witwatersrand announced that it is starting with the country’s first COVID-19 vaccine trial.
However, it is not only the pandemic we have to fight, we have the added burden of having to fight fake news around the pandemic. Known as the “infodemic” given its threat to real life and possibly leading to damaged property or even loss of life, it basically is fake news related to COVID-19.
I generally dismiss fake news, and as previously stated in an issue of this newsletter, the best way to kill fake news is to not engage it. However, when it starts becoming a life and death matter, I guess it is time to start finding ways to stop it.
Among such dangerous fake news and fuelling the infodemic is a popular pastor in Nigeria encouraging thousands of his followers not to wear masks. In the same sermon, he talks about how IoT (Internet of Things), 5G, and COVID-19 are all linked to a New World Order looking to control humans. At first I laughed while watching but then given how attentive the congregants were and how it spilled over onto social media, I realized this is dangerous.
Apart from not engaging fake news and fact-checking, how do you think we can stop this infodemic?
Quote of the day
“This is a landmark moment for South Africa and Africa at this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we enter winter in South Africa and pressure increases on public hospitals, now more than ever we need a vaccine to prevent infection by COVID-19.” (Tweet this)
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