No, Ibuprofen doesn’t worsen the symptoms of Covid-19, and doing inhalations doesn’t stop you from becoming infected. These are just two of the fake news that has spread in the days of the coronavirus crisis.
Misinformation has found its ideal breeding ground in this crisis. Millions of people confined at home, threatened by an unknown virus. During the first days of confinement, instant messaging apps were buzzing non-stop. And of course, not all that was shared was true.
The website Maldito bulo has identified more than 331 fake news items referring to the COVID-19 outbreak. They define the fake news being shared as an epidemic and have called it an “infodemic”.
Drawing on the state of emergency, fake news is going viral, some of which are created on purpose to play with people’s feelings and generate more fear. Others simply offer information with no scientific evidence or that are inexact and lacking context.
Initiatives such as Maldito Bulo or StopFake.org are trying to strike down this fake news. Both these websites have created special dedicated tabs to the coronavirus to tear apart the fake news that resort to false methods to avoid the infection, that offer inexact figures or videos and images that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.
In Italy, a group of researchers has created an observatory to study the infodemic relating to the outbreak.