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Infodemic: The other face of epidemics (COVID-19)

Open Access Government – “Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, Global Infectious Hazards Preparedness Department at the World Health Organization, explains how COVID-19 is accompanied by an infodemic  – Since the beginning of the outbreak a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 1.5 million deaths and more than 63 million confirmed cases have been reported worldwide. As announced last February by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, these already terrible times are accompanied by another multifaceted phenomenon. Indeed, stressing that fake news circulates faster than the virus itself and is just as dangerous, he declared: “We are not just fighting an epidemic; we are fighting an infodemic”.

Defined as a tsunami of information — some accurate, some not —that spreads alongside a disease outbreak, the infodemic is not a new occurrence. In fact, it has already been identified during the yellow fever, meningitis, and Ebola outbreaks to name a few. Nonetheless, what took the form of rumours in the past has now reached another scale, which has amplified its negative impact on the health of populations…”

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