It's been almost a year since the coronavirus broke out in China. Our lives have really changed during the pandemic but we humans are pretty good at adapting. While the deadly disease is still claiming many lives worldwide, Pfizer and BioNTech have announced the first 'milestone' vaccine which can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid. They hope to be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of this year, and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
Until then, the vast majority of people continue being vulnerable to a coronavirus infection and it is only the restrictions on our lives that are preventing more of us from dying. However, some nutbags still can't understand the severity of the situation. What's even more incredible, they use the Internet to broadcast their absurd thoughts. Covid is just flu, they say, masks won't help.
Luckily, someone usually responds to these folks with facts and logic. Continue scrolling and check out some of the best covidiot takedowns to date.
A poll by YouGov and the Economist in March 2020 found 13% of Americans believed the Covid-19 crisis was a hoax, while a whopping 49% thought the epidemic might be man-made. And while you might hope that greater brainpower or education would help us to tell fact from fiction, it's relatively easy to find examples of many educated people falling for this false information.
Take the writer Kelly Brogan, a prominent Covid-19 conspiracy theorist, for example. She has a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studied psychiatry at Cornell University. That's quite a resume. Yet she has shunned clear evidence of the virus's danger in countries like China and Italy. If that's not enough, she even questioned the basic tenets of germ theory while endorsing pseudoscientific ideas.
Of course, it simply isn't true. General practitioner, medical researcher, and founder of PrimeHealth Clinical Research, Iris Gorfinkel, M.D., told Bored Panda it's important to remember that Covid is not just a flu. "It's not actually just a respiratory illness, it needs to be understood as a multi-system disease," Gorfinkel said. "So once it's inhaled, goes into the nose, it can damage the nerves right off the bat, so people can lose their sense of smell and taste. And that can actually last for months. The virus can [also] be swallowed. 20% of individuals present with gastrointestinal symptoms as their first clue that something is wrong. Yes, it can cause a runny nose, sore throat and cough, fever, and headaches. But we also know that it can cause significant hematologic problems, including the risk for stroke, that goes up significantly. And we've heard about Covid toes happening. That's not just in children, it can happen in adults as well. It's a pro-inflammatory disease, it's a disease that causes an increase in stroke risk."
Science writer David Robson thinks these gaps in our collective knowledge of the disease could be due to information overload. The media bombards the public with news regarding the pandemic all day, every day, and we therefore often rely on our intuition to decide whether something is accurate or not. "Purveyors of fake news can make their message feel 'truthy' through a few simple tricks, which discourages us from applying our critical thinking skills—such as checking the veracity of its source. As the authors of one paper put it: 'When thoughts flow smoothly, people nod along.'"
According to Robson, the route organizations could take in order to open the eyes of these confused individuals is simple: they should present the facts as simply as possible. Preferably, with images, graphs, and other aids that make the ideas easier to digest. These campaigns should avoid repeating the myths themselves. "The repetition makes the idea feel more familiar, which could increase perceptions of truthiness," Robson said. "That's not always possible, of course. But campaigns can at least try to make the true facts more prominent and more memorable than the myths, so they are more likely to stick in people’s minds. (It is for this reason that I’ve given as little information as possible about the hoax theories in this article.)"
Gorfinkel agrees with this line of thinking. "Instead of calling [out] misinformation, try to give ... good information and fill in the gaps in people's knowledge."