The Office of the Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy, MD, has initiated an initiative to collect data and stories concerning COVID-19 disinformation. On Thursday, he issued a call for feedback from technology businesses, healthcare providers, and community groups, met with enthusiasm.
According to the call for information, the extent and effect of disinformation during the pandemic, especially in relation to people’s desire to seek medical attention and be vaccinated, are being investigated to better understand how widespread and harmful it is.
In an interview with CNN, Murthy said that “misinformation has dramatically influenced COVID-19 and our reaction.”
As he said, “Studies have shown that the great majority of the American public either accepts popular misconceptions about COVID-19 or believes that such misconceptions could be accurate.” “And many of them contain falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccination, so we’ve witnessed directly how misinformation is damaging people’s health when it comes to COVID.” “And many of those include myths about the COVID-19 vaccine,” says the researcher.
According to Murthy, health disinformation has produced uncertainty and has encouraged individuals to reject vaccinations, employ experimental therapies, and oppose public health measures like as masking and physical separation from infectious diseases. Workers in the health care, public health, and aviation sectors have also been targeted for harassment and violence as a result of the law.
It is the first time, according to CNN, that the Biden administration has requested that internet firms publicly provide specific data on their customers. This report provides specifics on the key sources of disinformation, the extent to which the issue has spread, and if certain groups of individuals have been targeted more often than others.
According to Murthy, the emphasis will be on technology businesses having the greatest reach in the United States. He wants firms to be more honest when it comes to sharing data with the public, and he believes they should.
He added, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of information they have to provide. “We’re going into this with an open mind,” says the team leader.
Murthy went on to say that many technological platforms have mentioned solutions that they are now attempting to implement, and his office is interested in seeing statistics on how well the ideas are functioning. The information might also be useful to public health experts who cannot collect data on COVID-19 disinformation because of restrictions imposed by technology corporations.
According to the request, Murthy’s office is collecting experiences from health care professionals, teachers, and families who have seen the consequences of health misinformation on their loved ones and communities due to their work. On the website surgeongeneral.gov/RFI, the public will provide comments and submit their proposals.
It is stated in the request that “this is a chance to have your voice heard, no matter who you are.” “There is no dataset that is too large, and there is no narrative that is too tiny.”
According to the Federal Register, the call for information will be made public on March 7 and will stay available until May 2.