President Biden, US Surgeon General, local doctor warn against COVID-19 misinformation

They say it has contributed heavily to vaccine hesitancy and avoidable deaths.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy spoke out Thursday against COVID-19 misinformation.
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - President Joe Biden and the U.S. Surgeon General are speaking out against misinformation about COVID-19, saying it is a big part of why we are still living in a pandemic.

“They’re killing people,” said Biden Friday when asked about platforms like Facebook that can spread misinformation.

“The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people.”

In a news briefing Thursday, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said misinformation has been a driving factor of vaccine hesitancy.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation has led people to resist wearing masks in high-risk settings. It’s led them to turn down proven treatments and to choose not to get vaccinated. This has led to avoidable illnesses and deaths,” said Murthy.

Dr. Paul Bolin, the chair of internal medicine at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, said the vaccine is our strongest defense against COVID-19, but echoes the fact that fear of the vaccine may be increased by misinformation.

“I think there’s...embellishment of the risk of the vaccine,” he said.

Murthy said look out for misinformation that can be in many forms.

“The misinformation that we’re seeing comes from multiple sources. Yes, there is disinformation that is coming from bad actors. But much of the misinformation...is coming [from people] who don’t have bad intentions but are unintentionally sharing information that they think might be helpful.”

Experts suggest checking your sources before you believe or share a piece of information about COVID-19.

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