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The pandemic-cum-infodemic

June 9, 2020

Dr. Petr Simeon Gajdos

We all live inside one big bubble, flooded by a tsunami of information. It is not solely the viral pandemic; we have to cope with an infodemic at the same time. Misinformation is spreading like a virus, not only from so-called trolls and bots, but also inadvertently by social media users. Unfortunately, such spreading of unverified information from unknown sources is being used by multiple interest groups, governments, and medical establishment groups to shape public opinion. 

The most influential people today are owners of information instead of factories, lands, or property. These people have been determining what information is valid and what to censor as falsehood. Social media platforms began censoring information during the pandemic, using hired "fact-checkers" with astounding zeal. They have been suppressing and eventually banning views on COVID-19 treatments that differ from that endorsed by the World Health Organization and certain influential people calling for global government. 

Merely raising the question about vaccine safety has resulted in censorship. The expert opinions and research articles of scientists and doctors are not spared from such unprecedented censorship. 

The message is apparent: we should not even hear a single voice of dissent. We should not have our ideas and rely on our reason, intuition, and ability to discern. We are told indirectly that the diversity and plurality of views and different perspectives should not exist, and that a conversation about burning issues has to cease. Those phenomena are evocative of the Spanish inquisition used as an engine of political and religious tyranny.

We are amidst a propaganda infodemic. We all have been victimized by disinformation at some point during the coronavirus pandemic. A black-and-white view of the world no longer suffices. Our capacity to integrate information and understand its message, as well as protect our psychological integrity, can be easily overwhelmed. 

The most powerful means to shape public opinion and justify political decisions is by taking advantage of the very human fear of death, another prominent feature of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though COVID-19 is not as deadly as it was believed to be at the start of the pandemic, the unduly overblown threat of death has been used to certain people's advantage, to the detriment of everyone else. 

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One comment on “The pandemic-cum-infodemic”

  1. This over-abundance of selected informations – some accurate and some not - on Coronavirus seem to illustrate our inability to fully understand the essence, the origin, of this virus which behaves like a " Chameleon".
    Martine Mercy

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