COVID and T-Rump Time — ‘A Great Human Tragedy’

December 4, 2020

Although it didn’t really need a scientific study to reveal this, but it does help — certain media consumption habits predict some Americans’ level of knowledge about COVID-19 and how to handle the pandemic.
Not anything new, though — via PsyPost yesterday:

Relying on web news sources, in contrast, was associated with a reduced tendency to endorse misinformation, such as believing that COVID-19 has a similar mortality rate as the flu or believing that COVID-19 is a manmade virus.

When it came to specific news sources, the researchers found that people who regularly used Fox News, Twitter, or Facebook tended to endorse more misinformation, have increased prejudice and reduced knowledge compared to those who didn’t regularly use these sources.
On the other hand, those who reported regularly using NPR or the New York Times tended to endorse less misinformation, have increased knowledge and reduced prejudice.

The study — “The Role of News Consumption and Trust in Public Health Leadership in Shaping COVID-19 Knowledge and Prejudice“ — was published in October in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

In a much-related topic of COVID vaccines, a survey by the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveals ‘vaccine hesitancy‘ can fuck-up the employment of vaccines to stop the spread of the virus. And once again, social media suckers people — per The Conversation, also yesterday:

recent survey shows that a substantial proportion of people may refuse or delay taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s important to understand why.

Social media has spread a lot of anti-vaccination misinformation over the last 20 years.
We recently evaluated the effect of social media on vaccine hesitancy globally.

We saw that in countries where social media is used to organise offline action, more people tend to believe that vaccinations are unsafe.
We also found that foreign disinformation campaigns online are associated with both a drop in vaccination coverage over time and an increase in negative discussion of vaccines on social media.

Delays and refusals of vaccination for COVID-19 — or any other vaccine-preventable disease — would prevent communities from reaching thresholds of coverage necessary for herd immunity.
Community transmission of COVID-19 would continue, keeping the pandemic alive.

Not only misinformation, but dying in reality:

In summation, the way-rare Republican (besides state-level election officials) Mitt Romney spoke right yesterday in calling the T-Rump a monster — so many words:

“This hasn’t been the focus of his rhetoric, apparently, and I think it’s a great human tragedy, without question,” Romney, 73, told CNN.
“The extraordinary loss of life is heartbreaking, and in some respects, unnecessary. Not in all respects, but we’ve relaxed our standards as individuals.”

He continued, “From Washington, we have not had a constant, consistent plan and plea for people to wear masks, to social distance, to take all the measures that would reduce the spread of this disease. It’s unfortunate that this became a political issue.”

“This is public health,” Romney said Thursday.
“And unfortunately, we have not made that message clear enough to the American people, and people are dying because of it.”

So we’re now on the countdown: 46 days, 15 hours, 36 minutes to Joe making us smile…

(Illustration: Salvador Dali’s ‘Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion,’ found here)

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