Coronavirus (528) Misinformation through misrepresentation

30 April, 2020

A particularly malignant form of misinformation is that which falsely uses the name(s) of leading scientists and institutions.

The extracts below are from the Snopes website. 'As governments fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Snopes is fighting an “infodemic” of rumors and misinformation...' Read in full here: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nobel-laureate-tasuku-honjo-covid/

In April 2020, for instance, a lengthy text message started to circulate on Facebook and WhatsApp that supposedly included a quote from Nobel laureate Dr. Tasuku Honjo in which he ostensibly said that COVID-19 was “invented” at a lab in Wuhan, China:

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"It’s as damning an indictment as it could be stretched to. China is accused of inventing the Coronavirus in its Wuhan laboratory with whatever intent that might have prompted the venture.

A Nobel laureate Japanese academician, Dr. Tasuku Honjo (pictured below), who had shared a 2018 Nobel prize for his outstanding works in the study of immunology, had revealed the reasons for blaming China for inventing the deadly virus that had already infected, maimed and killed millions across the globe..."

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On April 27, 2020, Honjo published a statement saying that he was “greatly saddened” that his name, and the name of Kyoto University, have been used to spread misinformation.

"In the wake of the pain, economic loss, and unprecedented global suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am greatly saddened that my name and that of Kyoto University have been used to spread false accusations and misinformation."

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org