Novel coronavirus (123) Debunking fake information about COVID-19 (3) Health Professionals Fight Against COVID-19 Myths, Misinformation

14 March, 2020

Subject: Clinical Governance - Public Engagement Pillar - COVID19 Health Professionals Fight Against COVID-19 Myths, Misinformation

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): Extract below. Full text here: ]

Health Professionals Fight Against COVID-19 Myths, Misinformation

Randy Dotinga March 12, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Misinformation about the COVID-19 travels faster than the virus and complicates the job of doctors who are treating those infected and responding to concerns of their other patients.

An array of myths springing up around this disease can be found on the Internet. The main themes appear to be false narratives about the origin of the virus, the size of the outbreak in the United States and in other countries, the availability of cures and treatments, and ways to prevent infection.

Widespread misinformation hampers public health efforts to control the disease outbreak, confuses the public, and requires medical professionals to spend time refuting myths and re-educating patients.

A group of infectious disease experts became so alarmed by the misinformation trend they published a statement in The Lancet decrying the spread of false statements being circulated by some media outlets. "The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation ... Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus," wrote Charles H. Calisher, PhD, of Colorado State University, Fort Collins, and colleagues.

What Can Physicians Do to Counter Misinformation?

Pulmonologist and critical care physician Cedric "Jamie" Rutland, MD, who practices in Riverside, Calif., sees misinformation about the novel coronavirus every day at home and on the job. His patients worry that everyone who gets infected will die or end up in the ICU. His neighbors ask him to pilfer surgical masks to protect them from the false notion that Chinese people in their community posed some kind of COVID-19 risk.

As he pondered how to counter myths with facts, Dr. Rutland turned to an unusual resource: His 7-year-old daughter Amelia. He explained to her how COVID-19 works and found that she could easily understand the basics. Now, Dr. Rutland draws upon the lessons from chats with his daughter as he explains COVID-19 to his patient audience on his YouTube channel "Medicine Deconstructed." [...]

Joseph Ana.


@Health Resources International (HRI) WA.

National Implementing Organisation: 12-Pillar Clinical Governance

National Standards and Quality Monitor and Assessor

National Implementing Organisation: PACK Nigeria Programme for PHC

Publisher: Medical and Health Journals; Books and Periodicals.

Nigeria: 8 Amaku Street, State Housing & 20 Eta Agbor Road, Calabar.

Tel: +234 (0) 8063600642

Website: email: ;

HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Community Health Workers.

Email: jneana AT