In their research, scientists widely use the term “infodemic” (from the words “information” and “epidemic”), which was first used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to refer to the wave of rumors, usually misinforming, about the coronavirus in the information space.
“We found that media mentions of the name of US President Donald Trump in the context of misinformation about COIVID-19 were the largest part of the “infodemic.” Mentions of Trump cover 37.9% of all misinforming discussions, which is ahead (in terms of frequency of mentions) of any other topics (related to the pandemic). We concluded that the US President was, it seems, locomotive “of infodemic,” – stated in the study of researchers.
In their study, the researchers reviewed more than 38 million English-language articles about the coronavirus published from January 1 to May 26.
The researchers identified 11 topics where information about the COVID-19 pandemic was distorted and recorded 522,472 cases of “infodemic” in the English-language media. It is noted that 423,921 materials with deliberately false information about the coronavirus are articles with Trump’s statements. The most popular topic was “miracle cures” for coronavirus (295,351 mentions in English-language media). According to a study by scientists, the most massive spike in media mentions of these drugs was provoked by Trump’s words during briefings about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine.
The cases of coronavirus “infodemic” also include topics such as accusations against the US Democratic Party about possible benefits for them from the pandemic, the connection of disease outbreaks with 5G towers, the role of Bill Gates, and others.