WHO says Covid misinformation is a major factor driving pandemic around the world

CNBC, PUBLISHED TUE, AUG 24 20213:38 PM EDTUPDATED TUE, AUG 24 20217:22 PM EDT

Rich Mendez @RICHMENDEZCNBC

  • WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove said Tuesday that misinformation about Covid and vaccines appears to have gotten worse and is keeping people from getting the shots, driving an increase in cases.
  • In July, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared Covid misinformation a “serious public threat.”
  • Most unvaccinated Americans think the Covid vaccines are more of a threat to their health than contracting the virus itself, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.
Maria Van Kerkhove, Head a.i. Emerging Diseases and Zoonosis at the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, January 29, 2020.

RT: Maria Van Kerkhove, Head a.i. Emerging Diseases and Zoonosis at the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, January 29, 2020.Denis Balibouse | Reuters

A top World Health Organization official said Tuesday that misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines is keeping people from getting the shots, driving an increase in cases around the world.

“In the last four weeks or so, the amount of misinformation that is out there seems to be getting worse, and I think that’s really confusing for the general public,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid, said during a Q&A livestreamed on the organization’s social media channels.

Misinformation has become another risk factor that is “really allowing the virus to thrive,” she said.

Public health leaders have blamed conspiracy theories and misinformation for growing distrust of the vaccines around the world — so much so that in July U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared Covid misinformation a “serious public threat.”

CNBC Health & Science

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