The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. And while it is, by nature, a health issue, it’s also becoming a social issue as well. A lot of this has to do with how information is spread about the virus. Granted, a novel coronavirus means that we have to do a lot of our learning as time goes on, but misinformation has become a pandemic of its own. In some cases, this is early misunderstandings becoming popular knowledge. In others, fires are being fanned for financial and political gain. With that being said, what are some of the main areas of misinformation, and how do we combat this issue while staying safe?
Turning The Corner On Testing
One of the major areas where misinformation is circling is testing. We know that widespread testing is our best way to combat the spread of the virus. However, logistical and financial barriers are making this impossible, for now. Other methods have arisen to try and help, but many people are treating this as a true substitute when it’s nothing close. Temperature checks are a good example of this issue.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease physician, has now become a household name. He has already gone on the record stating that temperature checks are essentially useless for COVID screening. While they can detect people that have had a fever, not all COVID-infected people have this symptom. In addition, this doesn’t account for asymptomatic spread, one of the biggest threats.
As of right now, our best option is a combination of self-assessment and reporting symptoms/exposure, as well as quarantining appropriately. Luckily, we are getting some breakthroughs in regard to the rapid testing that we will ultimately need to better track and combat viral spread.
Ensuring Safe Behavior
Now, we start to get into the issues that are happening in every corner of the country, like what to do with citizens that are not interested in adhering to the basic rules like wearing PPE, socially distancing, and self-reporting.
If we look at the example of other countries, some governments are taking draconian measures to ensure compliance, as well as a punitive action against violators. The fact of the matter is that our country is simply not run in that way, so forcing contact tracing, wearing a mask, or even taking a vaccine is off the table. Measures like having people who refuse to cooperate also forfeit their medical treatment is also an impossibility.
This means that there is a balancing act between personal choice and social responsibility, which integrates individual, governmental, and public health measures to pull off successfully. What’s the best option to take right now? Education is our key tool for preventing misinformation.
We can also learn about the examples from other lessons, like creating a smoking-free zone or the decriminalization of certain drugs. Education for the sake of social responsibility allows us to stay safe while not having to resort to forceful actions. The longer this information is available, the more people that will comply, giving us more time to target and act on habitual violators.
Right now, different businesses and local governments alike are struggling with how to balance the need to preserve public health with a desire to allow freedom of personal choice. Right now, options that allow for increased social responsibility are the best options we have, at least until rapid testing is readily available. In order to manage this, you want to have all the tools in place to make self-attestation easier. This starts by using COVID-PreCheck. Visit covidprecheck.net or use it from the COVID PreCheck app.
How exactly do you utilize this to your benefit? In, say, a workplace or place of business, you could ask employees, customers, and other visitors to perform a self-assessment and showcase the results with their custom QR code. This can also apply for people who do a rapid test or lab test and get a negative result. For now, as we combat the flood of misinformation, our best option is simply being honest with each other, and using self-attestation and the tools we have at our disposal is one of the best options.