Recently, the United States Surgeon General released a brochure that warned against allegedly misleading graphs and memes in an effort to eliminate “misinformation” regarding public health matters.
Dr. Vivek Murthy proclaimed that combatting misinformation on public health matters “is more important than ever” so that families are able to access “accurate, science-based information,” particularly since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use authorization in children aged 5-11.
“The good news is that we all have the power to stop the spread of health misinformation during this pandemic and beyond,” Murthy declared, adding that the “toolkit” he provided will ostensibly “provide Americans with resources to help limit … this threat to public health.”
The toolkit, otherwise known as the Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation, includes a checklist for alleged misinformation. For instance, the checklist includes various recommendations for how individuals should communicate with their friends and family about public health matters, as well as a list of the most common types of misinformation. Additionally, the list also features various reflections from individuals who have been subjected to misinformation.
According to the press release, misinformation regarding COVID has purportedly “threatened the U.S. response to COVID-19 and [continued] to prevent Americans from [receiving vaccinations].”
As a result, unvaccinated Americans have contributed to “prolonging the pandemic and putting lives at risk,” the press release observed.
The toolkit also focuses strongly on ostensibly fake websites, doctored videos, and various memes, which are all accused of using “cherry picked statistics.” According to the toolkit, the statements that may arise from the memes, videos, and websites may not be totally fake, though they could apparently “lack context.”
In addition, the toolkit also provides other recommendations for individuals, including the recommendation to not share any kind of health information online until they confirm that their information aligns with the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals may also verify their information with a credible source or a health care professional.
“If you’re not sure, don’t share,” the toolkit commands.