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Friday, 23 July 2021

U.S. Surgeon General fights COVID misinformation

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U.S. Surgeon General fights COVID misinformation
U.S. Surgeon General fights COVID misinformation

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy raised the alarm on Thursday over a growing wave of misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines that threatens efforts to quell the pandemic.

This report produced by Jillian Kitchener.

“Today we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation's health.” An urgent message from U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Thursday, who took to the White House briefing room to tackle a rise in misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines.

"Lives are depending on it.” Murthy on Thursday issued his first advisory as the nation's top doctor under President Joe Biden… urging tech companies to tweak their algorithms to further demote false information, and raise the volume of credible voices on social media platforms. "They've designed product features such as like buttons that reward us for sharing emotionally charged content, not accurate content.

And their algorithms tend to give us more of what we click on, pulling us deeper and deeper into a well of misinformation." (flash) "The problem right now is it the voices of these credible health professionals are getting drowned out.

And that's one of the reasons we are asking technology companies to help lift up the voices of credible health authorities...” This heightened push comes as COVID-19 infections rise across the country… with the highest increases in areas with vaccination rates of less than 40%.

Some fear that misinformation is unnecessarily prolonging the pandemic and costing lives.

Murthy urged Americans not to spread questionable information online.

"NOT sharing is caring, unlike what many of our moms taught us earlier in life…" The White House is focused on tipping the scale… especially for younger adults who are getting vaccinated at much lower rates than older people… inviting pop star Olivia Rodrigo to the White House Wednesday to promote vaccinations.

The Delta variant, which health officials say is now in every U.S. state, is more easily transmitted than earlier versions of COVID and may cause more severe disease, especially among younger people.

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