“In a pandemic, when you’re responding, information is power and if you can get the right information to people, they can take steps to protect themselves,” Murthy said.(AP file photo)
“In a pandemic, when you’re responding, information is power and if you can get the right information to people, they can take steps to protect themselves,” Murthy said.(AP file photo)

Beware of fake news on Covid: US surgeon general Vivek Murthy

“Misinformation is a virus itself, and it harms people, and it sometimes compels them to take actions that puts put them and other people at risk,” Murthy said in a virtual outreach to Indian-Americans on the dangers of misinformation as India battles its worst public health crisis.
By Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAY 18, 2021 07:22 AM IST

US surgeon general Vivek Murthy has some advice for Indian-Americans and Indians as they deal with the devastating second wave of Covid-19 cases and wait for that dreaded phone call - watch out for misinformation in what you read, say or forward on social media platforms.

“Misinformation is a virus itself, and it harms people, and it sometimes compels them to take actions that puts put them and other people at risk,” Murthy said in a virtual outreach to Indian-Americans on the dangers of misinformation as India battles its worst public health crisis.

“In a pandemic, when you’re responding, information is power and if you can get the right information to people, they can take steps to protect themselves,” Murthy said, adding that the government and the private sector can make all the vaccine and masks they want, but “they will be of no value if people don’t want to use them because of misinformation”.

The US and India have been hit hardest by Covid-19, with cases and deaths highest and second highest in the world, respectively. Murthy’s remarks were the first by a top US health official, who addressed the damage inflicted by misinformation on the response, especially by Americans, to the tragedy unfolding in India.

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