Home / US / Why are Americans so confused about Covid-19? Blame Trump, the Cornell study says

Why are Americans so confused about Covid-19? Blame Trump, the Cornell study says



Covid-19 has spread from China, but much of the “infodemic” comes from the White House.

According to a new Cornell University study, President Donald Trump is the world’s largest disinformation diviner about the coronavirus.

Nearly 38 percent of the “disinformation conversation” started with Trump doing things like promoting unproven “miracle cures” for Covid-19 or claiming with zero evidence that the pandemic was a “Democratic Party hoax” derailing his presidency, researchers from the Cornell Alliance for Science found.

Talking like this is dangerous, alliance director Sarah Evanega said.

“We were interested in exploring this issue because the World Health Organization identified Covid disinformation, which it dubbed an ̵

6;infodemic’, as a serious concern in the fight against the pandemic,” he said. “If people are misled by unscientific and unfounded claims about the disease, they may be less likely to follow official guidelines and thus risk spreading the disease.”


In other coronavirus developments:

  • Cruise ships will not be able to sail in U.S. waters for at least another month, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Nearly 3,700 confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 on cruise ships in the United States have been reported to the CDC since March 1, and at least 41 people have died, the agency said.

  • Some 837,000 people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week as the pandemic-battered US economy continued to struggle. The unemployment rate was 4.8% when Trump took office in January 2017. It is now 8.4%.

  • Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced that he will not extend his mandate to wear the mask even though his state has the fourth highest rate of new infections in the country at 17.8%, according to the Johns Coronavirus Research Center. Hopkins University. “We shouldn’t use the government’s heavy hand any more than is justified,” Reeves said.
  • Hospitals in parts of Wisconsin where the number of coronavirus cases has recently increased are running out of patient beds. In Green Bay, where Trump is expected to hold an election rally on Saturday, Bellin Hospital already had 94 percent capacity. Wisconsin is now the state with the third highest rate of new infections at 21.14 percent, according to Johns Hopkins.
  • White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Trump has no plans to cancel the Green Bay rally, although the Wisconsin governor has urged the president to reconsider. “Yes, so the president believes that people have a first amendment right to political speech,” McEnany said. “He is organizing a demonstration. People can choose whether to come or not.
  • Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican who garnered bipartisan praise for aggressively attacking the pandemic, reported that for the first time in 187 days the state had “zero new deaths from Covid-19.”
  • A Pennsylvania federal appeals court has said that Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, can resume enforcing meeting size limits while appealing an earlier lower court ruling by a Trump-appointed federal judge who rejected statewide crowd size limits and other measures to stop the virus from spreading.

The Cornell study, released Thursday, appears to be the first comprehensive look at pandemic disinformation in the media, and the researchers reached their conclusions after using a content aggregator to analyze 38 million Covid-19 articles from English-language outlets in Worldwide.

They found that Trump generated major misinformation “spikes” when he talked about the use of bleach to treat Covid-19 or when he advocated unproven treatments like hydroxychloroquine.

Trump’s false claim about the pandemic created by the “deep state” to install a “new world order” has also been a great driver of disinformation. So was the president’s promotion of conspiracy theories that Covid-19 was a biological weapon that was “intentionally or accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.”

Much of Trump’s false information about Covid-19 was dispensed with during his press briefings on the coronavirus, which he dropped out in April after his advisors warned they were hurting his poll numbers. He called those briefings “very successful” while touting large numbers of viewers.

Evanega said the media was partly to blame for spreading Trump’s false claims about Covid-19.

“Unintentionally or unintentionally, the media play an important role in spreading misinformation because they amplify the voices of important people, even if those sources are incorrect,” Evanega said.

NBC News has been checking Trump since the start of the pandemic, including in July, when the president held his first Covid-19 press conference in months. He regularly exaggerated his administration’s response to the crisis that has now killed 208,208 people in the United States and created the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

There has been no immediate response to the White House study, but Trump has generally dismissed any criticism as “fake news”.

The study wasn’t the first time Trump was accused of spreading false information about the pandemic and lying to the American public about the full extent of the coronavirus crisis.

According to a recently published book, Trump was filmed telling reporter Bob Woodward in February that Covid-19 was “deadly stuff,” but then went on to downplay the danger in public statements and politicized the use of masks. refusing months to wear one in public.

Trump also continues to insist that his administration has done a “phenomenal job”, even as the United States leads the world in the number of deaths and infections from Covid-19 (7,270,398), according to the latest tally. by NBC News.


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