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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 31-37

COVID-19 infodemic: Unveiling the root causes through public perspectives

Department of Community Medicine, JSS Medical College, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jose Jom Thomas
Department of Community Medicine, JSS Medical College, Mysore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_94_20

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INTRODUCTION: The novel coronavirus pandemic raises great concern due to its spread and collateral effects on the society. Nearly 30,000 cases are reported from India by the beginning of May 2020. The current pandemic is associated with a sudden surge of false information termed as infodemic. This study attempts to understand the root causes of COVID-19 infodemic. METHODS: This cross-sectional online study was conducted from April 20, 2020, to April 30, 2020, to collect information on the possible causes of COVID-19 infodemic. A fishbone diagram was developed from the data through iterative process to illustrate the root causes of the infodemic. RESULTS: The total of 179 people responded to the online survey. Among them, 99 were health-care professionals and 75 were representatives of the general public. The mean age of the respondents was 28.93 ± 9.99 years. The root causes for the COVID-19 infodemic were classified into five domains, namely, social media-associated causes, behavioral aspects, the novelty of the virus and related challenges, causes due to lacunae in policies and health systems, and difficulties in the verification of information. CONCLUSION: A comprehensive action plan has to be developed to contain the infodemic through adequate education of all stakeholders, warnings and legal actions, improvements in policy and health systems. The authorities should brainstorm to design activities that contain the spread of false information through social media at the origin itself.

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