Although it seems like most people are reasonably well agreed on the seriousness of the spread of COVID-19 and our responsibility to ensure that we are doing what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones, there is a lot of confusion out there as to what the latest status of it is, and various claims with a wide range of levels of validity to them.
So, how do you cut through the noise and learn what you need to know about the pandemic?
Stay Tuned Into Updates Relevant to You
First of all, it should be noted that a lot of people are getting whipped up into more of a frenzy about the virus than they should. Most people do not need to know the day-to-day developments of what the virus is doing and what scientists and authorities think the approach is to stop it. Instead, you want to make sure you’re more keenly informed on how to keep your family safe, precautions to follow, and restrictions that might affect your life. There’s nothing wrong with being well informed, especially if you’re worried that you have been hearing false information. But if staying connected to the latest news is stressing you out, try to scale it back to what matters most to you.
Find Informed Sources
You have to consider both the motives and the credentials of those that you’re getting your information from, as well. For instance, while the news on the TV might keep you reliably informed as to the overall gist of what the latest developments are, they aren’t going to be able to correctly and confidently inform you on the latest developments within the medical community. Instead, you need to look for publications and blogs from experts like Jesse Lyle Bootman who can take their education and experience to translate complex subjects in a way that laypeople are better able to understand. Even amongst experts, they should also be responsible enough to inform you of the difference between telling facts and conjecture.
Don’t Get Your News From Social Media
As helpful as it can be for disseminating information, social media has also become a hotbed of misinformation, with a lot of even otherwise reasonable people getting caught up in their own confirmation bias, sharing only news that agrees with their worldview. This piece by Erin Simpson and Adam Conner details at length how much of the ongoing infighting about COVID-19 has spawned largely from misinformation and disinformation on the internet. As such, if you read a headline that concerns you on social media, you should take the time to verify where the information is coming and know whether it’s being reported as a fact or if it is on a less firm basis.
If you’re going to get swept up in news about the coronavirus, make sure that you’re at least looking at reputable sources, and try not to worry about information that isn’t directly applicable to you. Avoid getting caught up in being overly concerned if you can.