A global epidemic of misinformation is proliferating and the fear induced by this has created pandemonium all around. The rapid spread of deceptive information through social media and other platforms is creating serious problems for public health. The fear of falling prey to Covid-19 is even more contagious than the disease itself. Constant stress impedes productive activities and can lead to severe problems such as heart disease and insufficient sleep. It is also undermining trust in government and global health organisations. Launch of WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) by WHO’s Risk Communication Team to disseminate relevant information with specific target groups highlights the intensity of fear generated by this misinformation.
We are aware of the ways to protect ourselves and prevent Covid-19 but instead of adopting such measures, we are indulged in discussing more and more about it and hampering our daily activities. Kristen Lee, an Associate Teaching Professor of Behavioural Sciences at Northeastern University suggests measures to counter this fear after encountering one such incident. She suggests being aware but the source of information should be authentic because sometimes rapid transmission of information can lead us to perceive problems far worse than they may be. She advises taking care of your health through various precautionary measures issued by WHO and live in the present because being mindful in times of uncertainty lessens the problem.
Thinking will not overcome fear but action will. Fear is inevitable but it can be countered. We are fortunate to be born in such a tech-savvy era where inventions and discoveries are a matter of a few seconds and treatment comes simultaneously with the disease. So, our efforts should be concentrated towards developing our immune to fight the disease through various measures ranging from as small as washing our hands for at least 20 seconds to covering your mouth while sneezing. Along with this, being mentally fit plays a key role because what we achieve inwardly shapes our outer reality.