Fighting panic with information

Fighting Panic With Information

EDITORIAL| VOLUME 395, ISSUE 10224, P537, FEBRUARY 22, 2020

In the recent Lancet editorial, “COVID-19: fighting panic with information” depicts a swiftly evolving crisis around the world littered with problems relating to stigma, misinformation, and China’s silencing of dissenting opinion; of those who would speak out about the virus beyond official channels. Issues relating to classification of the COVID-19 infection in humans has caused widespread concern and doubt. Many experts suggest we are in the early stages of a pandemic with relation to COVID-19, but addressing the Munich Security Conference on Feb 15, 2020, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added, “we’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic” as the editorial expresses concern over the rapid dissemination of potential misinformation via 24 hour news streams and social media. The first confirmed case in Africa (Egypt) is concerning as weak primary health-care systems could undermine preparedness. There may be no way to prevent a COVID-19 pandemic in this globalised time, but verified information is the most effective prevention against the disease of panic.