Fighting the Covid-19 myths



Pediatricians battle more than just this pandemic

Fighting the Covid-19 myths

There’s never a good time for a pandemic, but social media, conspiracy theories, and rising distrust of science make 2020 particularly ill-suited.

Why? 

Because the very physician whose job consists not only of healing, but also prevention, must expend valuable energy contending with parents who have been effectively misled to not fear the virus, or they’re terrified beyond reason of Covid-19 vaccines, and the great outdoors. Writing for the New York Times, pediatrician Dr. Perri Klass, along with some fellow medical professionals, shares common myths, how and why they’re untrue, and where they come from.

Dr. Klass even cops to temporarily allowing herself to believe some claims: “I would be lying if I told you that I’m completely immune to Covid-19 scare stories, or never drawn to quick fixes and miracle cures — at least for a moment of worry or a moment of hope, till my brain takes over again.”

Like me, you’ve no doubt heard anti-masking claims. 

The idea that masks are 1) harmful, 2) useless, or 3) a plot by the “powers that be” to see who can be “controlled. Or you know someone who is either secretly or outwardly anti-mask. 

Or you know someone who, like a prominent local in my town, dismisses Covid-19 as a mere flu. 

Or maybe you’ve heard mouthwash users are less likely to get it, or that the vaccines down the pike are not to be trusted, or even that isolating children is bad for their immune systems. 

I have heard all of the above, or more likely, read it on social media.

READ MORE: Flu shots more crucial than ever, docs say

Much of what the doctors in Dr. Klass’s article deal with is related to vaccines, both existing and yet-to-come. Interestingly, and worryingly, even parents who have no history of expressing mistrust over the existing flu vaccine, for instance, are now unsure. The mistrust sown in the Age of Covid-19 spills over to other areas.

On dealing with questions from parents about what is and isn’t true about vaccines, Dr. Klass’s peer Dr. Nusheen Ameenuddin, a community pediatrician at the Mayo Clinic and the chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics council on communications and media, says, “When parents have heard stories that scare them about vaccines, doctors shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they are ‘anti-vaccine.’ Many are saying, ‘I want you to help me, not to treat me like an idiot or treat me like I’m stupid, I want you to take my concerns seriously’.”

Dr. Navasaria stresses: “All of this is happening out of a deep concern for the well-being of children — that is what this is all about, whether we’re talking about immunizations or school reopening, we need to start by keeping that in mind or our explanations won’t succeed.”



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