As our country opens its domestic and international borders, it seems like there may be light at the end of this very long Coronavirus tunnel. But many people also have questions. We are all trying to keep ourselves and our families safe, but sometimes it is hard to wade through the vast amounts of information on the internet to find the truth. Have you been scouring the web for covid information? Read on for some pointers below.
How can I find trustworthy information?
- Begin with a reliable source. Probably not your usual social media influencers – unless they have a PhD in infectious diseases.
- Look for more than one source of the information. If something is factual, you can expect more than one article to be reporting it.
- Be wary of articles which use emotional language. You need facts and reliable data, not someone on their personal soap box.
- Be careful of articles that generalise. Factual articles will use specific examples. Additionally, be wary of any article slandering entire companies or authorities.
- Check where the information is coming from. We can easily access data from all over the world which can be informative and interesting. But we shouldn’t automatically assume that what happened overseas is happening in Australia.
- Does your information source link to the actual studies? Or are they presenting facts without allowing you to check their sources?
- Do they stay on topic? Or are they using old information that’s only vaguely related to influence how you think about something or someone?
- Is it recent? The information about Covid is updating rapidly as we learn more. An article from March 2020 may have been accurate when it was written, but since then we have likely made further discoveries.
So where should I look?
Most questions I hear these days are around the Covid vaccines. If you are looking for reliable information a good place to start is the Australian Government Department of Health website. They have some great resources that are easy to read and fact sheets on each vaccine. You might also like to look at the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) webpage. There is a huge amount of information here and some of it is more technical. You can also learn about the vaccine approval process in Australia.
There are also still several other myths circulating surrounding Coronavirus in general. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have a helpful page recapping some of the most common ones. However, despite WHO being a reliable source, this article doesn’t provide any sources for their data! The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has a really wonderful page summarising the data available globally on mask wearing. It contains a very helpful discussion on well-researched trials of mask wearing and includes links to the studies which they use. Likewise, the TGA have a very helpful page on the use of high dose Vitamin C for Coronavirus and the lack of evidence to support its use.
As we all struggle to find the “new normal” we need to make sure we are well informed. Check the reliability of your website. Talk to your doctor. Or talk to your pharmacist.