3 Ways to Stay Informed During the Coronavirus Pandemic
3 Ways to Stay Informed During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Simple Remedies for an Infodemic by Krista Paniagua (April 20, 2020)


We’re living in unprecedented times with yet unknown consequences for our economy, education systems, and healthcare infrastructure, and U.S. residents’ mental and physical health. How are you feeling about the novel coronavirus pandemic? Panicked, prepared, overwhelmed, apathetic? 


“We know that every outbreak will be accompanied by a kind of tsunami of information, but also within this information you always have misinformation, rumors, etc. We know that even in the Middle Ages there was this phenomenon,” said Sylvie Briand, director of Infectious Hazards Management at World Health Organization's Health Emergencies as told to The Lancet.


Unsurprisingly, if you’re confused about updates and news surrounding COVID-19, you’re not alone. With quarantine and social distance protocols varying widely from state to state, uncertainty is the new normal. No matter your source - an early morning scan of what’s trending on Twitter, push notification from Google News, or a quick swipe through the daily press conference live via Facebook - each second we’re inundated with data. That constant state of information overdrive is known as an “infodemic” as coined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 


Amidst the chaos, how do you sort through the clutter? How can you be sure what measures to take to properly protect yourself and your family? How can you arm yourself with facts to make the best decisions possible?


Accurate information is paramount. According to this PR News article by Gil Bashe, global health managing partner at Finn Partners, consider the three T’s when you’re seeking and sharing information: “be transparent, truthful and timely.” Here are some ways to equip yourself with facts and quell your fears. 


  1. Start with two trusted sources 

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recently launched the INFOdemic RX campaign. It offers simple advice many of us tend to forget during uncertain times. They recommend focusing on facts and not hearsay when viewing news and online stories. The CDC and WHO websites are reputable sources for accurate and up-to-date information. Unsure about a source? Fight fake news by verifying the content at Citefull. Submit the URL on homepage for an instant rating of a questionable story.  


2.              Break out of the incessant news cycle

To combat crisis fatigue, it’s important to periodically take breaks from constant updates. Stay informed, but allow yourself time to focus on your favorite other daily activities like a 60-minute workout, brief meditation, or simply getting some fresh air.  


3.              Stay connected with friends, family and loved ones

Help others during the coronavirus by volunteering your time and talent, or sharing supplies with your family and neighbors if you can. Though we’re separated to limit the spread of the virus, that doesn’t mean you can’t drop off meals or basic needs for people who can’t leave the house. Try to connect over the phone or video chats as much as you can to bridge any distance. Check in on each other and take care of one another.


As Regina Borsellino writes in The Muse blog:


“When the world is freaking out, it’s more important than ever that we reach out, connect, and take care of one another.”


Be safe, be well and be informed.


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Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

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