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Does The U.S. Need A National Strategy To Combat Public Health Misinformation And The Growing 'Anti-Science' Movement?

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More than 31.2 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus and 561,000 have died, there are still people out there who believe conspiracy theories that the pandemic is a hoax or a political ploy.

Studies show that people don't like when science contradicts their deeply held beliefs. On top of that, many people are misinformed due to lack of access to correct or comprehensible information about public health threats, or aren't able to critically evaluate online content to determine its authenticity.

How has the propagation of mis/disinformation affected outcomes of the COVID-19 crisis? How dangerous is this growing trend?

How could the continued rejection of mainstream science and medicine impact response efforts in future public health emergencies?

What can be done to combat the "anti-science" movement and rise of false or misleading information?

Does the U.S. need a national strategy to address the spread and consequences of public health misinformation?


  • Tara Kirk Sell, Ph.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; lead author of a recent report about strategies to combat mis/disinformation related to public health threats
  • Emily Vraga, Ph.D., Don and Carole Larson Professor in Health Communication at the University of Minnesota

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, April 12.

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