June 2021 – The Infodemic

This is the eighth in our CHLNet COVID Corner series. Previous issues have underscored effective communications as a sine qua non (i.e., essential piece) of successful leadership at any time, but especially during COVID. As the third wave rolls over most of Canada, we are all seeing how the internet and social media can be used as an essential part of any leader’s toolbox for getting good, science-based information out to Canadians in a timely and effective way. That said, the internet can be and is also being used to spread malicious misinformation or ‘mal-information’1. Everyone is an “instant expert”, often cherry-picking data to suit their own beliefs to speak with authority. The danger is it can fuel contrary ideas leading to vaccine hesitancy and to undermining key public health messaging around social distancing, masking indoors and avoiding congregate settings.