By Abdulmalik Sugow, Beatrice Mungai and Jentrix Wanyama
Prelude: This blog post discusses misinformation in light of the recent threat posed to the world by COVID-19. It is not lost on us that widespread sensitization and a joint effort at combating the spread of the virus is crucial to our survival. To that end, kindly find accurate, up to date information about the virus here and here. We wish all our readers good health in this time of uncertainty.
In the wake of a pandemic, credible and accurate information serves as a lifeline, helping to ‘flatten the curve’ as some have termed attempts to stem the spread of disease. In recent months, the world has been combating the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the latest strand of the long existing coronavirus. At the same time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been fighting what it has termed an ‘infodemic’ i.e., ‘an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.’
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The very next day, Kenya reported its first case. Since then, social media has been a flurry of information (both accurate and wildly inaccurate) regarding the spread of the disease in Kenya. Initially, there was little communication from the Ministry of Health and the Government Spokesman about the disease, and Kenya’s plans to mitigate its spread. Meanwhile, Kenyans took to social media using hashtags such as #coronaviruske to discuss the matter and many speculations were made as to the potential outcome of the spread of COVID-19.Continue reading