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Tue May 12, 2020, 09:27 AM

Pseudoscience and COVID-19 -- we've had enough already

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01266-z

The scientific community must take up cudgels in the battle against bunk.

Cow urine, bleach and cocaine have all been recommended as COVID-19 cures — all guff. The pandemic has been cast as a leaked bioweapon, a byproduct of 5G wireless technology and a political hoax — all poppycock. And countless wellness gurus and alternative-medicine practitioners have pushed unproven potions, pills and practices as ways to ‘boost’ the immune system.

Thankfully, this explosion of misinformation — or, as the World Health Organization has called it, the “infodemic” — has triggered an army of fact-checkers and debunkers. Regulators have taken aggressive steps to hold marketers of unproven therapies to account. Funders are supporting researchers (myself included) to explore how best to counter the spread of COVID-19 claptrap.

I have studied the spread and impact of health misinformation for decades, and have never seen the topic being taken as seriously as it is right now. Perhaps that is because of the scale of the crisis and the ubiquity of the nonsensical misinformation, including advice from some very prominent politicians. If this pro-science response is to endure, all scientists — not just a few of us — must stand up for quality information.

Here are two places to start.

First, we must stop tolerating and legitimizing health pseudoscience, especially at universities and health-care institutions. Many bogus COVID-19 therapies have been embraced by integrative health centres at leading universities and hospitals. If a respected institution, such as the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, offers reiki — a science-free practice that involves using your hands, without even touching the patient, to balance the “vital life force energy that flows through all living things” — is it any surprise that some people will think that the technique could boost their immune systems and make them less susceptible to the virus? A similar argument can be made about public-health providers in Canada and the United Kingdom: by offering homeopathy, they de facto encourage the idea that this scientifically implausible remedy can work against COVID-19. These are just a few of myriad examples.

In my home country of Canada, regulators are currently cracking down on providers such as chiropractors, naturopaths, herbalists and holistic healers who are marketing products against COVID-19. But the idea that a spinal adjustment, intravenous vitamin therapy or homeopathy could fend off an infectious disease was nonsense before the pandemic.





Sid

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Reply Pseudoscience and COVID-19 -- we've had enough already (Original post)
SidDithers May 2020 OP
ismnotwasm May 2020 #1
Pacifist Patriot May 2020 #2
Hugin May 2020 #3

Response to SidDithers (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 09:32 AM

1. K&R

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Response to SidDithers (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 09:37 AM

2. The Cleveland Clinic offers reiki?!?

Holy crap.

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Response to SidDithers (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 10:04 AM

3. Number 1 on the woo science hit list should be the concept of "Herd Immunity"...

The concept is not only racist to it's very core, due to the nature of the class of virus it's a false promise.

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