The COVID-19 pandemic vs Post-Truth

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


Conspiracy theories constitute a growing challenge to tackling COVID-19. Alongside the global spread of the pandemic itself, spurious allegations of hoaxes, cures and secret cabals circumnavigate the global information commons, poisoning debate, eroding community consensus and paralysing policymaking. Conspiratorial assertions challenging the severity of the virus, the need for mitigation efforts, and the motives of state and public health communities have moved from the dark corners of the Internet to Facebook page pages and even elected officials. These narratives undermine public health messages and measures. By eroding trust in institutions and creating confusion over facts, conspiracy theories styme collective action and cooperation. Specifically, these conspiracy narratives not only compromise mitigation efforts such as masks and lockdowns, but the associated groups also attempt to overturn these public health mandates for others. Overall conspiracy theory groups threaten to derail current public health mitigation mandates as well as future vaccination efforts, with longer term impacts around the politization of scientific organisations and personnel. When violence is rationalized to achieve these objectives, conspiracy theory groups can endanger both health security and national security.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherGlobal Health Security Network
Commissioning bodyGlobal Health Security Network
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


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