Experts highlight dangers of coronavirus misinformation

Ljubljana – The spread of coronavirus views and information that have not been verified by experts but have gained traction among the public poses a problem, said a group of medical experts on Tuesday, noting that doctors should aim to resolve any doubts about the novel virus among themselves.

Pavel Poredoš, the chairman of the Slovenian Medical Academy, part of the Slovenian Medical Association, highlighted the role of an individual in stemming the epidemic and of media in reporting verified information.

Experts are united in presenting evidence-based stances despite some uncertainties, said Poredoš at a press conference on reliable sources of coronavirus information amidst differing opinions.

Božidar Voljč, the chairman of the National Medical Ethics Committee, presented some of the ethics issues during the epidemic, such as ensuring productivity in healthcare without a risk to health workers or patients, noting that it was key to take care of not only Covid-19 patients but all patients in general.

“Many people would rather contain the virus in their own way,” said immunologist Alojz Ihan, noting that a lot of people tried to conceal their infections and acted as if they were not spreading the virus due to the inconvenience of quarantining.

“The epidemic has become uncontrollable,” he said, pointing to a lack of response by the Medical Chamber when it came to doctors’ spreading misinformation as well as to the impact of media on people’s selective heeding of anti-coronavirus measures.

Ihan has been responding to doctors’ queries regarding Covid-19 on the academy’s forum, explaining that there is no medical proof that flu vaccination worsens the course of the disease or increases risk of getting ill in the first place.

Zlatko Fras, director of the department of internal medicine at UKC Ljubljana, said that doctors should be facilitated to share and try to resolve any doubts about coronavirus with their peers, highlighting their responsibility in presenting their views in public appearances.