President Trump was the single largest driver of misinformation about Covid-19 over the first months of the pandemic, according to a new study by Cornell University researchers.
The researchers analyzed more than 38 million articles about the pandemic published in English-language media around the world from the beginning of the year to May 26. They found that more than 1.1 million articles, or just under 3%, contained misinformation — and mentions of Trump accounted for nearly 38% of “the overall misinformation conversation” more than any other topic.
“We conclude that the President of the United States was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation ‘infodemic,’” the researchers write, applying the term that the World Health Organization has used for the widespread falsehoods circulating about the coronavirus pandemic.
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
Why it matters: Misinformation about the pandemic is “one of the major reasons” the United States is not doing as well as other countries in fighting the pandemic, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former principal deputy commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration, told The New York Times.