Vivek Murthy goes personal, revealing that he lost 10 family members while speaking about COVID-19 misinformation
"Amid all of this information, many people are also exposed to health misinformation: information that, based on the best knowledge available, is false, inaccurate or misleading at this point in time, public health measures such as masking and physical distancing and the use of unproven treatments," reads the Recommendation.
Murthy's advice comes when he revealed during a briefing at the White House Thursday that he had lost at least 10 family members to the coronavirus. That made his plea for vaccination even more personal and heartfelt. He said it was "painful" to know that "almost every death we see now" in the country could potentially have been prevented with vaccines.
"I say this as someone who lost 10 family members to Covid-19 and wishes every day that he had the opportunity to get vaccinated," Murthy said NBC news. He added about that two-thirds of those who haven't been vaccinated in the country have heard common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine to some extent. Request data from the Kaiser Family Foundation supports this statement; According to the survey, two-thirds of unvaccinated adults either believe vaccination myths or are unsure whether they are true.
"We sometimes have to recognize that the most trusted voices are not the ones who have the most followers on social media or who have the most name recognition," Murthy said of the influence of social media in spreading misinformation. "Any life lost to COVID-19 when we have vaccines available is a preventable tragedy."
Murthy hopes his advice and attention given to harmful misinformation about the virus will lead more Americans to get vaccinated and actively spread false information. Not only did Murthy's advice call on how everyday Americans can stop the rise in misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine, but it also called on big tech companies to play a role on their platforms.
"We ask them to strengthen themselves," said Murthy. "We can't wait any longer for them to take aggressive action."
"Tech companies actually have a much better sense of how much misinformation is being traded on their platforms, and without understanding the full extent of it … it's difficult to formulate the most effective strategies," he said.
Murthy isn't the only one asking Big Tech to do more. White House press secretary Jen Psaki also called on Facebook, noting that the platform needed to do more to stop the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
“Facebook has to go faster to remove hurtful posts. Posts that fall under their guidelines often stay active for days. That is to long. The information is spreading too quickly, ”said Psaki on Thursday.
A source familiar with the problem said CNN that the recent meetings between Facebook and the Biden government have been "tense". According to the source, Biden officials concluded that the company was not taking the problem seriously. Several people well known in the anti-vaccine community have been banned from Instagram, which Facebook owns, but not Facebook itself.
It seems like the US is taking a step back in its progress. Several announcements have been made regarding COVID-19 outbreaks, including the New York Yankees' cancellation of a game due to positive testing from players and the reinforcement of Los Angeles County, California Mask compulsory for indoor use.
According to this report, more than 34.8 million people in the United States have contracted COVID-19 and over 600,000 have died from it. WorldOMeter reported.
"Misinformation has not only harmed our physical health – it has also divided our families, friends and communities," said Murthy's advisor. "The only way to combat health misinformation is to recognize that we all have a responsibility to act in every sector of society."