A former White House medical advisor said the uncoordinated US coronavirus response has led to people to ‘distrust the messenger,’ sparking rampant and dangerous misinformation

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Dr. Saralyn Mark, a former White House medical advisor, said the US response and politicization of the virus has contributed to rampant misinformation amid the ongoing pandemic — from unproven coronavirus “cures” to disagreements on wearing masks.
Mark, a physician who formerly advised the Office on Women’s Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, has worked in public health preparedness and engaged in every domestic health crisis since 1995.
She told Business Insider that cogent messages relayed at the onset of any outbreak are crucial, and they must be coordinated and consistent with facts to ensure the best reception.
“When that does not happen, the public will fill in the blanks with their own messages,” Mark said. “… Sometimes, they’re just basically incorrect, or sometimes, they’re completely denied, and you just ignore what’s there and go on and do your own thing, which can be equally dangerous.”
Mark said the polarization can be remedied, with “effective leadership to bring everyone together, honoring each other’s needs and their fears and their concerns,” she said.

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As the coronavirus pandemic stretches into its sixth month, the White House has still failed to come to a consensus on a proper response to the ongoing health crisis — from disagreements on unproven coronavirus “cures” to wearing a mask in public spaces.

Misinformation runs rampant through the country, as prominent figures have been touting unproven drugs to fight COVID-19, despite a lack of evidence. Some people also remain dubious of the benefits of wearing a mask to mitigate the spread of the virus against the recommendations of experts.

While a number of factors may have contributed to the polarized perspective of the coronavirus, a former senior White House medical advisor pinpoints the fault of disinformation on the uncoordinated US response.

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Dr. Saralyn Mark, a physician who formerly advised the Office on Women’s Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, has worked in public health preparedness and engaged in every domestic health crisis since 1995. She served under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

She told Business Insider that cogent messages relayed at the onset of any outbreak are crucial and that messengers — from health experts, medical workers at the front lines, political figures, and even members of the public — must be coordinated and consistent with facts to ensure the best reception.

“When that does not happen, the public will fill in the blanks with their own messages,” Mark said. “… Sometimes, they’re just basically incorrect, or sometimes, they’re completely denied and [the public] just ignores what’s there and goes on and do your own thing, which can be equally dangerous.”

She applied the dangers of uncoordinated messaging to the promotion of dubious coronavirus treatments, saying that, even as more information comes out disproving a certain drug, it won’t be easy to “infiltrate the public’s mindset that there are risks here.”

“The challenge we have here is when you come out and you’re touted as the miracle drug, of course, everyone wants to take it. …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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