Bleach injections and tanning beds as treatments. The false link between 5G and COVID-19. This onslaught of bullshit claims and quackery around COVID-19 is an "infodemic," as the World Health Organization says. In the science journal Nature, University of Alberta law professor Timothy Caulfield, the Canada research chair in health law and policy, explains why "all scientists — not just a few of us — must stand up for quality information." From Nature:
There is some evidence that alternative treatments and placebo effects can relieve distress — a common justification for tolerating unproven alternative treatments. But it's inappropriate to deceive people (even for their benefit) with magical thinking, and it is inappropriate for scientists to let such misinformation go unremarked.
Second, more researchers should become active participants in the public fight against misinformation. Those pushing unproven ideas use the language of real science — a phenomenon I call 'scienceploitation' — to legitimize their products. It is, alas, all too effective. Homeopathy and energy therapies, proponents argue, depend on quantum physics. Colonic hydrotherapy is justified using phrases borrowed from microbiome studies. And the language of stem-cell research is used to promote a spray claiming to have immune-boosting properties.
We need physicists, microbiologists, immunologists, gastroenterologists and all scientists from relevant disciplines to provide simple and shareable content explaining why this hijacking of real research is inaccurate and scientifically dishonest.