New study names Eastern Ontario as COVID-19 misinformation hotspot

TORONTO —A research study released by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) found that six per cent of Ontarians are involved with spreading misinformation online about the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which, OMA says, are residents of Eastern Ontario between the ages of 55 and 64.

Men and women in the age group were almost equally involved in sharing misinformation and the research found many posters had been accessing right-leaning websites and U.S. political blogs. In fact, twenty-six per cent of the posts shared came from one UK-based website. Men were more likely to share conspiracy theories about the government using the pandemic to further its own interests, while women were more focused on why COVID-19 vaccines are to be feared. This new information is cause for concern among medical professionals, as new cases of the virus surge once more.

“This new data demonstrates this ongoing issue of misinformation needs to be addressed in every community and demographic group,” said OMA President, Dr Samantha Hill. “The best antidote is to provide clear, consistently high quality, factual information. Ontario’s doctors have been combatting COVID misinformation throughout the pandemic, and these new insights make us even more committed to providing evidence-based facts to stamp down the misinformation on social media.”

“We encourage everyone to seek facts from credible sources like doctors,” said OMA CEO Allan O’Dette. “It’s only by separating the facts from the fiction that we will make sound decisions that will protect us, our loved ones, and our communities.”

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