Only 52 physicians spread misinformation about COVID-19: Study

There are about 1.07 million physicians actively working in the U.S., KFF Health News reported in May, and a study published Aug. 15 in JAMA only found 52 who spread misinformation about COVID-19. 

"This was actually comforting to see that they didn't find more," Dominique Brossard, PhD, chair of the life sciences communication department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who was not part of the study but studies medical misinformation, told USA Today

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst evaluated COVID-19 information from active physicians spread on social media and news outlets between January 2021 and December 2022. 

Of the 52 physicians who spread misinformation, two were researchers and 50 were licensed to practice medicine across 28 different specialties. 

The most common misinformation spread was about COVID-19 vaccines being unsafe or ineffective, and other topics included promoting ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as treatments, disputing the benefit of masks and social distancing, and conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus.


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