Video: COVID-19 Why it Matters, Part 10: Where can I find accurate information?

This video series features UW-Green Bay’s Immunologist Brian Merkel on COVID-19 and Why it Matters. This series empowers viewers with knowledge to help them navigate through the pandemic. Merkel has a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. He is an associate professor in UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology & Biology programs and has an appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He will be responding to a number of questions related to COVID19 and try to get behind the “why” it’s important to be educated in your decision-making as we navigate the pandemic together.

Video Transcript Part 10: Where can I find accurate information? 

Hi, I’m Brian Merkel, Immunologist at UW-Green Bay and we’re here to talk about why Covid-19 matters to you.

Another important question that I get quite often because people want to help, they want to make sense of their world, their environment, they want to understand challenges like Covid-19. So, the question related to all of that is, where do I find accurate information?

Oftentimes during this conversation the internet comes up and the reality with the internet is although there’s a wealth of information, not all of it is useful, not all of it is valid. So, the question becomes how do I wade through all of that?

It’s a matter of identifying scientific studies and using credible internet websites a Johns Hopkins University website, Mayo Clinic, in our region Brown County Health, our Wisconsin Department of Health Services also has an incredible website in terms of information related to Covid-19 specifically. There is an opportunity to participate in something called confirmation bias. Let’s say, for example, I have some idea that Covid-19 was created by aliens. If you actually go to the internet any search engine and type in Covid-19 and aliens, it will confirm your belief. You’re going to find hits on the internet and information on the internet that confirms, that’s the confirmation bias, what your beliefs are.

Inaccurate information can be spread very quickly through social media and that creates challenges, as well. So, you’ve got the internet, we have to realize there’s good but we also have to realize there’s the potential pitfalls of the internet and if we don’t embrace those realities it becomes very difficult to deal with challenges like Covid-19. Because Covid-19 doesn’t care how we’re behaving, good, bad, or indifferent, it is what it is.

But it is a global problem and it’s a challenging problem and we don’t want to make matters worse because of the things that we’re doing.

COVID-19 Why it Matters Video Series:

Introduction with Brian Merkel

Part 1: What are viruses and where did this one come from

Part 2: Two main types of viruses Part 3: Why is this virus serious?

Part 4: Why wash hands/wear mask?

Part 5: I’m young! Why should I care?

Part 6: Can pandemics be stopped before they start?

Part 7: Pandemic is not local, why wear a mask?

Part 8: Why does everyone need a flu shot this year?

Part 9: What is the science behind a vaccine?

Part 10: Where can I find accurate information?

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