Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Infodemic: How an Epidemic of Misinformation Could Lead to a High Number of the Novel Corona Virus Disease Cases in Uganda

Version 1 : Received: 1 June 2020 / Approved: 3 June 2020 / Online: 3 June 2020 (05:16:33 CEST)

How to cite: Nannyonga, B.K.; Wanyenze, R.K.; Kaleebu, P.; Ssenkusu, J.M.; Sengooba, F.; Lutalo, T.; Kirungi, W.; Makumbi, F.E.; Kyobe Bosa, H.; Ssembatya, V.A.; Mwebesa, H.; Atwine, D.; Aceng, J.R.; Tegegn Woldermariam, Y. Infodemic: How an Epidemic of Misinformation Could Lead to a High Number of the Novel Corona Virus Disease Cases in Uganda. Preprints 2020, 2020060009 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0009.v1). Nannyonga, B.K.; Wanyenze, R.K.; Kaleebu, P.; Ssenkusu, J.M.; Sengooba, F.; Lutalo, T.; Kirungi, W.; Makumbi, F.E.; Kyobe Bosa, H.; Ssembatya, V.A.; Mwebesa, H.; Atwine, D.; Aceng, J.R.; Tegegn Woldermariam, Y. Infodemic: How an Epidemic of Misinformation Could Lead to a High Number of the Novel Corona Virus Disease Cases in Uganda. Preprints 2020, 2020060009 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0009.v1).

Abstract

Misinformation during the COVID-19 outbreak has shaped our perception of the disease. Some people thinkthe disease is a bioweapon while others are convinced that it is a hoax. Heightened anxiety often producesfearful rumors, some of which are absurd while others seem plausible and are laced with some truths. But, how does misinformation affect disease spread? In this paper, we construct a mathematical model parameterized by Ugandan data, to study the effect of misinformation on community COVID-19 spread. The analysis shows that misinformation leads to high number of COVID-19 cases in a community, and the effect is highest in the rumour initiators and spreaders. This analysis underscores the importance of addressing misinformation in COVID risk communication.

Subject Areas

infodemic; misinformation; COVID-19

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