(Easing) lockdown measures, a human and societal challenge: focus on the impact of the COVID-19 “infodemic” in French-speaking Belgium

Bernard Hanseeuw, Louise-Amélie Cougnon, Alexandre Heeren, Nathan Gurnet, Grégoire Lits Published in the journal : May 2020 Category : Société

Summary :

Managing the health crisis we are facing goes far beyond managing the coronavirus epidemic. The lockdown measures implemented in response to the virus propagation have resulted in broad medical and societal impacts. In addition to the epidemic, an “infodemic” has been generated and is now spreading. For most individuals, this enormous and incessant flow of true and false information is difficult to manage. Moreover, academic physicians now occupy the media space, a situation they are not familiar with. In an academic effort to draw the attention of the Belgian government and experts to the central role of social sciences and humanities in getting out of the crisis, a neurologist has partnered with media sociologists as well as a psychologist specialized in anxiety disorders to better understand the impact of (mis-)information on people’s behavior, with a particular focus on the differences that exist between the general public and health professionals.

Key Words

Social sciences, journalism, infodemic, anxiety, memory