The American people are being lied to about the coronavirus

America should have press freedom. It should have openness. Those are the values I’ve always admired about the USA.

So it pains me to say this. The USA should be more forthright about coronavirus information. It should tell the the truth. Instead, President Trump has created an environment where misinformation thrives.

Instead of affirming the WHO’s report that the global coronavirus fatality rate is 3.4%, Trump disputed those claims and said deaths are much lower. Trump went on to say that the coronavirus is “very mild,” implying that those affected should just carry on an go to work.

Trump is a symptom with everything wrong with the US government’s response. It’s clear to me that the coronavirus has caught the American government with its pants down. What’s worse, Trump is only one aspect of this health crisis failure.

When a renowned health institution such as the CDC botches its coronavirus testing, it is very troubling. The USA is being neither proactive nor transparent about accurate coronavirus information. What happens when the government bungles information?

It has created a misinformation hellscape on social media. Conspiracy theories are running amok. Some Americans are dismissing the coronavirus as an attempt by President Trump’s opponents to compromise his presidency.

The cost of this misinformation is a windfall of exploitation and bad advice. On Facebook and WhatsApp, ads for “miracle cures” are being peddled. Many social media posts inaccurately insist that garlic, salt water, and tea will get rid of the coronavirus.

Governments should fight misinformation, not spread it. As this pandemic spreads, people are going to die. This isn’t panic; this is letting people know the true stakes.

Misinformation on social media thrives when people lack trust in the institutions that are meant to protect us. If governments won’t fight misinformation, I will! This is why my team and I are building Peer.