As a physician, you are likely currently treating patients daily who are fearful, confused, or simply interested in the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Being a healthcare professional, you are viewed as an expert in the field of medicine, and as such, are probably facing a barrage of questions about COVID-19 and its symptoms, treatments, and any possible cures.
Even more so, you are likely engaging in conversation with individuals who are interested in the origin of the virus. While the truth of the novel coronavirus’s origins is still being researched, a simple search online offers a variety of answers for hungry viewers:
- The virus originated from a secret bio-weapon lab in Wuhan, China.
- Anti-government, deep-state antagonists partnered with pharmaceutical companies to unleash the virus to cause mayhem for political gain.
- COVID-19 is a hoax perpetrated to lead the world to a new one-world order.
- 5G cell phone service towers are creating COVID-19 symptoms.
Beyond the origins of the coronavirus, many individuals are sharing false and misleading information regarding unproven cures and treatments based on unproven research. As a physician, you are likely to encounter a variety of conspiracy theories that arise from places of desperation and denial as to the seriousness of the current global health situation.
At Apollo, we want to offer physicians a list of ways to quickly spot conspiracy theories (of all kinds) and ways to engage with patients that are positive and helpful to community health.
How You Can Spot A Conspiracy Theory, & How To Respond
The world is stressed out and anxious – and with that fear comes an inherent desire to make sense of the unknown. Often, conspiracy theories gain traction as seemingly viable answers to justify current events. The desire to have an answer and a way to move forward in crisis can easily overpower common sense, and lead individuals to believe unproven information from non-trustworthy sources. Here are a few common ways to spot a conspiracy theory quickly:
- Correlation Equals Causation: In this case, the proof of the conspiracy is based on a connection of events that may simply be a coincidence. Without offering proper proof of any connection, the events are automatically connected in a step-by-step manner overseen by a “shadowy figure.”
- Unbelievable Series Of Circumstances: The most likely answer is probably the right one. If the series of events would take a once-in-a-lifetime set of circumstances to pull off without anyone realizing (other than the one posing the conspiracy) its unlikely that it is true.
- A Scheme To Take Over The World: Most conspiracies are born from one’s dissatisfaction with the current state of world affairs and governmental rule. In many theories, there is a “deep state” plot to take over the world by unknown evil entities who appear to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. These entities often disagree with the believer’s views on societal issues and are therefor villanized.
- Disregard Of All Governmental & Healthcare Guidance: Current conspiracy theories based on the novel coronavirus deem all leading voices as inaccurate or deceptive. Deep distrust of institutions has bred a view that everything you hear from healthcare or government officials is a lie to perpetuate a grand scheme to deny rights to citizens.
- Unwilling To Debate Others: Finally, a common denominator to most conspiracy theories is an unwillingness to converse with those who disagree with the theory. This blocking of all other views as wrong is a sure sign that the theorist is only seeking a priori confirming evidence for their view.
Serving The Public In The Midst Of Conspiracy
As seen above, there are many reasons why individuals flock to conspiracy theories. They offer an answer during uncertainty, and someone or something to blame for the suffering occurring. When working with patients, it is important that physicians seek to serve the physical and mental health of everyone – whether they believe in a conspiracy or not. With patience and understanding, healthcare professionals can better see the world through their patient’s eyes, and begin to understand why they are seeing current events through their worldview lens. This understanding is the first step to compassionate and caring healthcare.
At Apollo, our team understands that healthcare professionals may struggle to serve patients who choose not to listen to medical guidance. Our online community of physicians works together to offer resources and encouragement to help one another grow and serve better – even in times of crisis. For more helpful information such as this, and to connect with other physicians and healthcare experts, head over to Apollo online.