Is the explosion of COVID-19 conspiracies changing people’s real-world behavior?

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More than 20 million people saw a video filled with lies about COVID-19. Researchers still don’t know how this kind of viral misinformation is impacting people’s willingness to wear masks—or to get an eventual vaccine. On Monday night, Breitbart News launched a video of a press conference from a group of physicians called America’s Frontline Doctors, wherein several doctors repeated inaccurate claims about COVID-19, its treatments, and effects. The video reached over 20 million viewers on Facebook alone before being taken down Tuesday. The fast spread of this video and its false claims raises a big question about how much this kind of information affects people’s decisions to stay home, wear a mask, and ultimately, to get vaccinated when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved. Read Full Story

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Sorry, the COVID-19 vaccine won’t make life go back to normal right away

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If you were hoping that the new COVID-19 vaccines could make it possible to stop wearing masks and social distancing, think again. Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine might get FDA emergency use authorization in a few weeks, and a small group of Americans might begin getting shots in December. Moderna’s vaccine might quickly follow. But even for those who can get vaccinated soon—potentially 20 million people in the U.S., out of a population of more than 320 million—life won’t be able to go back to normal yet. Read Full Story

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How Ad Council raised $407M in donated media for their mask campaign

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30-second summary: The Ad Council needed to create messaging about the benefits of wearing masks that resonated with people throughout the US. They faced several challenges including and extremely limited lead time for developing the campaign, constantly changing consumer sentiment about masks and COVID-19, and political and social upheaval which impacted their messaging strategy. Using an agile research platform, The Ad Council obtained consumer insight within three-five days, significantly reducing the typical nine-month lead time for obtaining data and deploying a new campaign. Intention or motivation was higher for the mask-wearing campaign versus other campaigns. It reached 70% of Americans and raised over $400 million in donated media support. Headquartered in Manhattan, The Ad Council is a nonprofit ad agency focused on creating social good campaigns and public service announcements (PSAs) in the US. The company has weathered nearly a century of change, upheaval, and crises—up to and including the …

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Surprise, surprise: Anti-vaxxers are spreading false claims about cures for COVID-19

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New data shows how false claims from fringe groups—like that vitamin C is a cure-all for the coronavirus—make their way into the mainstream news. In the past several years, social media has given a soap box to a previously niche group of people who are against vaccination. This group, known colloquially as anti-vaxxers, fabricates stories about the danger of vaccines in attempt to discredit them. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has given some members of this faction an opportunity to spread more anti-vaccine propaganda, and it’s starting to make its way to the mainstream. Read Full Story

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Scientists reveal an alarming unintended consequence of wearing masks

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You should absolutely wear a mask in public. But experts agree—be careful it doesn’t make you feel invincible. The science is certain at this point : Wearing a mask can help reduce the likelihood of being infected with COVID-19. But masks alone are far from perfect. Over the past two weeks, as masks have gone from optional to mandatory in many states, I’ve noticed a shift in behavior. I’ve seen people wearing masks at small get-togethers and people wearing masks in stores—all without observing the six feet of social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read Full Story

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We should all wear masks now

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The CDC is poised to tell everyone to wear a cloth mask in public. Here’s why. A little over a month ago, after the first community-spread cases of COVID-19 were reported near Seattle, U.S. surgeon general Jerome Adams tweeted a message to the American public: “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” The standard advice of the WHO and the CDC was the same—people shouldn’t be wearing masks unless they were already infected with the coronavirus or caring for someone with the disease. But now the CDC is expected to change its guidance to say that all people should wear cloth masks in public. Read Full Story

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Uniqlo is making masks out of its underwear fabric

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The $20 billion brand is getting into masks in a big way. As the fashion industry has watched sales plummet due to COVID-19, many brands have pivoted to produce the hottest item of the moment. Whether it’s an ethical fast fashion brand such as Reformation or a bargain bin retailer such as Old Navy , there’s a good chance that, if you sell clothing, you now sell masks . But the Japanese label Uniqlo, which does $20 billion in revenue a year, has been relatively quiet on this front. It has donated millions of pieces of personal protective equipment in Japan, but it hasn’t made masks for consumers—until now. Read Full Story

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