Forum: Don’t base Covid-19 conclusions on half-truths and unproven conjectures, Forum News & Top Stories

I invite all Singaporeans to read The Straits Times’ investigative report (‘Trending’ Covid-19 claims: Fact or fiction?, ST Online, June 17) which clears the air regarding four Covid-19 claims that are circulating in cyberspace.

The specialists interviewed have clearly dispelled the concerns raised in these claims regarding vaccines and treatment for Covid-19 while being objective in their clarifications.

It would do these specialists a disservice to try to summarise what they have said; their replies should be read in full.

The main concern I want to address has to do with sifting out truths and untruths.

Misinformation, in the case of treatment and prevention of Covid-19, can result in far-reaching damage when people refrain from vaccination because of information they gleaned from cyberspace.

This is not to conclude that those who provided the so-called misinformation or those who propagate them subsequently are insincere.

Nonetheless, when many individuals around the world have been struck very ill or have died, the opportunity to halt or reduce the spread of the virus must not be missed because of fear and anxiety induced by misinformation.

Covid-19 infection is a recent phenomenon, and I admit that there may be more that we need to know about this pandemic.

However, we must base our conclusions on treatment and prevention on scientific data, and not on half-truths or certain conjectures that have not been proven.

What is needed is transparency, a steering away from unnecessary stirring of emotions, and a humble approach to realise that we, as doctors, scientists and academics, may not have all the answers and that there is much in the field of science and medicine that is still beyond our reach.

A tiny virus can cause so much damage and death. There are many more of these viruses which may appear on the horizon, and we may still not be on top of them in our battle to stay alive and healthy.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)