Disinformation plays part in decreased interest in coronavirus protection measures, head of RO emergency service says
The falsehoods circulating on social media could be the reason more people chose to ignore the coronavirus prevention measures, Raed Arafat, the head of the Emergency Situations Department (DSU), told local television station Digi24 on Saturday, June 13.
He was speaking as Romania recorded an increased number of daily coronavirus cases over the past few days. On Sunday, June 14, the number of daily cases jumped to 320, the highest since the first restrictions were eased in mid-May.
“Maybe it’s because of all the falsehoods and fake data circulating on social media networks and of the debates […] featuring people who argue against the prevention and distancing measures without having scientific proof; understandably, people become confused and maybe some even think we can go back to the life before this ‘conspiracy,’” he said.
Arafat explained that the country could see an increased number of new cases if people do not follow measures such as wearing a mask in indoor venues, social distancing, and adequate hand hygiene. This could lead to an overburdening of the healthcare system, he said.
“Ignoring the prevention measures can lead to increases that are beyond our control; we could end up not being able to manage the situation. We expected increases; everybody knew that easing the restrictions would bring an increase. Still, it all depends on how constant these increases are, how steep they are, and their impact on the healthcare system,” he said.
Arafat also said that not only the number of new cases increased but also that of the patients being treated in intensive care units. This went up from 120-130 to 170 people in critical condition, he said.
He said nobody wanted to go back to reconsidering the easing of the restrictions but warned it could happen if there is an uncontrollable rise in the number of cases.
He also warned that giving up on wearing a mask is “too early and too dangerous” and said that having the number of cases under control “depends on us.”
(Photo: George Calin/ Inquam Photos)