Study: Trump is ‘single largest driver’ of COVID misinformation

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 21, 2020, as he travels to Ohio. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is the 'single largest driver' of misinformation over the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.

The study, done by researchers at Cornell University, analyzed over 38 million articles about the pandemic published in English-language media across the world and found that President Trump "comprised 37.9 percent of the overall misinformation conversation."

The coronavirus pandemic has evolved alongside a so-called "infodemic" of misinformation across the globe. Researchers identified 11 topics of misinformation, including the denial of science about the nature and origins of the virus and conspiracy theories about the virus, like that the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to aid them in the impeachment hearings against Trump.

However, the most common kind of misinformation was "miracle cures," which accounted for the vast majority of misinformation researchers found, including President Trump declaring the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine a "game-changer" in March, and suggesting that injecting a disinfectant into the body could help combat the virus in April.

According to the study, a substantial portion of the discussion of miracle cures was driven by comments by Trump, making him "likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation 'infodemic.'"

"It is apparent from the data that mentions of President Trump within the context of COVID-19 misinformation comprise by far the largest single component of the infodemic," the researchers said.

Last week, President Trump said that he and his administration deserve an "A+" for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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