The Coronavirus pandemic has taught us a lot of things about society.
It has been heart-warming to see people band together and support others, especially the NHS and our other key workers.
Yet another learning is that some elements of society will question everything, even in the face of strong scientific evidence. Often putting themselves and others at risk.
At every phase of the UK’s battle with this virus there have been groups of people who have disagreed with Government advice.
And while social media can be a hugely positive influence in spreading good. It can also be harmful when people start to believe everything they read as the gospel truth.
As Broadcasters, it is our job to provide the full facts of a story and let the viewers decide.
But what steps can you take to ensure that you are receiving trusted health advice from the right source?
One of the things the Government has done well throughout the pandemic is communicating the core facts online.
The NHS website has been totally revamped to provide accurate and up to date advice about Covid, written in simple terms so you don’t need to wade through reams of pages to digest the important info.
As I know from first-hand experience, some of the information on Covid has been so fast moving, it was at times hard to keep up. So keeping a website updated with all the advice in one place has been crucial.
Science is always moving at a pace as new studies are concluded and published. Professional opinions can change as more evidence becomes available, so it’s important to follow the issues over time and the NHS website is very good at keeping things current and relevant to us all.
If you require more detail, the Public Health England (PHE) website provides this in the form of tailored guidance for many different situations.
Trusted news outlets also carry fact-checked reports and are governed by OFCOM rules which state they must report responsibly.
Likewise food and drink companies cannot make misleading health claims on their products, and are tightly governed by the Food Standards Agency.
So as we enter Autumn, make sure you are doing your homework when it comes to your health and the decisions and purchases you make.
Think about if you can trust your source, and check facts against the NHS and PHE websites if you are in doubt.
Until next time, stay safe.
Dr Hilary Jones