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Editor’s note: This article appears in the new, all-digital issue of the University of Delaware Research magazine. This
issue focuses on the importance of effective communication in our lives
and tips for ensuring a healthy information diet. It also covers ways
faculty and students are using research to explore new worlds, including
As our world continues its struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic,
another global threat has proven tougher to arrest, just as lethal and
likely to be a key factor in crises to come.
The World Health Organization in 2020 identified this emerging threat
as an “infodemic,” with high-transmission contagions that can carry
misinformation (error and distortion) and disinformation (intentionally
misleading or false) at the speed of light. The plague circulates
freely, undeterred by facts, evidence or editorial standards.
Unlike the pandemics that came before it, COVID-19 emerged in the
midst of this perilous environment, demonstrating again the critical
need for effective science communication, shaped with clarity and keen
attention to ethical boundaries.
“It’s not merely an academic topic,” said University of Delaware
ethicist Tom Powers, associate professor of philosophy and director of
the Center for Science, Ethics and Public Policy. “Lives hang in the
Learn more: Adding Peril to a Pandemic.
Article by Beth Miller, photo illustration by Jeffrey C. Chase
Originally published October 14, 2022
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