Legend has it that Newton’s Law of Gravity was inspired by an apple dropping on Sir Isaac’s head while he sat under a tree. It is not true.
It is often told that Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus boldly sailed from port during the late 15th Century while the rest of the world foolishly believed the earth was flat and that he would plummet off the edge. Again not true. There are earlier globes to prove everyone knew that was not the case.
And while we’re at it, apparently, Vikings never wore horned helmets.
History is rife with myths and legends.
Health is another area where misinformation can rule.
Who is unaware of the 5 second rule?
You drop your doughnut on the ground and quickly pick it up. Gathering it up before the sixth second is meant to inoculate the dropper from ingesting dangerous germs. We know, deep down however, that the cleanliness of the floor is a lot more relevant than the number of seconds you wait to pick up your tainted treat.
While this shared rule is more fun than concerning, it can again demonstrate how misinformation can circulate quickly.
The Federal Government has advised that it is treating the coronavirus as if it is a pandemic. But what does that mean in Wyndham where there have been no reported cases of the virus?
Most viral concerns faced over the past decade have involved technology. Our only confrontations with a viral pandemic in the last decade have been movies such as Contagion and a legion of zombie flicks, where it is possible to catch zombie.
There are often two unhelpful extremes. Ignore the news and hope it goes away or mistrust everyone and everything.
A better strategy is to stay informed and follow the advice of health authorities.
We don’t want to trade in the sense of community spirit, such as was embraced during the reopening of Wyndham Park in Werribee, for isolation because we take actions over and above those being recommended by experts.
While we need to be vigilant about the spread of any virus, we also need to guard against the spread of misinformation.
Author: Ben Hutchings