How pediatricians are fending off coronavirus myths.

Dr. Perri Klass, a physician and writer for The New York Times, spoke with a number of pediatricians about some of the most pressing coronavirus questions they are getting in their practices and how they are battling misinformation:

Dr. Kelly Fradin, a pediatrician in New York City, said, “One of the interesting things about the pandemic is I’ve seen misinformation in both extremes, pushing people toward bleaching their produce and avoiding all outdoor exercise, and then misinformation pushing people toward being blasé about the virus.”

Dr. Nusheen Ameenuddin, a community pediatrician at the Mayo Clinic and the chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics council on communications and media, said, “Social media misinformation and disinformation on network and cable news channels really undermines science and evidence.” The A.A.P. group has started to work with companies like Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health who is president of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recalled a woman asking him about a story that mouthwash could prevent Covid-19. “I pointed out to her, this is a respiratory virus, I hope no one’s pouring mouthwash in their nose, and she stopped and thought about it — it was fairly obvious to this layperson that it doesn’t make sense.”

“There’s a definite fear that seems to go in two very different directions, I suspect often based around one’s political leanings because all this has become politicized,” Dr. Navsaria said.

On vaccines, Dr. Ameenuddin said, “Vaccine hesitancy and misinformation is nothing new for pediatricians.” But in recent months, she said, “parents of the children I take care of who have vaccinated with confidence have been asking me questions about the safety of a possible Covid vaccine.”

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