The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged societies across the globe economically, socially and politically. It has put western democracies to a test and has become the focal point of the life of people all over the world.
This paper outlines the German response to the pandemic with a focus on trust in science, trust in the government’s measures and the spread of conspiracy myths and misinformation. The latter have been described by experts as an infodemic that is spreading almost as fast as the pandemic itself, thus posing a challenge both to society as a whole and more specifically to how scientific knowledge is received by the public.
The paper outlines how and why conspiracy myths occur during a pandemic and who is most vulnerable to them. Its aim is to offer a multilevel approach on how science communication and other stakeholders can help to tackle the challenge and work towards establishing a better dialog between different parts of the society.
- Recommendation: Promote a multilevel approach to reach the undecided through various channels
- Recommendation: Foster informed trust in science.
- Recommendation: Create space for interactions between scientists and the public.
- Recommendation: Facilitate the open and structured societal debate about the role and functions of the media.
Table of contents
02 The Challenges of Science Communication in a Pandemic
2.1 Main Actors Informing the Public on COVID-19
2.2 Limitations of the Scientific Method and Their Impact on the Infodemic
03 A Science-Media Center as a Possible Solution
04 Concluding Remarks