An analysis of the potential influences of misinformation on Alberta’s public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic and what this tells us about policy creation in the age of social media

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Robertson, Micah
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The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a variety of previously unrecognized problems and showed how new aspects of our growing culture and world have complicated all aspects of our lives. One issue that was both an old problem we learned more about and a new evolution that we were rudely awakened to is misinformation. This paper through the use of a literature review, analysis of government actions, and covid era misinformation, sought to examine if misinformation affected the pandemic response from the Canadian province of Alberta. After reviewing what misinformation was present with several trends in public health response as well as data related to the efficacy of the Albertan public health response and criticism of its failures, this paper believes that there is a high likelihood that there was an influence from misinformation. This influence started early on, causing hesitation to put in place health orders, and an extreme eagerness to lift them. It then slowly grew and mutated, potentially resulting in the ousting of one premier and their replacement with a leader who is significantly more beholden to misinformation.
Misinformation, Covid-19, Alberta, Public health, Public policy, Public health policy, Social Media, Pandemic, Public health response, Timeline, Covid-19 misinformation