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In February, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, declared that Covid-19 was not the only public health emergency the world was facing — we were also suffering from an “infodemic” of fake medical news. “Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus,” he said, “and is just as dangerous.”

The metaphor of a psychic infection accompanying a physical one fits neatly into the current “post-truth” narrative. Articles from news sources including the Associated Press ran with the metaphor, describing misinformation as a contagion with “no antidote in sight”.

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