How Misinformation Affects Public Support for Policies that Reduce Pandemic Risk

The WHO report on the Origins of COVID-19 suggest that the COVID-19 did not originate from the wet market in Wuhan, nor was manufactured in a lab. The most likely culprit is zoonotic transfer. 75% of newly emerging diseases are zoonotic. The risk of zoonotic transfer has been increasing due to anthropogenic impacts on wildlife and their habitats, as well as climate change. Yet, the ecological basis of COVID-19 appears to have not been widely acknowledged outside environmental communities. Various reasons may be at play, including psychological denial, the types of media consumed and misinformation. Therefore, we propose using a simple framed experiment in the context of a policy referendum to examine the question: How does exposure to misinformation about the origins of COVID-19 affect the public’s support for policy measures that scientists believe will reduce the risk of future pandemics?

Student Team Member

Wynona Eurj M. Curaming, 2023, Environmental Science

Faculty Member Team

Patrick S. Ward, Assistant Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy