Dr. Peters

Coronavirus outbreak: Mapping and countering misinformation

Health misinformation may deter members of the public from taking appropriate health and safety measures and is thus a serious public health threat. The objectives of this study are to investigate and understand the impact of COVID-19 misinformation and to design and implement evidence-based solutions to combat the harmful discourse. We will conduct:

  1. systematic content analyses of traditional and online social media to identify circulating misinformation, and
  2. empirical psychological research on how individuals respond to COVID-19 information to better understand the public impact of COVID-19 misinformation.

Based on our findings, we will develop effective communication and education tools to counter misinformation strategically, and provide policy recommendations to deal with misinformation during COVID-19 and future outbreaks. Strategies will help to combat misinformation, stigma, and fear, to address their underlying drivers, and to improve public awareness, knowledge, and trust.

Co-Principal Investigator: Prof. Timothy Caulfield

Co-Investigators: Dr. Gordon Pennycook, Dr. Cheryl Peters, Dr. Christen Rachul

Funder: Canadian Institute of Health Research

The causes and impacts of the Cargill COVID-19 outbreak among newcomers in Canada

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety has reported that the High River Cargill Meat Processing Plant failed to engage workers or their representatives in its investigation of their COVID-19 outbreak, which was Canada’s largest single-site outbreak that consisted of nearly 1,600 infections. The objectives of this study are to determine how and why the outbreak spread, and what the response was. We will work closely with the Alberta Health Services Public Health team, healthcare workers, and social services who responded to this outbreak, as well as the UCFW Union Local 401, community members, and Cargill employees. The mixed-methods approach will collect and share health-related data and stories from Cargill employees and their families. Study findings will help uncover why the outbreak primarily affected new immigrant, refugee, and temporary foreign worker employees and their communities. This detailed investigation will help inform future Canadian public health measures to prevent and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks and will create knowledge that the public health, healthcare and social services systems need to improve care and community trust during future COVID-19 outbreaks.

Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Gabriel Fabreau, Dr. Kevin Pottie

Knowledge users: Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Dr. Jia Hu, Dr. Brent Friesen

Co-Investigators: Amanda Alberga, Dr. Amir Attaran, Dr. Michael Aucoin, Dr. Aleem Bharwani, Dr. Annalee Coakley, Dr. Alexander Doroshenko, , Dr. Christine Kennedy, Dr. Nelson Lee, Olivia Magwood, Dr. Kerry McBrien, Dr. Katrina Milaney, Dr. Maria Jose Parrilla Lopez, Dr. Cheryl Peters, Dr. Paul Ronksley Dr. Kate Snedeker, Dr. Rachel Talavlikar, Dr. Peter Tugwell

Funder: Canadian Institute of Health Research