In my whole modest career as a researcher/fact-checker, never have I witnessed so much misinformation and disformation, as Covid-19 is wreaking havoc upon the world.
Studies have shown that fake news travel faster through messaging apps like Whatsapp. I bet each one of us has at least once received a message advising us to try a quick fake remedy against the novel coronavirus. And sadly, this usually comes from your loved ones, who yet had good intentions when sharing.
This is what keeps me busy, as my job is to debunk false information. A few months ago I used to work while laying back on my cosy office, at my workplace, slaying fake news. Those were the good old days. The bygone days!
That is because I have adopted a new way of working, since coronavirus had been declared world international emergency. Telework! Yes, my bed has become my sanctuary ever since. I spend my days working, laptop on my lap all day long, and sometimes I happen to doze off only to wake up even more tired. The main difficulty with working from home is finding the balance of your working hours. You will easily overwork or underwork.
I must say the work discipline and riguor I spent years building is just a thing of the past now. Have you ever gone through the feeling of locking yourself up between four walls day in day out, windows closed, door closed, so as to avoid the noise outside, for you to be able to fully focus ? And it does not help when you’re claustrophobic like me, and when you live in a house like mine, where noise will come from just everyone, even your favorite sibling.
However, there is the good side of the effect of coronavirus on my work. Online meetings have taught me one main thing: so many meetings at the office before the pandemic could have just been simple emails.
Also, there has been more solidarity and care between me and my colleagues. Every online meeting ends with a prayer or note urging us to take care of ourselves and of loved ones.
This pandemic gives me hope, and makes me more human. Because in the end, this too, shall pass.
Azil Momar LO, journalist fact-checker at Africa Check.