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Coronavirus author expert available: Stop dangerous spread of myths online

Good afternoon,

I'm writing to tell you about one of our wonderful clients who is a healthcare expert with decades of experience in the industry, who is also author of a book called Is It Serious? How to search for health information on the Internet, available for media interview, comment and commissions on the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus online. Please find the press release below and we'd welcome the chance to connect you with Burton Paul and send you a copy of the book. 

Burton Paul says, "The spread of misinformation about the coronavirus is dangerous. It's important that the public has access to the best, most up-to-date and most accurate health information possible during an outbreak. Coronavirus is still a new virus, so there is a risk that viral guesswork online - on social media for example - will cause a serious amount of panic."

People are increasingly turning to the Internet for updates on the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, to find out more about its origins and symptoms, plus how to prevent the spread of the virus worldwide. As of yesterday (10th February), there are now a reported 8 cases of coronavirus in the UK and UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. Matt Hancock declared the spread of the virus to be a "serious and imminent threat" to the public, giving the Government greater powers to fight the escalating situation. Internet health expert Burton Paul and author of ‘Is It Serious? How to search for health information on the Internet’ is available for media interview, comment and editorial commissions regarding the best places to search for credible health information online about the pandemic, plus advice on the top tips to listen to, which sites to visit, which social media accounts to follow, and how to stop the spread of misinformation. 
Helen Lewis
Literally PR 
+44 (0) 7904801669 

Coronavirus spread of misinformation - Press Release - UK

"Spread of misinformation online must stop," says author expert Burton Paul

Author of "Is It Serious? How to search for health information on the Internet' available for media interview & comment

Advice and tips to educate, empower and help stem the panic surrounding the global pandemic

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-         From a food market in China to a global pandemic - advice on how to avoid panic and confusion.

-         Comparisons with Norovirus situation in 2012 - increase in online searches correlated to rate of infection - similar situation predicted for the coronavirus.

-         With the rise in people turning to the Internet for health advice, what are the best places to search for information on the coronavirus?

-         Burton Paul is available for media interview and comment on how to search for health information on the Internet during times of a global pandemic:


11th February 2020, London, United Kingdom: People are increasingly turning to the Internet for updates on the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, to find out more about its origins and symptoms, plus how to prevent the spread of the virus worldwide(1). This comes at a time when misinformation and myths are being spread online as people inevitably start to panic about what's happening closer to home, with reports of eight confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK.
WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been reported by the BBC as saying that misinformation was "making the work of our heroic workers even harder". 

According to Google, strange as it may seem, given there's no connection between the beer and the virus, there's been a spike in searches for ‘Coronavirus beer' and ‘Virus corona beer' ( "It's inevitable that many people will turn to the Internet while the coronavirus occupies the headlines. It's still early days for the virus, so people are learning what it's called, what is happening and what it could mean for them," says Burton Paul, author of ‘Is It Serious? How To Search For Health Information On The Internet'(2).

"Back in 2012, when the Norovirus started to gain attention, an interesting thing happened: the trends in Google internet searches for norovirus symptoms strongly correlated with rates of norovirus infection. A study(3) identified that the growth in searches were in line with the spread of the virus, and they were able to track the activity of the virus based on the Google search. I believe this to be happening now with the coronavirus."

Burton Paul adds, "As the pandemic spreads, the quantity - and quality - of information available online will also spread. It's important for people to know where to look, who to trust, and to be able to decipher the information provided. The main point, though, is that searching online can help educate and empower, but if not done correctly, it can also cause panic and concern. The Department of Health and Social Care will be publishing updated data on a daily basis at 2pm until further notice:"

When such a situation occurs, Burton Paul points to organisations including the Department of Health & Social Care (in the UK), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC - Europe), and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (USA), who take immediate charge. There is a lot of official information on the situation, the outbreak and travel advice that Burton Paul recommends people visit online. His top suggestions are:

Department of Health & Social Care:

The main page - currently features the coronavirus, with daily updates, and this title: ‘Information and actions for the public on the outbreak of Wuhan novel coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and actions taken in the UK and abroad.' Then there is this website: You can always go to the main page and type coronavirus in the main search bar for the latest information from the UK government.

TheWorld Health Organisationis one of the best for such a situation, and their main page is: where one of the main features is the coronavirus.

Daily ‘situation reports': detailed reports: It covers the global situation, including travel, spread, coverage and more. And they feature a section on travel:

In addition, there is the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: currently their main feature is the coronavirus.

In the US, there is: TheCenter for Disease Control and Prevention, features the coronavirus on the main page. 

In terms of general information websites, two of Burton's favourites are: they have a "what you need to know" section:, which offers a special section on travel to and from China, symptoms and treatment. You can also search for coronavirus in the search bar. 

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After over a decade in healthcare research and senior/director level roles in the healthcare industry, working with some of the largest healthcare and pharmaceutical organisations, as well as within hospitals and care homes, Burton Paul has created an original guide book called ‘Is It Serious? How To Search For Health Information On The Internet' to help people clearly navigate the Internet for health information. "We want answers, and we want them now," says Burton Paul. "We
want to take more control of our health, our choices and our decisions on health matters, and we want to better care for our families. When something happens like the coronavirus, the Internet is often the first port of call to find out more information."


Notes to Editors

Media enquiries, to call in a copy of Is It Serious?, or for interview requests +(44) 07904801669. More information, book cover and author photos, and more information about Burton Paul and his book, are available in this online press


(1)   Figures published in August 2019 by UK health and wellbeing provider Benenden Health found that over 100 million health-related internet searches were made by British people in the previous 12 months.

(2)   Is It Serious? How To Search For Health Information On The Internet by Burton Paul, independently published, May 2019, available on Amazon £9.99 as a paperback and for Kindle.

(3)   Study conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Google Labs: