Monthly Archives: March 2020

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Coronavirus Information – reliable sources and the CRAP test.

Links to reliable sources of information are provided at the end of this article.

It is important during the coronavirus pandemic that we keep ourselves well-informed. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation circulating, particularly online and in social media. Some of this will have been posted with malicious intent but for the most part it will be the result of genuine misunderstanding or wanting to be first with the latest rumour. It is also important to remember that even genuine information will quickly change as the situation rapidly evolves.

Information must therefore be approached with common sense, certainly apply the adage “if it sounds too good to be true it usually is”. Also consider the CRAP test in evaluating information (Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose). The test was developed for academics and students to assess online information but can be adapted to this situation.

Currency:

How current is the information? When was it posted? Has it been recently updated? Even genuine information from the most reliable sources can quickly become dated in rapidly evolving circumstances. For example, the modelling exercises on which government decisions are based involve uncertainties and assumptions. The advice changes as more becomes known.

Reliability:

Is the information based on someone’s personal opinion? If it is opinion is it balanced or one-sided? Does the author offer hard evidence which can be independently confirmed? Does the author stand to profit or gain in any way (not just financially)?

Authority:

Who is the author? What are his/her credentials? What do you know about the author? Is the author reputable? Is the site sponsored (including advertisers), if so by whom? We British have a healthy scepticism of people in authority and during the Brexit debate experts were often vilified. However, now is the time to take notice. These are likely to be the most reliable sources of information, your hairdresser probably isn’t. Information that comes directly from central government (.gov.uk), local government (.gov.uk), NHS (.nhs.uk), and police (.police.uk), is likely to be the most reliable. There is some good advice from charities/non-profit organisations but they should be mainstream organisations with names you recognise. Some links are included below.

Purpose/Point of View:

Is the author trying to push an agenda or particular side? Are the arguments obviously biased? Is it an attempt to sell you something? Are you being asked for money or bank details?

Finally, before passing on information it is important to take a step back. Consider the reason for having been sent something and the possible consequences of passing it on. Before passing on any online rumour, take the time to verify it. This can be done by checking how recently an account has been created, keeping a close eye on information from your local authorities, and searching key words to find another source.

Sources of information (click on the links below):

Government guidance on social distancing and protecting the vulnerable.

Coronavirus advice from the NHS.

Check if you have coronavirus symptoms.

Coronavirus – Lancashire County Council response.

Coronavirus – West Lancashire Borough Council response.

Number of coronavirus cases and risk in the UK.

Coronavirus and heart or circulatory disease.

Coronavirus and lung disease.

Coronavirus and diabetes.

Coronavirus and the elderly.

Lancashire Constabulary – Coronavirus – Stay in the Know.

 

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Coronavirus – important information from Scarisbrick Parish Council

IF YOU LIVE IN THE PARISH OF SCARISBRICK, ARE SELF-ISOLATING, AND FIND YOURSELF IN SERIOUS AND IMMEDIATE NEED THEN PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE AND FILL IN THE FORM BELOW. 

Scarisbrick Parish Council is actively looking at ways that the vulnerable in the parish can be supported and will make funding available as appropriate. Something that is causing a significant problem at the moment is the growing number of coronavirus scams that are appearing – we want to be as sure as possible that we don’t unwittingly expose elderly residents to harm. We are working on it.

The best way anyone can help at the moment is to keep in touch with each other’s immediate neighbours. This is particularly the case if they are elderly, have pre-existing medical conditions, and are self-isolating. You will know them and, more importantly, they will know you. This immediately creates trust and ensures that they are not relying on people they may never have seen before (no matter how well-intentioned they may be). This is far better than any scheme we can devise and it can get off the ground with immediate effect.

We advise all residents not to hand over money to anyone they do not recognise (and trust) on the promise of having shopping done for them. This is, unfortunately, a scam that is gaining pace. Unscrupulous individuals are doing this whilst pretending to represent Parish Councils.

If you live within the parish, are self-isolating, and find yourself in serious and immediate need then please get in touch with the council and we will do what we can to resolve the problem. At the moment we will only be able to help with serious and immediate problems such as having run out of food or medication. Contact us by completing the form below. Give us your telephone number and a password (memorable word) of your choice. We will call you back and return the password so you know it is us. Our telephone number (mobile) is 07577240928, please only use this if absolutely necessary – we are a small parish council with limited resources.

We are not qualified to give medical advice. If you need this advice – and it’s not an emergency – you should dial the 111 telephone number.

We are starting to ramp up a flow of information on our website and Twitter accounts (@scarisbrick2day) but please bear with us – our resources are relatively small.

STAY HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES

 

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