The Clark County Commission adopted a resolution declaring COVID-19 misinformation a public health crisis that has prolonged the pandemic, created a culture of mistrust, and continues to endanger the health and safety of the community.

The resolution, requested by Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, was adopted by a majority of the County Commission following a discussion about how misinformation surrounding the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, masks, social distancing and other measures recommended by health officials to stop the spread COVID-19 have caused confusion in the public and created divisions in the community.

As of Sept. 20, COVID-19 has resulted in more than 315,500 cases and 5,400 deaths in Clark County, according to Southern Nevada Health District data.  To date more than 1.1 million people have been fully vaccinated in the County, representing about 57 percent of the eligible population aged 12 years and older.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our economy, our children’s education, and the health and safety of our community, and the spread of false and misleading information has only made matters worse,” Commissioner Jones said. “It’s important for our governing board to declare health misinformation as a public health crisis and commit to doing all we can to combat the falsehoods that continue to jeopardize the lives of our citizens.”

In July, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory warning of the “urgent threat” posed by false information about COVID-19 perpetuating the pandemic and putting lives at risk. Clark County joins San Diego County as one of the first governments across the country to declare that COVID-19 misinformation has reached a crisis level. The County’s resolution highlights the importance of clear communications from public officials that vaccines are the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization, and that COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United State are provided at no cost regardless of income and have met rigorous scientific standards for safety and effectiveness.

COVID-19 vaccinations are widely available at clinics and pharmacies throughout Southern Nevada. A list of locations can be found on the Health District’s website:  www.snhd.info/covid-vaccine. The public also can call the state’s bilingual vaccine hotline at 1-800-401-0946 or visit NVCOVIDFighter.org for information.

Clark County has launched multiple initiatives to help the community respond and recover from the pandemic including delivering meals and vaccines to homebound residents, standing up testing and vaccination sites in local neighborhoods, and working with health officials and community partners to educate the public about how to reduce community spread of COVID-19 through sharing information with the local news media, advertising and marketing, radio and TV public service announcements, social media campaigns and multifaceted public outreach efforts. Clark County’s “COVID Conversations” effort on Clark County TV features discussions with local health officials to address common questions and myths about COVID-19. The program is airing on CCTV and can be viewed on the County’s YouTube site at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqZEq-nmTkg&t=0s. Social media PSAs related to the effort have been shared on the County’s Facebook and Twitter sites. CCTV’s next “COVID Conversations” program in October will feature local residents who survived COVID-19.