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Combatting COVID misinformation on the statewide level

The state is also releasing a series of "myth buster" commercials that aim to set the record straight on misconceptions surrounding coronavirus.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — One of the biggest obstacles in the fight against coronavirus continues to be misinformation surrounding the disease, especially when it comes to the vaccine. 

Governor Gavin Newsom is now pushing for a new statewide department dedicated to disseminating accurate scientific information, and countering false claims, allocating funding in the new budget that would require the legislature's approval.

"We will continue to call it out," said Gov. Newsom. "We will do our best, and we ask people who continue to promote lies and misinformation to stop. We want to create a brand-new, organized strategic communication and community partnership unit to focus on mis- and dis-information."

Along with that, the state is also releasing a series of "myth buster" commercials, to air in 250 markets.

The commercials will aim to set the record straight on misconceptions surrounding coronavirus and the vaccine, as California's Department of Health and Human Services is working to counter false claims both on-line and in-person.

"We have a team of people," said Newsom. "They go out and are battling, they're in the trenches, they are on social media...trying to push back."

These aren't the only efforts to combat misinformation on the statewide level.

One proposed legislative bill would require Facebook and other online platforms to be more transparent in how their algorithm's push information to users.

Another bill would hold doctors responsible for promoting what state medical experts consider to be inaccurate medical information, which could potentially lead to disciplinary action from the California Medical Board.

"So many people are being influenced by things that re objectively false, and it's costing people their lives," said San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair, Nathan Fletcher. 

Earlier, San Diego County's Board of Supervisors voted to declare COVID misinformation a public health crisis, adopting ways to actively combat it.

"Accepting that even in a factual, truthful situation, people can have differences of opinion and ideas," Fletcher told CBS 8. "But so much  of the purposeful, intentional misinformation out there is very corrosive."

WATCH RELATED: Gov. Newsom announces California's shift to 'endemic' approach to COVID (February 2022)

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