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Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation tactic used to make someone doubt their own experiences, feelings, and reality.

Unfortunately, this insidious technique has been employed to downplay the severity of Covid-19, undermining efforts to control the pandemic.

In this article, I will explore the phenomenon of gaslighting and its detrimental effects on public health, shedding light on how it perpetuates misinformation and hampers the fight against COVID-19.


Understanding Gaslighting

Gaslighting thrives on sowing seeds of confusion and distorting facts. In the context of Covid-19, gaslighters may downplay the virus’s seriousness, denying scientific evidence, and asserting baseless claims to create doubt about the pandemic’s impact on public health.

This manipulation technique seeks to erode trust in established information sources and undermine the collective response to the crisis.

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Minimising the Severity of Covid-19

Gaslighters employ various strategies to downplay the severity of Covid-19. They might belittle the virus, labelling it as the mere flu, exaggerating recovery rates, or dismissing the significance of rising infection numbers.

By doing so, they diminish the gravity of the situation, leading to complacency and a lack of adherence to vital preventive measures.

Shifting Blame and Responsibility

Another gaslighting technique involves shifting blame and responsibility. Gaslighters redirect attention to unrelated factors or other individuals, attempting to absolve themselves and others from taking appropriate measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

This tactic undermines accountability and impedes collective action in combatting the pandemic effectively.

Exploiting Fears and Anxieties

Gaslighters exploit people’s fears and anxieties, leveraging them to manipulate perception. They might emphasise economic concerns or personal liberties, portraying efforts to curb the virus as unnecessary infringements on individual freedom.

By framing the pandemic as a fabricated threat, gaslighters undermine crucial public health measures and foster an environment of misinformation and disbelief.

Government and Media Gaslighting

In addition to individual gaslighters, there have been instances of government and media gaslighting surrounding Covid-19.

Governments and media outlets hold significant influence over public perception and can shape narratives to downplay the severity of the pandemic.

This form of gaslighting may involve minimising the impact of COVID-19, manipulating data, or selectively highlighting positive aspects while disregarding critical information.

Such tactics erode trust in institutions and hinder the public’s ability to make informed decisions about their health and safety.

Governments and media organisations need to prioritise transparency, accurate reporting, and responsible communication to avoid perpetuating gaslighting narratives that undermine the fight against COVID-19.

Holding these entities accountable for their actions and demanding accurate information is so important in creating a society that values truth and prioritises the well-being of its citizens.

The Consequences of Gaslighting

Gaslighting in the context of COVID-19 not only disregards the physical toll of the virus but also dismisses the emotional and mental impact it has on countless individuals.

By distorting reality, gaslighting perpetuates a false narrative that can endanger lives. It hampers collective action, leading to inadequate compliance with preventive measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and vaccination, ultimately prolonging the pandemic’s duration.

Recognising and Combating Gaslighting

Recognising gaslighting is vital to protect ourselves and our communities. Educating ourselves about the virus, relying on reputable sources, and critically evaluating information can help counter these manipulative tactics and contribute to a more informed and responsible society.

By supporting scientific research, listening to experts, and prioritising the health and well-being of ourselves and others, we can combat gaslighting effectively.


Gaslighting is a harmful manipulation tactic, particularly when it comes to a global crisis like Covid-19. It perpetuates misinformation, undermines public health efforts, and jeopardises lives.

Recognising gaslighting and taking proactive measures to counter it is important for our collective well-being.

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Gaslighting in the context of Covid-19 undermines our response to the pandemic, perpetuating misinformation and sowing doubt.

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