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Coronavirus: The Infodemic - April 14

With South Africa under a 21-day coronavirus lockdown, a worker sweeps a deserted street in central Cape Town.
With South Africa under a 21-day coronavirus lockdown, a worker sweeps a deserted street in central Cape Town.

Fake news about the coronavirus can do real harm. is spotlighting fact-checks from other reliable sources here​.

Daily Debunk

Claim: Normal life will return immediately after the lockdowns.

Verdict: False

Read the full story: "Debunking 3 Myths About COVID-19 Lockdowns," The Diplomat, April 13.​

Social Media Disinfo​

Bill O’Reilly
Bill O’Reilly

Circulating on social media: Claim that former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly wrote an essay calling COVID-19 a Chinese bioweapon.

Verdict: Misattributed

Read the full story: "Did Bill O’Reilly Write an Essay Calling COVID-19 a Chinese Bioweapon?" -- Snopes​

Factual Reads on Coronavirus

How Do We Exit The Shutdown? Hire An Army Of Public Health Workers
[T]here’s broad agreement that core public health work — the ability to find people with the virus and prevent them from passing it to others — will be essential to reopening schools and businesses.
-- Kaiser Health News, April 13​

The Viral ‘Study’ About Runners Spreading Coronavirus Is Not Actually a Study
Belgian researchers chose to bypass all standard science publishing protocols to publish research that has been overhyped and isn't well understood.
-- Vice, April 9​

Dr. Fauci Says He Doesn't Think Americans Should Ever Shake Hands Again to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus
The leading infectious disease expert on President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force told the Wall Street Journal that an end to handshaking would be good for reducing future transmissions of the novel coronavirus and would also cut the number of influenza cases.
-- Newsweek, April 8

A small trial finds that hydroxychloroquine is not effective for treating coronavirus
[A] study just published in a French medical journal provides new evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not appear to help the immune system clear the coronavirus from the body.
-- The Conversation, April 3 ​

An antibody test for the novel coronavirus will soon be available
In the short term, this will be important because it will permit the authorities to identify who may return to their jobs without risk of infecting others.
– The Economist, April 2

The Race to Build COVID-19 Ventilators
The world needs more ventilators – but scaling up production is more complex than it seems.
-- BBC, April 1

Is comparing coronavirus death rates futile?
Comparing coronavirus statistics is virtually impossible right now because each country collects the data differently.
Deutsche Welle, March 30

Chinese State Media Seeks to Influence International Perceptions of COVID-19 Pandemic
We assess that the effort we see today to cast doubt on the origin of COVID-19 and shift the blame away from China began in mid-February with the transition away from the use of Wuhan-specific hashtags in COVID-19 posts.
-- Recorded Future, March 30

Estimates of the severity of coronavirus disease 2019: a model-based analysis
Our estimated overall infection fatality ratio for China was 0·66% (0·39–1·33), with an increasing profile with age.
-- The Lancet, March 30

Mapping the COVID-19 outbreak map displaying confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. by county map displaying confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. by county

The Best Coronavirus Myth-Busting Collections

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Associated Press

Washington Post


Reliable Coronavirus Information

World Health Organization

U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Federation of American Scientists

Emergency Physicians

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine​

Pan American Health Organization

Google COVID‑19 Information & Resources