Sorting Out Coronavirus Facts from Fiction

With the pandemic constantly evolving, it may be hard to keep up and understand what’s factual and what is fake—especially if your primary source for news is social media. It’s important to be up to date on guidance to understand your local regulations. Misinformation continues to spread about topics like at-home treatments, how you get infected, and what’s safe or unsafe once you go out in public. As the number of COVID-19 infections rises across the globe, it’s important to understand the facts and correct guidelines for protecting yourself. Public health officials say they are not only fighting a pandemic, but also an “infodemic.” Defined as an overabundance of information—both accurate and not— making it hard for people to find reliable guidance online or on social media.

With the pandemic constantly evolving, it may be hard to keep up and understand what’s factual and what is fake—especially if your primary source for news is social media. It’s important to be up to date on guidance to understand your local regulations. Misinformation continues to spread about topics like at-home treatments, how you get infected, and what’s safe or unsafe once you go out in public. As the number of COVID-19 infections rises across the globe, it’s important to understand the facts and correct guidelines for protecting yourself. Public health officials say they are not only fighting a pandemic, but also an “infodemic.” Defined as an overabundance of information—both accurate and not— making it hard for people to find reliable guidance online or on social media.

Consider asking yourself the following questions to sort out coronavirus fact from fiction:

  • Check out not just who sent you the article or graphic, but also the author and whether it’s posted by a well-known publication. When it comes to health care, peer-reviewed journals add another level of credibility to the research.
  • Consider the information more credible if there are additional links or evidence in the article.
  • It’s easy to share outdated information, especially on social media. Check the date, as the pandemic continues to quickly evolve day by day.
  • Do a quick online search to see if trusted organizations (like the CDC, WHO or local public health officials) are also reporting it.
  • Try to understand the study’s funding, which may impact its credibility. Certain organizations may have a motive or bias.
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