NOT REAL NEWS: An outbreak of virus-related misinformation

FILE – In this Thursday, May 17, 2018, file photo, people take glasses of water from a tray in Kabul, Afghanistan. On Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting that keeping your mouth and throat moist will help you avoid getting the new coronavirus. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-diseases expert at Vanderbilt University, says while medical professionals typically recommend keeping up fluid intake, drinking more water will not keep anyone from catching the virus. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

In this week’s roundup of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week, we focus on false and misleading reports spreading online around the new coronavirus outbreak, a situation the World Health Organization has dubbed an “infodemic.”

China attempted to contain COVID-19 that emerged in Wuhan in late 2019 through travel restrictions and city lockdowns, but the virus has now spread to 50 countries and infected more than 83,000 people.

False posts online have distorted symptoms of the virus and peddled miracle cures. Members of the public are urged to follow the advice of established institutions like WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to beware of claims suggesting ways to prevent the virus.

Here are some of the claims spreading online, and the facts you need to know about them.


Source: Associated Press – BEATRICE DUPUY and ARIJETA LAJKA