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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

A Guide to Our Coronavirus Coverage

In our work fact-checking political claims and debunking viral deceptions, we have found a tremendous amount of misinformation on the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a guide to our coverage of the facts, including links to our latest stories, FAQs, political claims, videos and expert outside resources. Click on the headlines for the full stories and resources.

All of our coronavirus stories can be found here. Las versiones en español de nuestras historias se pueden ver aquí.

Our Latest Stories

These are the most recent stories we published on COVID-19:

Benefits Outweigh Risks of Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine, Contrary to Posts Misusing VAERS Data
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System can detect possible safety issues in vaccines. Anyone can submit an unverified report, regardless of whether a vaccine is known to have caused the problem. Yet viral messages continue to misuse the VAERS data, and flawed calculations, to claim the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children is unsafe and will cause many more deaths than it will prevent.

Virginia Lt. Gov.-Elect Sears Distorts Facts on COVID-19 Vaccines
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Virginia Lt. Gov.-Elect Winsome Sears spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines that we have previously debunked.

Facebook Post Spreads Bogus Claim About ‘Detox’ After Vaccination
A vaccination can’t be reversed through any “detox” process, medical experts say. Yet, a social media post is spreading the false claim that a bath with borax can “get rid” of a COVID-19 vaccine. The bath may remove some water from the body, but not the molecules associated with vaccines, a toxicologist told us.

Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine Formulation Tweaked to Improve Stability
With the release of its pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer switched the buffer used in its formulation to increase the stability of the product, allowing it to remain at refrigerator temperatures for longer. The Food and Drug Administration OK’d the change, which is also being made to some doses for teens and adults. Social media posts, however, misleadingly suggest that the ingredient swap is dangerous or was added to prevent heart attacks in children. En español.

Colorado Order Addresses Surge in Hospitalizations, Not Vaccination Status
Responding to a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Oct. 31 allowing hospitals that are at or near capacity to transfer or stop admitting patients. Social media posts falsely claimed the order says hospitals can “refuse to treat the unvaccinated.” But the order doesn’t mention vaccination status.

Posts Misrepresent Data to Falsely Claim Italy Reduced Its COVID-19 Death Count
The vast majority of people who have died with COVID-19 had other medical conditions that put them at risk of severe disease, or other conditions caused by COVID-19. But internet posts misinterpret data about those conditions to falsely claim that Italy has reduced its count of COVID-19 deaths. It hasn’t. En español.

SciCheck Featured on Podcast About COVID-19 Misinformation Directed at Latinos
FactCheck.org staffer Catalina Jaramillo was featured on the latest episode of “A Better Life?,” a podcast that explores how COVID-19 has made immigrants’ lives harder. En español.

Viral Posts Make Unfounded Claims After Newsom Gets COVID-19 Booster
After getting the COVID-19 booster on Oct. 27, California Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled a trip and did not participate in any official public events for 12 days. Social media posts claimed, without evidence, that Newsom was suffering serious side effects from the booster. But his staff denied that he had an “adverse reaction” to the shot and, during this time, he appeared twice on social media and reportedly attended a wedding. En español.

Aaron Rodgers’ Inaccurate COVID-19 Claims
Aaron Rodgers, the star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, made headlines when he contracted COVID-19 and then defended his decision not to get vaccinated with a string of false and misleading claims that fact-checkers have frequently debunked.

Video Questioning Vaccine Efficacy Pushes Falsehood About Israel Data
The COVID-19 death rate for unvaccinated people has been significantly higher than for vaccinated people in both Israel and the U.S. Despite that, conservative commentator Ben Swann makes the false claim in a video that Israeli data prove vaccines aren’t effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. But the charts he uses don’t distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients. En español.

A Guide to Pfizer/BioNTech’s Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids 5-11
How safe is Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids? How effective is it? Why is it different from the adult version? What are experts saying about who should get it? We have the answers. En español.

DeSantis, Social Media Posts Mislead on COVID-19’s Toll in Florida
Florida’s total COVID-19 case rate is higher than the national average and 10th highest in the U.S. But social media posts and the state’s governor point to a recent decline in daily cases as evidence of Florida’s success in handling COVID-19, while ignoring the full impact of the pandemic’s toll on the state. En español.

Japan Continues to Use Vaccines, Not Ivermectin, to Fight COVID-19
More than 70% of Japan’s population has received the COVID-19 vaccines, and the government is moving ahead with a booster shot in December. But a conservative radio host in the U.S. falsely claimed, “Japan drops vax rollout, goes to Ivermectin.” Japan hasn’t stopped its vaccine program and hasn’t approved ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. En español.

Why It’s Easy to Misinterpret Numbers of Deaths Among the Vaccinated
Raw numbers of hospitalizations or deaths among those who are vaccinated are not a good indicator of whether vaccines are effective. If the large majority of a population is vaccinated, it’s not surprising if most deaths are among the vaccinated. But social media posts misuse data from the U.K. to suggest the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work. En español.

All of our coronavirus stories can be found here. Las versiones en español de nuestras historias se pueden ver aquí

 

FAQs

Some of the explanatory articles that we have done:

COVID-19: The Unvaccinated Pose a Risk to the Vaccinated
In this Ask SciCheck, we answer the question: How do people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 pose a risk to people who have been vaccinated? En español.

Ongoing Clinical Trials Will Decide Whether (or Not) Ivermectin Is Safe, Effective for COVID-19
Studies on whether ivermectin is beneficial in treating COVID-19 patients haven’t been conclusive, and health officials have warned people not to self-medicate. But multiple large trials are continuing to assess the antiparasitic drug. Yet, Sen. Rand Paul reportedly said researchers were “unwilling to objectively study” it because of “hatred” for Donald Trump. He later acknowledged studies are being done. Here we review the research. En español.

Q&A on Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine-or-Test Rule
Here we answer some questions about Biden’s directive to the Labor Department to develop a temporary emergency rule for businesses with 100 or more employees that would require workers to be fully vaccinated or be tested at least once a week.

CDC Data Thus Far Show COVID-19 Vaccination Safe During Pregnancy
Federal vaccine monitoring systems have identified no safety concerns with the COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant people. Preliminary Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that miscarriage is not more frequent than expected in vaccinated people. Online posts, however, falsely contend that such data, as reported in a CDC publication, show an 82% miscarriage rate. En español.

A Guide to the CDC’s Updated Mask Recommendations
Citing new data on the delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that fully vaccinated people wear face masks indoors in some parts of the country. En español.

The Facts – and Gaps – on the Origin of the Coronavirus
Despite increased media attention to the possibility that the novel coronavirus may have escaped from a lab, no credible evidence has emerged to support it and most scientists think the virus likely has a natural origin. En español.

The Wuhan Lab and the Gain-of-Function Disagreement
A disagreement between Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci has put $600,000 of U.S. grant money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology back into the spotlight, while making “gain-of-function” research a household term — all amid calls for more investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2. En español.

Evidence Points to Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines for Pregnant People
Clinical trials and medical studies have indicated that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant people. But online posts misrepresent unverified reports submitted to vaccine monitoring systems in the U.S. and Europe to misleadingly suggest “920 women” lost babies because they received COVID-19 vaccines. En español.

So Far, Vaccines Remain Effective Against Variants
So far, COVID-19 vaccines have been effective against variants of the coronavirus. Scientists are monitoring the situation carefully, with updated or new vaccines a possibility in the future, if need be. En español.

Exploring the Legality of COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Employers, colleges and universities generally may require immunizations. But there is some uncertainty about the legality of mandating vaccines authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. En español.

Research Rebuts Claims Linking COVID-19 Vaccines to Male Infertility
A new study found there was no negative effect on sperm levels in men after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, undercutting suggestions that the shots affect male fertility. But social media posts have made the baseless claim that vaccinated men “are effectively sterile.” En español.

Q&A on the Rare Clotting Events That Caused the J&J Pause
We look at what is known about the rare clotting conditions associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, their frequency and the risks of COVID-19. En español.

The Facts on the Recommended J&J Vaccine ‘Pause’
So far, nearly 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S., including 7.2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In six cases there have been reports of “a rare and severe type of blood clot” in those who received the J&J vaccine, prompting the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend “a pause in the use” of the J&J vaccine “out of an abundance of caution.” We review the facts of this rare condition that caused the pause. En español.

A Guide to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the third COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Here, we give a rundown of basic facts about the vaccine and an overview of how it works. En español.

A Guide to Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine
Moderna’s mRNA vaccine is the second COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. Here, we give a rundown of basic facts about the vaccine and an overview of how it works. En español.

A Guide to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine
The first COVID-19 vaccine to go into any American arms outside of a trial — and the first to be fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration — is Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, which was designed and developed by the German biotech company BioNTech. Here, we give a rundown of basic facts about the vaccine and an overview of how it works. En español.

Q&A on COVID-19 Vaccines
Three COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized in the U.S. In this story, we answer some common questions about the shots. En español.

No Evidence Vaccines Impact Fertility
Q: Do the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?
A: There’s no evidence that approved vaccines cause fertility loss. Although clinical trials did not study the issue, loss of fertility has not been reported among thousands of trial participants nor confirmed as an adverse event among millions who have been vaccinated. En español.

The Evolving Science of Face Masks and COVID-19
Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending that members of the public mask up last spring, additional research has backed the use of face masks to combat the coronavirus. While knowledge gaps still remain, experts agree that masks should be used — and increasingly, they are emphasizing the use of better masks. En español.

Timeline of Trump’s COVID-19 Comments
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Trump has questioned the effectiveness of masks, touted unproven treatments and criticized his own health experts. Here is the timeline of the president’s comments on COVID-19.

Q&A on COVID-19 Antibody Tests
President Trump says antibody tests “will help us assess the number of cases that have been asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and support our efforts to get Americans back to work by showing us who might have developed the wonderful, beautiful immunity.” But so far, the tests are not widely available — and many of those that are available do not work as advertised.

The Facts on Coronavirus Testing
We explain how testing works, what happened with the CDC’s coronavirus test and what’s known about how many tests are available in the U.S.

No Evidence to Back COVID-19 Ibuprofen Concerns
There is no evidence that ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can make COVID-19 cases more severe. You should consult your doctor before changing medications.

Does Vitamin D Protect Against COVID-19?
Some scientists have hypothesized vitamin D might be helpful, but there is no direct evidence that vitamin D can prevent COVID-19 or lessen disease severity. Nevertheless, it should be part of a healthy lifestyle.

No Evidence That Flu Shot Increases Risk of COVID-19
A claim being pushed on social media and by an organization skeptical of vaccines is using a military study to falsely suggest that the flu vaccine increases someone’s risk of contracting COVID-19. The study does not say that, and the Military Health System advises people to get the flu shot.

Baseless Conspiracy Theories Claim New Coronavirus Was Bioengineered
Several online stories inaccurately claim that the new coronavirus contains HIV “insertions” and shows signs of being created in a lab. But there is no evidence that the new virus was bioengineered, and every indication it came from an animal.

Editor’s Note: If you have a question about the coronavirus pandemic, send us an email at editor@factcheck.org and put “COVID-19” in the subject line.

Political Claims

Some of our most popular stories on claims made by politicians include:

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force during a March 13 news conference.
Photo Credit: White House

Biden’s False Claim on Trump’s Response to Coronavirus
Former Vice President Joe Biden was wrong when he said that the Trump administration made no effort to get U.S. medical experts into China as the novel coronavirus epidemic spread there early this year.

Trump’s H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic Spin
The president made false and misleading comparisons between his response to the new coronavirus and President Barack Obama’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

The Facts on Trump’s Travel Restrictions
The president has made a number of misleading statements about his decision on Jan. 31 to impose travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus epidemic.

False Claim About CDC’s Global Anti-Pandemic Work
Democrats have said that the Trump administration cut the CDC’s anti-pandemic work in over 40 countries to just 10. The CDC told us that’s not true.

Trump Falsely Claims He Inherited ‘Empty’ Stockpile
More than once, President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies he inherited from his predecessor was an “empty shelf.”

Democrats’ Misleading Coronavirus Claims
Democrats have criticized President Donald Trump for his administration’s response to the new coronavirus, making claims about cuts to public health programs and the silencing of government experts. But they haven’t always gotten their facts right.

Trump’s Statements About the Coronavirus
President Donald Trump said on March 17, “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” While it’s not possible to know what Trump “felt,” there’s no doubt that Trump had minimized the threat of the new coronavirus for weeks in statement after statement.

Trump and the ‘New Hoax’
Democratic presidential candidates harshly criticized President Donald Trump for using the term “hoax” in connection with the coronavirus outbreak. There’s no question that the president described the disease as the Democrats’ “new hoax” at a political rally on Feb. 28 in South Carolina. But Trump said that when he used the word “hoax,” he was referring to Democrats finding fault with his administration’s response to coronavirus, not the virus itself.

All of our coronavirus stories can be found here.

Videos

All of our coronavirus videos can be found here.

 

 

Q&A on COVID-19 Antibody Tests

In this video, we answer questions about the antibody tests that President Trump says are needed to get the U.S. back to work. How accurate are COVID-19 antibody tests? What’s the status of the tests in the U.S.? Will someone be protected from being infected again if they have antibodies to the virus? How long might someone be immune to COVID-19?

Posted by FactCheck.org on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

 

 

 

Coronavirus Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC provides daily updates of U.S. cases in each state, as well as information on how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you are sick. Data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States can be found here. Data on vaccines here.

CDC: COVID Data Tracker and Frequently Asked Questions
To check whether your county has low, moderate, substantial or high transmission, use the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker. The tracker also provides data on vaccination trends by state and jurisdiction. 

World Health Organization 
The WHO provides international travel advice and global situation reports, and answers questions.

COVID-19 global cases, as of March 17, mapped by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine
This website includes an interactive map that tracks COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccine doses across the globe in near real time.

New York Times Coronavirus Tracking
The Times is tracking the number of reported cases, deaths and vaccinations in the United States.

New England Journal of Medicine
The NEJM provides a “collection of articles and other resources on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, including clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary.”

 

U.S. Department of Education 
This is a resource page for schools, teachers and other education personnel.

U.S. Department of Labor
The Labor Department provides resources to help workers and employers, including information on unemployment benefits and workplace safety.