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.
These are the most recent stories we published on COVID-19:
Partisans Seize on Edited Clip of CDC Director’s Comments on COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed a recent study that found that on the rare occasion when fully vaccinated people died from COVID-19, they often had multiple risk factors for severe disease. But her reference to vaccinated people was cut in a version of the interview — and conservative figures misleadingly claimed she was talking about all COVID-19 deaths.
Q&A on At-Home Rapid Test
The demand for at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests — sparked by the fast-spreading omicron variant in December — has continued in 2022. With that demand have come questions about the tests’ efficacy, how to use them and where to get them. We answer those queries and more.
FactChecking the Justices’ COVID-19 Claims
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Jan. 7 challenging the Biden administration’s attempts to expand COVID-19 vaccinations. Here we present the facts on some COVID-19 claims made by the justices. En español.
Increase in COVID-19 VAERS Reports Due To Reporting Requirements, Intense Scrutiny of Widely Given Vaccines
Expanded reporting requirements and intense scrutiny of the hundreds of millions administered COVID-19 vaccine doses have driven record reporting of potential side effects to one of the government’s vaccine safety monitoring systems. Social media posts, however, have misleadingly insinuated that the increase in reports means the vaccines are unsafe. En español.
Early Data on Omicron
As many Americans and others around the globe prepare for holiday travel and get-togethers, the omicron variant continues to be a concern. While the available data on transmission, vaccine effectiveness and severity of disease are still preliminary, here’s what we’ve learned so far. En español.
COVID-19 Far More Lethal Than a Cold, Contrary to Suggestion in Viral Video
COVID-19 has killed more than 805,000 people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet a viral video on social media suggests the disease is the same as a “common cold.” COVID-19 is in the same family of some cold viruses, but its potential for a severe outcome — including death — is much higher than for the common cold. En español.
‘Santa’ Detained at Unregistered Protest, Not ‘Arrested’ for Mask Violation
An increase in pandemic restrictions in Germany sparked a protest at a market, where a man dressed as Santa Claus was briefly detained. Online posts falsely claimed he was arrested for not wearing a mask. But police said he was detained for participating in an unregistered protest.
Viral Story Takes Fauci COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Comments Out of Context
The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. were found to be safe and effective in clinical trials and real-world conditions. Dr. Anthony Fauci did not admit that “Covid Vaccines May Actually Make People ‘Worse,'” as a viral headline misleadingly claims. Fauci’s March 2020 remarks about testing future vaccines for potential safety issues were taken out of context. En español.
Article Makes Unfounded Claims Linking Athletes’ Injuries, Deaths to Vaccines
Many U.S. athletes have been vaccinated against COVID-19 without any adverse effects. But a conservative outlet has cited a list of supposedly vaccine-injured athletes to claim “there may be something wrong with the vaccine.” There’s no proof that the listed athletes — most of them are actually retired — were harmed by the vaccines. En español.
Doctor Makes False Claim About Stillbirths in Canadian Hospitals
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant people, and the World Health Organization says the vaccines are safe for them. Yet online articles cite a Canadian doctor who falsely claims that the vaccines have caused an unusually high number of stillbirths in Canadian hospitals. A hospital representative told us there was “no truth to this claim.” En español.
No Credible Evidence COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines ‘Dramatically Increase’ Heart Attack Risk, Contrary to Flawed Abstract
The COVID-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. are not known to increase the risk of heart attack. But social media posts are misinterpreting an abstract in an American Heart Association journal as proof that the vaccine kills. The publisher later issued an “expression of concern” about the abstract “until a suitable correction can be published.” En español.
Some of the explanatory articles that we have done:
Q&A on the Omicron Variant
On Nov. 24, South Africa told the World Health Organization that amid a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, it had identified a new variant — later named omicron — with a high number of mutations, raising concerns that it could spread more easily than other variants of the coronavirus. We’ll go through what we know so far about omicron. 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and put “COVID-19” in the subject line.
Some of our most popular stories on claims made by politicians include:
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.
All of our coronavirus videos can be found here.
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
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.
Therapeutics Distribution Locations
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website that helps you find COVID-19 therapeutics near you.
World Health Organization
The WHO provides international travel advice and global situation reports, and answers questions.
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.