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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:

Social Media Post on Use of Ivermectin for Refugees Lacks Context
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of ivermectin as a treatment for arriving refugees to treat parasitic infections. But a social media post by Dr. Simone Gold, a proponent of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, references the CDC guidance without accurately explaining the reason why refugees are given the drug. The CDC has warned against using ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19.

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.

Experts: No Link Between COVID-19 Vaccines and Erectile Dysfunction
Public health officials around the world have explained that erectile dysfunction is not a side effect of COVID-19 vaccines, but a viral tweet from rapper Nicki Minaj has spread the unfounded claim that it is. There is no evidence to support that claim. En español.

Social Media Posts Mislead on COVID-19 Vaccines, Deaths in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has implemented a COVID-19 vaccination program and, although administration of vaccines has slowed due to internal armed conflicts, the program is still underway. But some prominent conservative purveyors of misinformation in the U.S. have made false claims about vaccination efforts and the impact of the pandemic in Afghanistan.

CDC: No Warning Issued for Acute Flaccid Myelitis in 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking outbreaks of acute flaccid myelitis — a serious condition mainly affecting children — since 2014. The CDC hasn’t seen a reason for concern this year, but Facebook posts have wrongly claimed that the agency has issued a “warning of polio-like outbreak” this fall. The claim seems to have originated from an outdated news article.

Biden’s Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Plan
Last month, the Biden administration announced a plan to begin administering third shots of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to healthy people in mid-September to shore up potentially flagging immunity to the coronavirus. But many scientists say that given the available evidence, which shows the two-dose vaccines still provide formidable protection against severe disease, it’s not yet clear that boosters are needed.

Instagram Post Missing Context About Israeli Study on COVID-19 Natural Immunity
An Instagram post highlighted a headline about a non-peer-reviewed study from Israel that found that unvaccinated people previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 had greater immunity against the delta variant than never-infected people fully vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. But the social media post omitted the study’s other finding that one dose of the vaccine enhanced protection for infection survivors. En español.

Researcher Distorts Facts on COVID-19 Vaccine Approval, Liability
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration, though an emergency use authorization also remains in place. Dr. Robert Malone misleadingly said Americans are being offered the shot only under the latter and that it carried different liability ramifications. The liability protections, afforded under a public health law, are the same for the two. En español.

Video: Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines
In this video, FactCheck.org and Univision Noticias teamed up to debunk false claims made by a doctor in Idaho about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and treatments. It is available in both English and Spanish. En español.

Health Sensors Misconstrued as Government Tracking ‘Microchips’
A digital device company is developing gel sensors that would monitor the wearer’s health and could potentially help to detect future outbreaks of disease. But conspiracy theorists are falsely claiming that the sensors are actually COVID-19-detecting microchips that will be used to track people’s movements.

Chiropractor Again Peddles False, Misleading COVID-19 Claims
The delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is more transmissible than previous forms of the virus, and has helped spur an increase in cases, including in children. But a chiropractor in a Facebook video wrongly claims that “it is not showing more of a problem.” That’s one of several misleading and false claims he makes about COVID-19. En español.

Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick’s False Claim About Unvaccinated Black People
The majority of United States residents who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are white, according to available state data and survey research. That contradicts Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s claim that, “in most states,” Black residents are “the biggest group” of unvaccinated people. En español.

Charlie Kirk Misleads on White House Vaccine Policy
Federal employees — including at the White House — must attest to being vaccinated against COVID-19, or else comply with routine testing and mitigation measures. But conservative commentator Charlie Kirk claims that the “White House staff is not required to be vaccinated,” baselessly questioning if undisclosed concerns about the vaccines are at play.

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:

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 that’s likely to go into any American arms is Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, which was designed and developed by the German biotech BioNTech. Here, we give a run-down 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 testing in the U.S. can be found here, and 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 reported cases 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.