A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Hospital Payments and the COVID-19 Death Count

Hospital Payments and the COVID-19 Death Count

Q: Are hospitals inflating the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths so they can be paid more?
A: Recent legislation pays hospitals higher Medicare rates for COVID-19 patients and treatment, but there is no evidence of fraudulent reporting.

Reports Didn’t Misrepresent One Man’s Death as Two

Reports Didn’t Misrepresent One Man’s Death as Two

A bogus meme on Facebook suggests that the news media has tried to pass off one man’s death, attributed to complications from COVID-19, as two separate cases. But the headlines cited simply focused on different parts of his biography.

TV News Report Prompts Unfounded Attacks on Michigan Governor

TV News Report Prompts Unfounded Attacks on Michigan Governor

A TV station’s report on a Michigan fine for those violating the state’s social distancing orders showed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a signing ceremony with an intimate crowd of people — prompting accusations of hypocrisy on social media. But the footage used was from January 2019.

False Claim of Deadly Coronavirus Vaccine Trial in Africa

False Claim of Deadly Coronavirus Vaccine Trial in Africa

Posts across social media are falsely claiming that a vaccine trial for the novel coronavirus in Senegal resulted in the death of seven children. The video behind those claims does not show that. And there is no clinical trial for a potential vaccine currently taking place in Senegal.

Social Media Posts Make Baseless Claim on COVID-19 Death Toll

Social Media Posts Make Baseless Claim on COVID-19 Death Toll

Viral posts wrongly suggest that the COVID-19 death toll is exaggerated because “the state” has instructed that “anyone who didnt die by a gun shot wound or car accident” be listed as a coronavirus victim. Experts say there is no such default classification — and that the U.S. death count is probably underestimated.

Misinformation on COVID-19 Death Protocols in New York

Misinformation on COVID-19 Death Protocols in New York

A viral Facebook post about COVID-19 falsely claims that in New York “every contaminated corpse belongs to the state” and will be incinerated without any “wakes or memorial services to pay your last respects.” The state is allowing funeral services with limited visitors; cremation is not mandated.

Hoax Letter Stirs Confusion About Missouri Schools

Hoax Letter Stirs Confusion About Missouri Schools

A false claim that students in Missouri will have to repeat the school year was pushed online through a viral letter with a state logo as part of an April Fool’s hoax. State officials have publicly debunked the claim.

Baseless Attack on News Media Over Photo of Coffins

Baseless Attack on News Media Over Photo of Coffins

A viral post on Facebook claims without substantiation that the “media” is running a photo of coffins from a 2017 movie with news stories about the novel coronavirus pandemic in Italy. The picture is actually from 2013; it did appear in the 2017 movie, too, but there’s no evidence it’s being used by credible news organizations now.

Flawed Comparison on Coronavirus, H1N1 Emergency Timelines

Flawed Comparison on Coronavirus, H1N1 Emergency Timelines

Facebook posts falsely claim that it “took [President Barack] Obama ‘millions infected and over 1,000 deaths’ to declare the H1N1 flu a health emergency,” but President Donald Trump “declared a health emergency” before the first coronavirus death. In reality, both administrations declared public health emergencies before the first reported deaths.

False Claim of Congressional Pay Raises in Stimulus Bill

False Claim of Congressional Pay Raises in Stimulus Bill

Facebook posts falsely claim that House Democrats included $25 million to boost their own salaries in their proposal for the coronavirus-related stimulus package. That funding is not for legislators’ pay increases; it’s also in the bill being advanced by the Republican-controlled Senate.