A conspiracy theory online baselessly suggests that the World Health Organization and other groups preplanned the variants of the novel coronavirus — citing a dubious timeline. But the timeline doesn’t square with the reality of when variants have been identified and designated thus far.
The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use must be administered via injection. But Instagram posts baselessly suggest that Bill Gates and George Soros will use COVID-19 tests to secretly vaccinate people who haven’t yet received the shots. There is no evidence for that conspiracy theory, and scientists say trying to administer a vaccine with a swab would likely not be effective.
Scientists consider polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests a highly reliable tool for diagnosing COVID-19. But social media posts are misrepresenting a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement regarding the eventual discontinuation of its own test, falsely claiming the government has conceded that PCR tests aren’t reliable.
The COVID-19 vaccines have been shown in trials and real-world application to be safe and effective. But a paper shared widely online claimed that vaccines cause two deaths for every three lives saved. Experts say the analysis misinterpreted data and was flawed — and it has now been retracted by the journal that published it.
Some popular online posts suggest that Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to El Paso is “over 1000 miles away” from the “border crisis.” It’s true that other areas — including the Rio Grande Valley — are experiencing higher levels of border activity, as critics have noted, but El Paso is a hotspot for illegal immigration.
A chemical widely used to sterilize medical devices is also used for nasal swabs in COVID-19 testing. But a viral video misleadingly suggests that the swabs are dangerous — saying that the chemical causes cancer and can alter DNA. Experts say the chemical’s use in this context does not pose a threat to human health.
Thousands of pages of redacted emails to and from Dr. Anthony Fauci are now publicly available, thanks to journalists’ Freedom of Information Act requests. Some of those messages have been distorted in viral posts, particularly about face masks, the origins of the coronavirus and the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.