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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Sequencing Used to Identify Delta, Other Coronavirus Variants

Sequencing Used to Identify Delta, Other Coronavirus Variants

Researchers use genomic sequencing — not the clinical tests used to diagnose patients with COVID-19 — to identify and track specific variants of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, including the highly contagious delta variant. But viral posts try to deny the existence of the variant by misleadingly claiming there is “no ‘Delta Variant’ test.”

COVID-19 Surges Among Unvaccinated in Florida, Contrary to Baseless Claims

COVID-19 Surges Among Unvaccinated in Florida, Contrary to Baseless Claims

Florida health officials have reported a 60% rise in COVID-19 cases, and hospitals are reporting that 95% of COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated. But a Facebook post makes the baseless claims that Florida’s numbers are not going up, and that all COVID-19 patients recently admitted to a Palm Beach County hospital had been vaccinated.

Flawed Variant Information Fuels Baseless COVID-19 Theory

Flawed Variant Information Fuels Baseless COVID-19 Theory

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.

Posts Baselessly Link COVID-19 Tests to Vaccine Conspiracy Theory

Posts Baselessly Link COVID-19 Tests to Vaccine Conspiracy Theory

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.

Viral Posts Misrepresent CDC Announcement on COVID-19 PCR Test

Viral Posts Misrepresent CDC Announcement on COVID-19 PCR Test

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.

Beds for Olympic Athletes Were Not Designed for COVID-19 Concerns

Beds for Olympic Athletes Were Not Designed for COVID-19 Concerns

Participants in the 2020 Olympic Games will be subject to many COVID-19 rules. But social media posts and a news report falsely claim athletes will be sleeping on specially made, flimsy “anti-sex beds” to prevent intimacy and COVID-19 infection. The beds were designed before the pandemic and can bear more than 400 pounds, the mattress company said.

Fauci and Paul, Round 2

Fauci and Paul, Round 2

At a July 20 Senate hearing, Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, once again had a testy exchange over whether the U.S. funded gain-of-function research in China, with each man accusing the other of “lying.”