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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Flawed Report Fuels Erroneous Claims About COVID-19 Death Toll

Flawed Report Fuels Erroneous Claims About COVID-19 Death Toll

Viral social media posts cite a flawed paper in falsely claiming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed death certificate procedures and violated federal law, resulting in wildly inflated COVID-19 deaths. The CDC hasn’t altered how death certificates for COVID-19 are filled out, and there is no federal law governing the process.

Texas Doctor Spreads False Claims About COVID-19 Vaccines

Texas Doctor Spreads False Claims About COVID-19 Vaccines

Federal officials authorized two mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 after they were determined to be safe and effective against symptomatic illness in clinical trials. But a Texas doctor, in a widely shared video, falsely claims the vaccines don’t provide protection and that they’re actually “experimental gene therapy.”

Instagram Post Misrepresents FDA Document About Monitoring Vaccine Safety

Instagram Post Misrepresents FDA Document About Monitoring Vaccine Safety

A Food and Drug Administration presentation on monitoring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines listed possible adverse events the agency might track. But an Instagram post misrepresents the document, falsely claiming it shows the vaccines are known to cause harmful side effects — including death.

Video Airs False, Misleading Claims About Face Masks

Video Airs False, Misleading Claims About Face Masks

Evidence of the efficacy of face masks to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus has grown since the start of the pandemic. But a Facebook video uses false and misleading claims to tell viewers that masks are “unsafe” and “ineffective.”

Headlines Distort the Facts on CDC Mask Order

Headlines Distort the Facts on CDC Mask Order

Headlines shared on social media distort the facts of a recent order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that mandates face masks be worn on public transportation. The order doesn’t require that individuals wear two masks. CDC guidance issued with the order does say that cloth masks should be made of at least two layers.

Instagram Post Distorts Facts on COVID-19 Death Reporting

Instagram Post Distorts Facts on COVID-19 Death Reporting

An Instagram post falsely claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting all pneumonia and influenza deaths as caused by COVID-19. That’s wrong and is based on a misreading of one type of monitoring the agency conducts.

Meme Distorts Facts on Annual Death Statistics

Meme Distorts Facts on Annual Death Statistics

An image circulating on social media erroneously claims that the total number of deaths in the U.S. this year is significantly down compared to previous years. The meme — which implies COVID-19 restrictions weren’t needed — actually uses an incomplete figure for 2020 and makes a flawed comparison.

Biden Adviser Didn’t Propose Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine for Food Stamps

Biden Adviser Didn’t Propose Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine for Food Stamps

A report from two dozen experts — including a doctor named to President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board — recommended using existing social service programs to connect people with COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The report did not advise requiring vaccination in order to receive such services, as social media posts falsely claim.

Pennsylvania Voters Told to Quarantine Can Still Cast a Ballot

Pennsylvania Voters Told to Quarantine Can Still Cast a Ballot

Pennsylvania voters told to quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure are entitled to vote and can request and return an emergency absentee ballot through 8 p.m. on Election Day. A viral Facebook post misleadingly suggests they are being disenfranchised.