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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center
SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project

Health Sensors Misconstrued as Government Tracking ‘Microchips’

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.

Hospitals Overwhelmed by Another Surge of COVID-19 Patients, Financial Strain

Hospitals Overwhelmed by Another Surge of COVID-19 Patients, Financial Strain

The seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. has increased by 322% in two months, straining the ability of medical staff in some states to care for patients. Despite the rising numbers, an Instagram post questioned whether COVID-19 is “truly a pandemic that was ‘overwhelming hospitals,'” if hospitals are firing nurses who refuse to be 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.

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.

Baseless Conspiracy Theory Follows Deaths of Haitian President, Other National Leaders

Baseless Conspiracy Theory Follows Deaths of Haitian President, Other National Leaders

Following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, social media posts baselessly suggest that he and other world leaders were killed or died because they opposed COVID-19 vaccination in their countries. All the leaders named in the posts, except Moïse, died of natural causes. At least one supported vaccination.  

Meme Trumpets Falsehood About Delta Variant

Meme Trumpets Falsehood About Delta Variant

The delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads more quickly than the original virus and has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. It is now the dominant variant in the U.S. But a meme has been circulating on Facebook falsely claiming the delta variant is “fake news.”

Spoof Video Furthers Microchip Conspiracy Theory

Spoof Video Furthers Microchip Conspiracy Theory

A list of the ingredients used in COVID-19 vaccines is publicly available, and the ingredients don’t include microchips. Yet claims advancing conspiracy theories that they do continue to flourish. A recent video purports to show a microchip reader for pets detecting a chip in a vaccinated person’s arm — but the original video was created as a joke.

Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

Idaho Doctor Makes Baseless Claims About Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

A viral video features a doctor making dubious claims about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments at a forum hosted by Idaho’s lieutenant governor. Dr. Ryan Cole claims mRNA vaccines cause cancer and autoimmune diseases, but the lead author of the paper on which Cole based that claim told us there is no evidence mRNA vaccines cause those ailments.