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

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.

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.”

Websites and Social Posts Misrepresent CDC Director’s Comments on Breakthrough Deaths

Websites and Social Posts Misrepresent CDC Director’s Comments on Breakthrough Deaths

In a May 16 interview, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said the agency knew of 223 breakthrough fatalities among fully vaccinated individuals, but “not all … died of COVID.” That is not an admission that “many, many hospitals” previously “overcounted” COVID-19 deaths, as conservative websites have reported.

Meme Featuring DeSantis Presents Misleading Picture of COVID-19 and Vaccine Safety

Meme Featuring DeSantis Presents Misleading Picture of COVID-19 and Vaccine Safety

COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020. But a meme featuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis minimizes the toll the pandemic already has taken — particularly among the elderly. The meme also questions getting inoculated, despite the safety record of the vaccines and DeSantis’ public support for vaccines.

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.

Biden Hasn’t Reduced COVID-19 Testing at the Border

Biden Hasn’t Reduced COVID-19 Testing at the Border

The Biden administration has made no changes to COVID-19 testing policies for either U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Patrol. But a claim circulating online falsely suggests that the administration has stopped testing detained immigrants before they are released.

How lethal is COVID-19?

It’s difficult to know exactly how deadly COVID-19 is, but as the World Health Organization has written, studies estimate that the infection fatality ratio, or percentage of deaths out of all infections, is between 0.5% and 1%. The true rate isn’t clear, since the pandemic is ongoing and not all infections have been diagnosed.
The case fatality rate, or percentage of deaths out of confirmed cases, was 1.8% in the United States as of July 9.

What Do the New Coronavirus Variants Mean for the Pandemic?

What Do the New Coronavirus Variants Mean for the Pandemic?

Q: What are the risks of the newly identified coronavirus variants?
A: It’s not yet known whether mutant versions cause more severe disease, but some are likely more contagious. Scientists expect vaccines will work but are monitoring the situation.

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.