It’s not known what sparked the wildfires in Maui, although some evidence points to downed power lines. The conditions were ripe for fire, as large amounts of invasive grasses were dry due to drought and high winds helped to rapidly spread flames. Bogus posts on social media, however, are baselessly claiming the fires were intentionally set.
Each year, respiratory syncytial virus hospitalizes 58,000 to 80,000 children under age 5 in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved an antibody injection for babies to protect them during the RSV season. There isn’t evidence the shots have killed any babies, contrary to social media claims.
The White House declared the site of the Maui wildfires a disaster area, and the Department of Defense has provided more than 400 troops, air support and other resources in firefighting and recovery efforts. Yet posts on Instagram misrepresent the federal response and one falsely claimed “the military is standing down.”
A Swiss study found that after a COVID-19 booster, less than 3% of people briefly had a slightly elevated blood level of a protein that can be a marker of heart injury. No one in the study had any serious heart damage, and other experts say the findings are unlikely to be clinically significant. Viral posts, however, are spinning the results to falsely claim that the study shows the vaccine’s risks are “off the scale.”
A Florida school district is allowing students to read only excerpts of “Romeo and Juliet” in class — not passages with sexual content. But a Facebook post incorrectly suggests all Florida high schools are removing the “full text” of the play from classrooms. The state’s education commissioner included the play on a recommended reading list for grades nine to 12.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s battle against vaccines — and against the institutions that promote them — goes back to at least the mid-2000s, as we explain in the first article of this series. But the arrival of COVID-19 gave the environmental attorney fresh grounds to intensify his attacks and a timely platform to gain new followers and revenue.