5 Top COVID-19 Myths, Hoaxes and Fake News

Fake news such as social media posts about “possible future recommendations to shelter in place” contribute to food hoarding and other counter-productive responses. Officials have reassured consumers repeatedly that here is no food shortage in the United States and no need to hoard food.

March 20, 2020 

Fox News  – The surge in myths, hoaxes, and scams surrounding COVID-19 shows no sign of abating.

Here are some of the worst examples of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news making the rounds this week:

1. The new coronavirus was deliberately created or released: False

“Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be,” according to a blog post from Dr. Lisa Lockerd Maragakis, Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The virus is the product of “natural evolution,” said The Scripps Research Institute, citing a new report in the scientific journal Nature Medicine.

2. Pneumonia vaccines work: False

Vaccines against pneumonia only help protect people from specific bacterial infections, according to Harvard Medical School. They do not protect against any coronavirus pneumonia, including pneumonia that may be part of COVID-19.

3. Alternative, home remedy “miracle drug” cures work: False

Amazon recently announced it barred the sale of over 1 million products that falsely claim to cure or provide protection against the coronavirus.

“There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus disease…online or in stores,” said the Federal Trade Commission in an advisory.

4. Emails from the World Health Organization: False

One email scam pretends to give COVID-19 drug advice from the WHO and makes it look like the email is from Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Scams claim to provide critical data about the virus in order to get your sensitive personal information. These are scammers are simply after account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords.

5. Phone calls about the coronavirus: Likely False

Among the most popular scams are a 3M scam call offering a coronavirus safety and medical kit and free iPhones, Netflix, healthcare services, and COVID-19 testing kits … Read more. 

6. People need to buy several weeks’ worth of food due to “possible future recommendations to shelter in place:” False 

Even in those states where officials have recommended sheltering in place (currently NY, IL, and CA), grocery stores remain open and people are free to travel to them. There is plenty of food in the United States. There are spot shortages due to hoarding, a selfish and anti-social behavior. Social media “warnings” to hoard food only create needless panic and choas. – HH