March 24, 2020
BuzzFeed – An outbreak of the novel coronavirus around the globe has spawned countless online rumors and hoaxes, promising false cures and causing panic amid uncertainty.
BuzzFeed News is keeping a running list of debunked hoaxes. For a previous list of debunks from when the outbreak started, go here.
Before passing on any online rumor, take the time to verify it. This can be done by checking how recently an account has been created, keeping a close eye on information from your local authorities, or searching key words to find another source.
1. Text messages attributed to various officials falsely claim cities will go into complete shutdown. Authorities have since clarified that the information is not true.
2. Another fake message claiming to be connected to the UN is spreading hoax claims about a quarantine.
3. Hoax audio claiming to be from someone with sources at the Pentagon has spread online and across group chats. It mirrors the hoax texts attributed to other authorities, which have since been disavowed.
4. US authorities have been cracking down on fake cures for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — including colloidal silver, vitamins, teas, and essential oils. None of these are approved treatments or preventative measures against the disease. Jim Bakker’s dubious health cures.
5. Beware of emails purporting to be from HR departments, executives, and health organizations. Hackers have been using the virus to access computers and steal credentials.
6. A viral post claiming your stomach acid will kill the coronavirus if you drink enough water has some very bad advice, according to various experts.
The post was sent around as a group message and text, later becoming a meme that made the same inaccurate claims.
The best prevention advice is to avoid exposure by practicing social distancing, washing your hands regularly, and avoiding touching your face, mouth, and eyes.
If you feel ill, seek medical attention. And instead of relying on viral chain letters, consult the CDC, the World Health Organization, or the real coronavirus advice being offered by Stanford Medicine.
7. A YouTube video with nearly half a million views falsely and dangerously said that inhaling hot air from a hair dryer can help cure the coronavirus. Inhaling hot air will not thwart COVID-19. Some elected officials have repeated this false claim.
8. A viral WhatsApp post falsely claimed four people sick with COVID-19 got worse after taking anti-inflammatory drugs [such as ibuprofen]. It’s not true, the Journal reported, and authorities have debunked the message.
9. You should still be worried about COVID-19 even if you got flulike symptoms before the outbreak. The first known case in the US was on Jan. 19, and there have been some cases of people who have recovered testing positive again.
10. Another false audio clip was attributed to Australia’s shadow minister for health, Member of Parliament Chris Bowen. Bowen’s office told BuzzFeed News that the audio is “inaccurate/fake and we are unsure of its origin.” Sources/read more.