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2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Fact vs. Fiction

How to determine if a Coronavirus story is real or a hoax?

Article suggesting African blood resists the coronavirus

There are a lot of rumors and misinformation about the novel coronavirus. For example, a U.S. Senator repeated unsupported rumors about the origin of the virus, so it's easy to be tricked into believing inaccurate news. These three fact-checking methods will help determine whether info about COVID-19 is fact or fiction. Let's say you find a headline like the one below:

 

 

Google search asking are Africans resistant to coronavirus?

1. Search the Internet on the topic (e.g. Coronavirus and cure and African blood). Legitimate info will likely have been reported in a mainstream news source. If you can't find one, you should be skeptical of the information. If it is not legitimate, you will probably find articles that fact-check the claim and verified that it is a hoax. As you can see, the first three results are fact-checks that indicate the claim to be false.

 

Article suggesting coronavirus was grown in a Wuhan lab2. Investigate the site where you found the information. Some sources produce fact-based articles, while other sources are known for producing a mix of real and made up news reports, such as satire or spoofed news. The article below is published by The Washington Times, whose website is designed to look a lot like the well-respected newspaper The Washington Post.

To learn about the reputation of The Washington Times, search the Internet for The Washington Times. All major news sources will have a Wikipedia entry about themselves. In this case, the third paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for The Washington Times makes it clear that it is not a trustworthy source.

Wikipedia entry for the Washington Times

3. Search for the newspaper, magazine, or website in Media Bias Fact CheckThis will often tell you how high a level of factual reporting they provide. Most media sources will have some bias, and you should generally avoid sources with extreme biases.  Rather, you should try to seek out news that originates from sources with a high level of factual reporting. 

Misinformation of Coronavirus: "Infodemic"

If you want to figure out whether information you're finding on the Coronavirus is real or fake news, check out the COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction page.