The other outbreak: False and misleading COVID-19 claims

As the coronavirus spreads, so is a plague of false and misleading information. It’s fueling confusion and division that could undermine our ability to fight the virus. 

For example, this week, a video claiming to show the president mocking his supporters for not wanting to wear masks went viral. But the video is fake.

“I can’t say health reasons,” the president appears to say in the video. “They don’t care about their health.”

Audio from a comedian doing a Trump impression as part of a separate comedy bit was dubbed over real video of the president, along with a fake banner making it look as if it’s from the conservative watchdog Project Veritas. 

It is not. 

Meanwhile, President Trump helped fuel anoher viral video by praising one of the doctors in it. Stella Immanuel falsely claimed to have found a cure for COVID-19. 

There is no known cure for COVID-19.  But she claimed the drug hydroxychloroquine would make it go away. 

While some studies note hydroxychloroquine could help alleviate some symptoms, the FDA found the known and potential risks outweigh any potential benefit

The National Institutes of Health halted clinical trials as researchers determined it provides no benefit. 

A VA study found veterans who took it were no less likely to have to go on a ventilator, and fatality rates increased among those veterans who took it. 

The study in the New England of Journal of Medicine showed no benefit in treating COVID-19 and more adverse events -- other health problems -- among those who took it. 

The Food and Drug Administration cautioned against using it outside of a hospital setting or clinical trial due to the risk of heart rhythm problems as well as lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failures.

The FDA determined it is no longer reasonable to believe hydroxychloroquine may be effective. And it revoked its emergency use authorization for treating COVID-19.

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“I’m telling you, it will stop COVID in its tracks in 30 days,” Stella Immanuel says in the video.

This same doctor also previously made other claims, including a warning that serious physical health problems may be due to evil spirits raping people in their sleep. 

And while the president did repeatedly praise her and retweet a tweet calling her a fearless warrior for the truth, he also said he promoted her not knowing anything about her.  
“I thought her voice was an important voice but I know nothing about her,” Trump insisted.

The president’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, responded to the spread of misinformation in that video as directly as he could on news networks in this country and around the world.  

“We are all being tested by two infectious outbreaks -- one we can’t see; the other we see far too often on social media.”