Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

COVID-19 - Novel Coronavirus

What is an Infodemic?

The term infodemic refers to an excessive amount of information about a problem, some of which is false, being a detriment to its solution. The term was coined by the World Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the Munich Security Conference on Feb 15.  He was quoted as saying “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic” 

This page includes selected resources for locating quality information, identifying bad actors and for interrupting related racisms, microaggressions, and xenophobia related to the current coronavirus outbreak.

Mythbusters

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks.COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.  COVID-19 is spread through respiratoatry droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19

No. Hand dryers cannot kill the new coronavirus. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water to protect yourself. Once your hands are cleaned, dry them by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

People of all ages can become sick with COVID-19. Older people and people who already have other health conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease) might have a higher chance of being very ill. People of all ages should take steps to protect themselves, like washing your hands.

Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also able to get it?

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Can the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates

Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.  The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.  However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

How to Spot Misinformation

  1. Vet the publisher’s credibility.
    • Would the publishing site meet academic citation standards? Just because a site is popular among your friends does not mean its content is accurate.
    • What is the domain name? Be wary of odd domain names, like “.com.co.” A url like “abcnews” may appear credible, but note that abcnews.com.co is a different site masquerading as the original.
    • What’s the publication’s purpose? Read the “About Us” section for more insight into the publisher, leadership, and mission statement. Also, confirm that you have not stumbled upon a satirical news site, like The Onion.
    • Who is the author? Have they published anything else? Be suspicious if the author is a celebrity writing for a little-known site or if the author’s contact information is a gmail address.
  2. Pay attention to quality and timeliness.

    • Do you notice a lot of spelling errors, ALL CAPS, strong language or dramatic punctuation?!?!?! If so, consider using another source. Reputable sources have high proofreading and grammatical standards.  

    • Are you sure the story is current? Verify that an older story isn’t being recycled or taken out of context.
  3.  Check the sources and citations.

    • How did you find the article? If the content showed up in your social media feed or was promoted on a website known for clickbait, proceed with caution. Even if the information was shared by a friend, be sure to vet the publisher’s credibility.

    • Who is (or is not) quoted, and what do they say? If you notice a lack of contributing sources, particularly on complex issues, then something is amiss. Credible journalism is fed by fact-gathering, so a lack of research likely means a lack of credible information.

    • Is the information available elsewhere? If not, then it’s possible that the information is false or the information has not been verified. 

  4. Ask the pros.
    • Try visiting a fact-checking website.

Misinformation and Xenophobia Resources

How to choose your news

Fact Checking Resources