Coronavirus Myths, Rumors and Misinformation

Published in Dome - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Articles March — June 2020 and Dome - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Articles

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, health care organizations like Johns Hopkins Medicine are focusing all of their efforts on slowing the spread of the new coronavirus and caring for patients. In a situation like this when information is rapidly changing, myths, rumors and misinformation often begin. Social media and other digital platforms can help spread these myths extremely quickly and make them appear correct. Rumors and misinformation can also easily circulate in communities during a crisis.

Fake Face Mask Exemptions

A recent rumor concerns fake face mask exemptions. Fake cards and flyers, claiming that the bearer is exempt from mask-wearing regulations, have shown up in some areas. The cards, which some people have purchased online, may have official-looking logos or government insignias on them. They claim that the person carrying them has a physical or mental condition covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that makes them unable to wear a face mask or covering.

The United States Department of Justice has issued a statement about these fake mask exemptions, explaining that these cards and flyers are fraudulent.

People have tried to use the fake cards to avoid having to wear a mask in public places that require them, such as some stores and restaurants. The cards are not issued by the U.S. government and are not backed by the ADA.

#COVID-19, #Coronavirus Social Media Rumors

Rumors about the new coronavirus, including ones citing Johns Hopkins immunologists, infectious disease experts and other specialists, lack credibility because they are not published by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Medical information about the new coronavirus published on Johns Hopkins Medicine is reviewed by experts in the fields of infection prevention, emergency management and emergency medicine.

Our response to all rumors is to consult our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates resource center for the most up-to-date information from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

How Can You Spot a Rumor?

When evaluating information you find on social media or other outlets, it is important to follow these guidelines:

  • Use trusted sources, such as official government or health care websites and social media channels.
  • Evaluate other information from the source, including links and sources, to see if it appears reliable.
  • Search other credible resources to see if they are sharing similar information.

Learn More About Coronavirus Myths