Fears regarding the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has led to a lot of rumors circulating online.
There are so many claims popping up each day that VERIFY is compiling a week’s worth of coronavirus fact-checks every Friday. That way, you can easily find every fact-check the team has made about the coronavirus every week.
Here are the fact-checks for the week of April 10:
Stimulus checks won’t impact next year’s tax returns
The $1,200 stimulus rebates the government plans to send Americans as part of the coronavirus relief package will not how much you get for your tax refund next year. It will not be taxed and you won’t have to pay it back.
5G is not contributing to the spread of COVID-19
Rumors about 5G contributing to the spread of COVID-19 were amplified when actor Woody Harrelson shared the claim on his Instagram. The reality of the disease’s spread contradicts this claim. COVID-19 has spread without issue in countries without any 5G, such as France and Iran, and has been contained in South Korea, which has had a more encompassing 5G roll-out than most other countries. When 5G was launched in China, major cities like Shanghai and Beijing were included in the roll-out, yet those cities had very few cases of COVID-19 as compared to Wuhan.
There isn’t a credible salt-coating you can buy to kill viruses on your mask
A Facebook ad was trying to sell a salt-coating you could put on masks to kill viruses like the coronavirus. It quoted a real researcher who is researching this innovation, but the research isn’t complete yet and they took quotes publicly available in his research without his permission. His research isn’t complete yet and therefore no salt-solution for masks that kills viruses exists as of yet.
President Trump does have a small financial stake in companies that make hydroxychloroquine
President Donald Trump has been a proponent of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19, and, just as a New York Times article pointed out, it’s true he has financial stakes in companies that produce hydroxychloroquine drugs. However, it’s worth noting that these financial stakes are a small part of mutual funds within a larger family trust which is controlled by J.P. Morgan and not Trump. Overall, the financial stake he has in these companies is small.
No evidence COVID-19 deaths are being inflated
Conservative commentator and political activist Candace Owens shared an unsourced claim that the COVID-19 death count is being inflated by coroners and medical examiners who are counting asymptomatic carriers who died of heart disease and other causes of deaths. There is no evidence of this claim.
In fact, it’s possible that the truth is that just the opposite is happening. The number is potentially an under count because of people who die without ever getting tested.
The CDC now recommends cloth mask use by everyone
The CDC has changed its mask use recommendation and now believes everyone should wear a cloth mask when they go out in public. The CDC still believes medical masks should be saved for medical professionals. This differs from the agency's previous recommendation, which suggested that only people who are sick or taking care of the sick should wear masks.
Alexa does not blame the government for creating COVID-19
A viral video showed an Amazon Alexa smart speaker telling its users the government planned the COVID-19 pandemic but lost control of the outbreak.
The VERIFY team was unable to replicate this reply and an Amazon representative said they couldn’t replicate it either. The Amazon representative told VERIFY "Alexa uses official government and news sources to provide timely and accurate information related to COVID-19." They also explained how users can create custom responses to questions, which is likely what the user in the viral video did.
Something you'd like VERIFIED? Click here to submit your story.