Caution: Combating Coronavirus Misinformation

Rumors and speculation are spreading as rapidly as the virus - check the facts before you believe them

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It’s only natural to seek out information about a new virus COVID-19 – but it’s something scientists are still learning about – so we don’t have all the answers.

Some people are filling that void with misinformation, others are misunderstanding what the experts are saying.

“We are at a critical point in this outbreak,” said Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel.

If you’re struggling with whether to be concerned about coronavirus or not panic about the pandemic – you’re not alone.

Health officials across the world agree this is uncharted territory – and that’s something that makes this novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 so different from the flu.

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted many in the Bay State, with dozens of cases being acknowledged by health officials. Many colleges are moving to online education to prevent the disease from spreading.

“Public health authorities are recognizing that not all cases can be linked to international travel or to isolated chains of transmission,” Bharel said.

Separating fact from fiction can be increasingly difficult when you’re being bombarded by speculation on social media and rapidly evolving information.

For example, several people have been asserting online that there is only one case of coronavirus in Massachusetts – when health officials had said there were 95 people as of Wednesday who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Health officials clarified a presumptive positive test is a positive test, whether it’s confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control or not.

“We have complete confidence in our state department of public health in sorting the determination on the case, it’s just that we have to use the technical term, presumptive positive,” Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.

On the other hand, rumors have gotten out of control – with some spreading false information like impending lockdowns and dozens of deaths in local communities.

“In general individuals recover well from this disease and as you may recall from previous discussions, of everybody who gets COVID-19, the vast majority, over 80% have mild symptoms,” Bharel said.

Bottom line – if it sounds far-fetched, it probably is.

For direct information, you can visit the CDC or DPH website to answer any questions you may have.

Concerns over the coronavirus have led to a boom in business for cleaning companies across New England.
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