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Coronavirus: The Infodemic - August 16

Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine.
Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine.

Fake news about the coronavirus can do real harm. is spotlighting fact-checks from other reliable sources here​.

Daily Debunk

Claim: A controversial study co-authored by MIT biologists concluded that COVID-19 vaccines would change the recipient’s DNA.

Verdict: Missing context.

Read the full story at: Reuters

Social Media Disinfo


Circulating on social media: An image shared among multiple Facebook users in Sri Lanka appearing to a show a pile of "body bags," along with a claim that it shows coronavirus fatalities.

Verdict: False

Read the full story at: Agence France-Presse

Factual Reads on Coronavirus

Scientists unlock clues to determining how safe vaccinated people are from Covid-19
It’s a pressing goal for scientists who are still trying to understand what immunity to the coronavirus looks like, how robustly vaccines protect us over time, and how protected people are who’ve had and recovered from Covid-19.
-- Stat, August 16

WHO Expert Says Chinese Officials Pushed Investigators to Reject Lab-Leak Theory
Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO food safety and animal diseases expert who led the organization’s investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, says in a new documentary that Chinese colleagues influenced the presentation of the team’s findings.
-- Yahoo, August 12

Israel, 80% Vaccinated, Suffers Another Covid-19 Surge
Country delivers more booster shots, restores mask and quarantine mandates as Delta variant drives up hospitalizations.
-- Wall Street Journal (via Mint), August 12

We should not dismiss the possibility of eradicating COVID-19: comparisons with smallpox and polio
Our scoring for eradicability suggests that COVID-19 eradication might be slightly more feasible than for polio (although only two of three serotypes eradicated to date), but much less so than smallpox.
-- BMJ Global Health, August 9

COVID-19 vaccinemaker Novavax faces manufacturing setback
The U.S. government has ordered Novavax to stop making vaccine in the United States and said it will offer the company no more manufacturing funding until it passes muster with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) strict manufacturing requirements, such as ensuring each lot of vaccine has the same potency.
-- Science, August 6

Will the Delta Variant Peak and Then Burn Out?
Some experts are heartened by the recent decrease in COVID-19 cases in the U.K. and India, both hard-hit with the Delta variant.
-- Medscape, August 4

‘Breakthrough’ Infections Do Not Mean COVID Vaccines Are Failing
Getting flu again post-inoculation is more common than a return case after a COVID shot.
-- Scientific American, August 4

Pfizer Raises Price of Covid-19 Vaccine by 25% in Europe: Report
Pfizer's covid-19 vaccine will be the highest revenue drug in history by the end of 2021.
-- Gizmodo, August 2

Berlin protesters decry coronavirus measures; 600 detained
Thousands turned out in Berlin on Sunday to protest the German government’s anti-coronavirus measures despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to clashes with police and the detention of some 600 protesters.
-- Associated Press, August 1

‘The war has changed’: Internal CDC document urges new messaging, warns delta infections likely more severe
The internal presentation shows that the agency thinks it is struggling to communicate on vaccine efficacy amid increased breakthrough infections.
-- Washington Post, July 29

The Noble Lies of COVID-19
Do we want public health officials to report facts and uncertainties transparently? Or do we want them to shape information to influence the public to take specific actions?
-- Slate, July 28

Spaniards put faith in COVID-19 vaccines even as cases surge
[T]he emphasis on vaccines as the salvation could also have contributed to Spain’s young letting down their guards as curfews and face mask requirements were lifted, just as the delta variant arrived. The result is that, despite its smooth vaccine rollout, Spain is currently one of Europe’s hot spots for new infections.
-- Associated Press, July 25

Vaccinated people make up 75% of recent COVID-19 cases in Singapore, but few fall ill
While the data shows that vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases, it also underscores the risk that even those inoculated could be contagious, so that inoculation alone may not suffice to halt transmission.
-- Reuters, July 23

The Best Coronavirus Myth-Busting Collections


COVID19 Infodemics Observatory

Agence France Presse



Associated Press

Washington Post


Mapping COVID-19 Casualties

Reliable Coronavirus Information

World Health Organization

U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Federation of American Scientists

Emergency Physicians

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine​

Pan American Health Organization

Google COVID‑19 Information & Resources