July 9, 2020

PolitiFact and MediaWise are teaming up to debunk misinformation about the coronavirus crisis. To have Coronavirus Facts delivered to your inbox weekly, click here.

I hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July weekend. While I spent time visiting with family — socially distant, of course — President Donald Trump held a rally at Mount Rushmore.

“We have tested over 40 million people,” Trump said at the White House on July 4. “By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless. Results that no other country will show, because no other country has testing that we have — not in terms of the numbers or in terms of the quality.”

“Totally harmless” is a strong term, and while people can debate the finer points of what constitutes harm, no definition backs up Trump’s 99% figure.

PolitiFact reached out to the White House and the Trump campaign for the underlying data to support his claim and did not hear back.

Epidemiologists say we continue to learn more about COVID-19 and the damage it causes short of death.

“To cavalierly say that only 1% of infections result in problems is wildly inaccurate,” said Donald Thea, Boston University professor of global health. “We are seeing reports of young people who have recovered from mild cases developing diabetes or blood clots and suffering from chronic fatigue, respiratory compromise, persistent fever or coming back with bacterial sepsis weeks later. There’s too many reports of other organ damage that hints that there are possible long-term serious implications.”

Click here to read the full fact-check. 

Facebook post claims Fauci is married to Ghislaine Maxwell’s sister

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a favorite target of social media misinformation, isn’t married to Ghislaine Maxwell’s sister. Read the fact-check»

Are masks causing lung infections in New York?

No. A Facebook post claiming that New York hospitals are reporting thousands of “fungus lung infections due to wearing a mask” has been refuted by multiple infectious-disease doctors in the state. Get the facts»

Viral image claims to show packed North Carolina beach amid COVID-19 pandemic

“Covid is never going away! This is the beach today in Raleigh, North Carolina,” reads the text along with a photo of a beach packed with people. Two problems: The photo is from Rio de Janeiro, and it was taken in 2013. Read the fact-check»

Did the Trump administration scale back CDC reopening guidelines?

Joe Biden said in a recent speech that President Donald Trump failed to take the necessary steps to get the coronavirus under control. It is Mostly True that the administration delayed and scaled back CDC reopening guidelines. Check it out»

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis claims the press never asked about COVID-19 in May

DeSantis held multiple press conferences in May where reporters asked him many pandemic-related questions about unemployment, reopening plans, testing and outbreaks. Read the fact-check»

Instagram post claims nurses say labs are falsifying coronavirus tests

We could find no evidence that labs are manipulating COVID-19 test results to create false-positives. Similarly unproven claims have been circulating for weeks and echo months-old conspiracy theories. Read more»

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Alex Mahadevan is a senior multimedia reporter at MediaWise. He can be reached at amahadevan@poynter.org or on Twitter at @AlexMahadevan. Follow MediaWise on TikTok.

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Alex Mahadevan is senior multimedia reporter with the MediaWise project. He most recently worked as a data journalist at the personal finance startup The Penny…
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