As the world grapples with an unprecedented health crisis, it is now more important than ever to ensure that the information we share is accurate and fact-based. Fake news and misinformation seem to be spreading as fast and as far as the virus itself, infecting our newsfeeds and timelines at this crucial moment.
For this reason, RMIT ABC Fact Check has launched CoronaCheck, an email newsletter in which we will bring you the latest in fact-checking from around the world in relation to the coronavirus.
Ibuprofen and the virus:
Many people have sent us versions of a text claiming that “information from Vienna’s laboratory studying COVID-19” suggests that the “vast majority” of people dying from coronavirus have ibuprofen in their systems.
Fact checkers have been unable to find a basis for this claim, and the Medical University of Vienna has called it “fake news”.
Additionally, a spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health, which is also cited in the post as advising against ibuprofen, told the ABC, the hospital had not issued advice to that effect “at all”.
PolitiFact, Full Fact and BBC Reality Check found there had not been enough research to know whether ibuprofen had any adverse affect on coronavirus sufferers.
Some experts noted, however, that ibuprofen could compromise the body’s immune response.
Workers without paid leave:
Images reminiscent of the Great Depression dominated the media in the past week, with newly unemployed Australians queuing outside Centrelink offices in a bid to access welfare payments.
Many were likely to be workers without paid leave entitlements, such as casuals and the self-employed. RMIT ABC Fact Check examined the issue of insecure work in a fact file published this week.
We found that combining the estimated number of self-employed workers with those in casual employment suggests as many as 4.8 million Australian workers (37 per cent of the national workforce) did not have access to paid leave entitlements in the lead-up to the coronavirus outbreak.
Many of us stuck at home are taking comfort in the fact that we get to spend more time with our favourite four-legged friends.
Some people have expressed concern, however, that our pets may be able to pass on the coronavirus to humans.
A number of fact checks — by our IFCN colleagues at USA Today, Africa Check, PolitiFact and Full Fact, among others — found that while at least one dog did test “weak positive” for coronavirus in Hong Kong, there were questions over the validity of the test and no evidence pets could transmit the virus to humans.
A COVID-19 vaccine:
Scientists around the world, including researchers at the University of Queensland, are hard at work on a COVID-19 vaccine.
But posts shared on social media claiming a vaccine is ready for use are false, according to fact checkers at Full Fact and Reuters. The image included in the posts, which appears to show a packaged vaccine, is actually a photo of a COVID-19 testing kit.
The Department of Health says that, according to the WHO, a publicly available vaccine is 18 months away.
Read more here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-01/corona-check-ibuprofen-vaccine-pets/12105792
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