Coronavirus misinformation: The red flag you should look for

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the new coronavirus spreads, so does misinformation.

Maybe you received a text message with some “helpful” advice on how to battle the coronavirus or even one that explains a simple way to tell if you have it. News4Jax spoke with Dr. Jonathan Kantor, an epidemiologist with the Center for Global Health, about the validity of these messages and the places you should look for the most accurate information.

Kantor said the first red flag in these types of messages is who the sender says they got the information from. In one case, “it’s a friend who works for the CDC.”

“Those should be a red flag. If the CDC had information that was useful, they’re going to post it on their website. They have a very effective and efficient website to post information,” Kantor said.

Kantor pointed out no one is hoarding useful information about the coronavirus. And while the person who first sent the message might have meant no harm, misleading information doesn’t help solve the problem.

“It’s quite possible the first person who wrote this, the first person who sent this did mean well,” Kantor said. “The problem is with evidence-based medicine, we can go beyond just having a hunch that something works. We can check.”

Kantor said if you get one of these messages, just hit delete to contain misleading information until the real experts contain the virus.

We’re keeping you updated here on News4Jax, but you can also go directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to get the basics. Both the CDC and the WHO have frequently asked questions pages full of information that will help debunk some of the myths that you might hear.

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The more you know and understand from a reliable source, the more comfortable you can feel that you’re prepared and protected.

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