Debunking pandemic myths

Nurses and doctors walk through a hallway.
Medical workers at University Hospital in Madison, Wis. work in one of the hospital's COVID-19 units, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. As coronavirus infections surge, patients are filling all 28 of the unit’s beds.
Angela Major | WPR

Have you heard about that treatment that completely cures COVID-19?  

Well, it doesn’t exist. 

Misinformation about COVID-19 seems to spread as fast as the virus itself and the flow of falsehood is making it even more difficult to curb the pandemic.  

False claims swirl around the safety of potential vaccines, the usefulness of masks, the effectiveness of treatments, the accuracy of COVID-19 case counts and even around the origin of the virus.  

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A recent study by researchers at the University of Delaware found that a third of respondents agreed with false statements such as “Big Pharma is encouraging the spread of coronavirus to make money.” People who embrace these conspiracy theories were also less likely to say they would get vaccinated or follow public health recommendations. 

Disinformation flourishes in situations where demand for information is high, but the supply of credible information is low. How can you trust what you hear and what you read? What role does social media play in spreading the rumors?  

Every Monday at 9 a.m., MPR News host Kerri Miller delves into the science and research of COVID-19. This Monday listeners shared the questionable information they’re hearing and put rumors to the test with a health educator and an infectious disease doctor who know their facts. 


  • Dr. Nahid Bhadelia is an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center.

  • Lindsey Leininger is a public health educator at “Dear Pandemic” and a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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