Facts are under assault in 2020.
We can't fight back misinformation about the election and COVID-19 without you. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 94% of people who died of COVID-19 had other conditions, they still died from COVID-19.
A recent Facebook post rounds up a lot of misinformation about the coronavirus and presents it as fact.
"Covid-19 is NOT killing people," it says. "Weak immune systems and bad doctors are. The tests are rigged. The death count is false. Masks are useless. Hand sanitizer is toxic. Vaccines are poison. The government and media are lying."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We’ve already looked into several claims in the post.
COVID-19 tests aren’t rigged. A common cold won’t cause a false positive, the tests are not scientifically meaningless (though there’s new thinking about the most effective testing methods), and we’ve found no evidence that labs are deliberately manipulating test results.
The death count isn’t false. It’s at about 187,000 in the United States and rising. If anything, doctors say that there’s an undercount of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
Masks aren’t useless. A growing body of evidence shows that wearing one can reduce transmission of COVID-19.
Health officials recommend using hand sanitizer to kill the coronavirus.
So what about the allegation that the COVID-19 isn’t killing people — and that their weak immune systems are?
Anyone — not just people who are immunocompromised — can catch COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill: older adults and people with underlying medical conditions. The CDC also urges people with weakened immune systems to protect themselves from the disease.
"Many conditions and treatments can weaken a person’s immune system (making them ‘immunocompromised’)," the CDC says, listing examples such as cancer, bone marrow transplant and HIV.
The CDC found that of the people who died from COVID-19, 6% had only the coronavirus, while the rest had other conditions as well. But that doesn’t mean that only 6% of people actually died from COVID-19, as the president recently claimed.
Comorbidities are conditions that patients experience in tandem with a primary condition. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a recent interview with "Good Morning America" that it "does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of COVID-19 — they did."
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the public health department in Chicago, explained during a news conference that coronavirus can exacerbate or cause health problems. "If, unfortunately, this person dies while they’re in the hospital, the doctor has to fill out the death certificate and you list things that this person had as well as what is the ultimate cause of death," she said.
Like Fauci, she said that these people are dying from COVID-19 — not their other conditions.
And young, healthy people do die from COVID-19, even if they represent a minority of the disease’s victims, according to the Proto, a publication from Massachusetts General Hospital.
We rate this Facebook post False.
Facebook post, Aug. 31, 2020
PolitiFact, No, the common cold won’t cause a false positive COVID-19 test, July 31, 2020
PolitiFact, COVID-19 tests are not ‘scientifically meaningless,’ July 7, 2020
PolitiFact, Fact-checking claims about nurses getting nothing false-positive COVID-19 tests, July 2, 2020
PolitiFact, COVID-19 skeptics say there’s an overcount. Doctors in the field say the opposite, April 14, 2020
PolitiFact, Wisconsin GOP lawmaker wrong that masks have been ‘proven ineffective’ against COVID-19, July 30, 2020
PolitiFact, Hand sanitizer can be used to prevent coronavirus infection, March 3, 2020
PolitiFact, There’s no evidence that a US COVID-19 vaccine killed 5 Ukrainians, July 30, 2020
PolitiFact, No, the coronavirus vaccines in development haven’t killed children, July 1, 2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, People who are at increased risk for severe illness, updated June 25, 2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, If you are immunocompromised, protect yourself from COVID-19, May 14, 2020
PolitiFact, Trump repeats false claim about COVID-19 deaths on Fox News, Sept. 3, 2020
Block Club Chicago, Yes, 94% of those who died from coronavirus had other illnesses — but the virus was what killed them, top doc says, Sept. 1, 2020
Proto, Why do young, healthy people die from COVID-19? April 14, 2020
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.