A frightening global event with life or death consequences presents the greatest possible challenge to information quality. Viral misinformation, disinformation, outright fraud, political motives, the opportunity to make a quick buck, and attention seeking drives the creation of massive amounts of content to feed the insatiable demand that fear has fuelled.
I'm not going to break down the information challenges in detail here but I have compiled quality resources and links to those who are tirelessly calling out the misinformation as it arises.
The bottom line is that there are reliable experts and organizations that can be trusted here. Getting your outbreak news from one of the thousands of brand new and anonymous Twitter accounts pushing viral videos, "independent" media sites that are also trying to sell you survival supplies, highly partisan sources that always have a political aim in their "reporting", or anyone claiming to have a cure is sure to produce poor, possibly even life-threatening, results.
This list is far from complete but it will point you to solid sources that traffic in official data and medically/scientifically accurate information. I will update it periodically throughout the outbreak.
Please note that links to Chinese media are included in a dedicated section. These are obviously subject to government control but I would still consider them essential monitoring in this situation as long as that bias is clearly understood.
Mapping the Outbreak
- Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE: Cases and outcomes with a geographic breakdown. The team that built the dashboard has provided useful background and insight into their approach and data sources here
- Mapping the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak: Excellent look behind the scenes as experts rush to aggregate data and map the outbreak
World Health Organization (WHO)
- Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019
- Daily Situation Reports: An excellent source of official data, assessments, counter-measures, and recommendations
- Advice for the Public: Prevention, hygine, myths, and more
- Myth Busters: Debunking rumours, misguided fear, and bogus treatments
- WHO Resources on Twitter: WHO has a large active presence on Twitter that expands well beyond the primary official account. They also maintain lists of news sources, experts, and NGOs that might not be endorsed by WHO but are generally trustworthy sources
- Facebook: An official and reliable source - as long as you disregard the comments
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- COVID-19 Homepage: Links to the latest news updates and information for travellers, businesses, healthcare professionals, laboratories, and more
- Official Twitter Accounts: A list of over 50 accounts maintained by the primary CDC Twitter account
- Facebook: The posts are reliable but the comments - not so much
- Frequently Asked Questions: A growing list of COVID-19 related questions
- Official Count of Cases in the U.S.: The latest counts for positive, negative, and pending cases with breakdowns by state
- About 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): How it spreads, symptoms, prevention and more
International Health Departments and Ministries
- National Health Commission of China: Party cheerleading with little to no useful resources
- Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau: Limited resources but regular news updates are published
- Singapore Ministry of Health: Portal for official statistics, threat level, and related updates
- Thailand Ministry of Public Health: Alert level, status reports and other information
- Vietnam Ministry of Health: Extensive resources - some available in English
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Data and situation reports. Significant resources
- Japan Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare: Lacking in resources at the time of publication
- India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: Links to travel guidance, instructions for healthcare professionals, other contact points, and additional resources
- Wikipedia: Global directory of health departments and ministries
- AP Virus Outbreak: Aggregates all AP stories on the topic
- BBC Coronavirus Outbreak: Aggregates BBC reporting
- CNN: Live updates on the outbreak
- NHK World-Japan: All coronavirus tagged stories
- CNBC: Tracking the impact on global business
- SCMP: South China Morning Post is based in Hong Kong
- SCMP News on Twitter
- CGTN: China Global Television Network
- CGTN YouTube: Frequently broadcasts press conferences about the outbreak
- CGTN on Twitter
- Xinhua: Official state-run press agency of the People's Republic of China
- Xinhua on Twitter
- CCTV: China Central Television (CCTV)
- CCTV on Twitter
- China Daily: Maintains a dedicated coronavirus fact checking site
Additional Fact Checking
- Snopes: Debunked coronavirus stories from the previous week. You can see every post on the subject here
- Fact-Check.org: A growing list of debunked conspiracies and misinformation
- Buzzfeed: Jane Lytvynenko (@JaneLytv) compiled an excellent early round-up of misinformation - all of which is still in circulation in one form or another. Other stories by Jane on the topic can be found here
- Politifact: Has a handful of posts on the virus
- AFPFactCheck: Frequent coronavirus related fact checks. Also on Twitter
- Washington Post: The Coronavirus is Spreading Rapidly. So is Misinformation About it.
- CNN: As Coronavirus spreads, So Does Online Misinformation
- BBC Trending: Misinformation Spreads Online About Origin and Scale
- Poynter: These are false cures and fake preventative measures against coronavirus. Help fact-checkers spread the word
- The Sydney Morning Herald: Gladys Liu's message for Australia: 'Don't be scared'
- Foreign Policy: Russia Knows Just Who to Blame for the Coronavirus: America
Preparing for an Outbreak
I wrote a follow-up post with resources primarily aimed at Americans who need to prepare for community spread.
As always, reach out if you have suggestions.