Coronavirus Resources: The Truth About COVID-19

A frightening global event with life or death consequences presents the greatest possible challenge to information quality.

Coronavirus Resources: The Truth About COVID-19

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

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)

International Health Departments and Ministries

Reliable Media

Chinese Media

Additional Fact Checking

  • Snopes: Debunked coronavirus stories from the previous week. You can see every post on the subject here
  • 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.