Misinformation about COVID-19 is being widely spread through email and social media in the name of John Hopkins University, but the school says it has no connection to it, according to the Hub, a John Hopkins news service.
One message -- a purported “excellent summary” -- has circulated worldwide over the past few weeks, the report says. It includes 20 bullet points, opening with this claim: “The virus is not a living organism.”
The messages are variously attributed to a Johns Hopkins doctor or immunologist or to "Irene Ken, whose daughter is an Asst. Prof in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University," the report says.
The false messages have been classified as “misattributed” by the fact-checking resource Snopes, it adds.
"We have seen rumors and misinformation circulating on social around the coronavirus and have received questions from many of you about these posts." "Rumors and misinformation like this can easily circulate in communities during a crisis,” states John Hopkins Medicine.
It adds: “The rumors that we have seen in greater volumes are those citing a Johns Hopkins immunologist and infectious disease expert. We do not know the origin of these rumors and they lack credibility."
Mark Dredze, an associate professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, advises people: “Be skeptical and consult a trusted authority.”
Dredze continues: “Go to the websites of the CDC or local public health authorities, and check if it’s something they recommend. If it's something medically related, consult with your doctor."