Anti-maskers are sharing a deadly coronavirus hoax on Facebook. Here's how to identify and stop it.
via Facebook

Anti-maskers have been passing around a bogus letter they claim is from the Centers for Disease Control that says the organization "does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirator mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19)."

The document also claims that N95 masks are "designed and approved for sterile environments" and that they clog "quickly" rendering them "useless."

It also says that if you come in contact with the virus the mask "traps it" and you "become a walking virus dispenser."







The letter looks official because it's printed on what appears to be CDC letterhead.



However, it is hard to read and littered with typographical errors.


via Facebook


Dr. Jason McKnight with the Texas A&M School of Medicine told KTBX why the documents is obviously fake and how to identify other misinformation campaigns online.

"One, there are very vague terms. Another thing is, if you look and actually read the context or the content, there are a lot of grammar issues and a lot of misspelled words," said McKnight.

He also said the letter was filled with falsehoods.

"As far as the surgical masks go, there's a big falsehood in this document. It says they're useless after 20 to 30 minutes and they're only meant to be used in a sterile environment. That's not exactly true either. They do serve some purpose outside of an operating room and they can be used for way longer than 20 to 30 minutes," said McKnight.

The CDC has also spoken out about the letter.

"CDC typically does not issue guidance or recommendations to the public in such a format," an agency spokesperson told The Daily Beast. It also noted that the letter being shared on social media is a printed notice, something the CDC doesn't do.

"CDC's guidance and recommendations are distributed on the agency's website, officials social media accounts, and through news media," a spokesperson added.

The CDC's website recommends that people should wear masks and that they are safe and effective.

"To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain," the site reads.

At a time when there is a deadly virus running rampant, hoaxes like the fake CDC letter can kill people. Those that believe the letter and stop wearing a mask can either die of COVID-19 or unknowingly spread it to someone who does.

That's why it's so important for people to call out fake documents and conspiracies. The more people that fall for fake information the more will get sick and the longer we'll have to live on lock down.

So if you see something fake being posted online, tell the poster to take it down or report them to content moderators so the misinformation doesn't spread like the virus we're trying to contain.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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