Fears regarding the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has led to a lot of rumors circulating online.
There are so many claims popping up each day that VERIFY is compiling a week’s worth of coronavirus fact-checks every Friday. That way, you can easily find every fact-check the team has made about the coronavirus every week.
Here are the fact-checks for the week of May 15:
Don’t get scammed out of your stimulus check money
The Federal Trade Commission warned that scammers may try to get you to deposit a fake check and send a certain percentage of the money back for the payment to go through, or may try to get you to send personal information like your social security or bank account numbers. An FTC attorney said, “the IRS will not call, text you, email you, or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the stimulus payments.” And they won’t ask you to send money. Additionally, the Department of Treasury released a guide for tips on identifying real checks from the IRS. The Treasury Department also has a website where you can enter your check number to verify it’s real.
A House bill does not force you to get vaccines
Despite claims to the contrary, there is not a single mention of vaccinations in H.R. 6666, a house bill introduced on May 1. The money allocated in the bill is strictly for organizations to use for testing, contact tracing and quarantining in medically underserved areas and COVID-19 hot spots.
HR 6666 doesn’t make testing or quarantines mandatory, either
More claims about H.R. 6666 arose later in the week, this time saying the bill would allow for people to forcibly test you in your home and then remove you from your home and your children for quarantining. This is not the case. While the bill provides funding for door-to-door funding, it does not say the testing is mandatory and the representative who sponsors the bill has clarified that testing is voluntary. The bill mentions self-quarantines at home rather than quarantines out of the home, and Rep. Bobby Rush clarified that this is voluntary as well.
The American COVID-19 survival rate is not over 99.9%
Survival rate is measured by the amount of people who have gotten a disease but did not die from it. So using the current data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American survival rate for COVID-19 would be about 94% right now. That could change in either direction as more people are tested and the virus spreads. Posts on social media appeared to be measuring survival rate by the total number of people in the country -- infected or not -- who have not died from the virus. While over 99.9% of the population of the United States has not died from COVID-19, there is still the potential that could change over the course of the outbreak.
Can you be fired for refusing to return to work once your state reopens?
There is a lot of gray area here and much of it depends on the laws of your state and locality. Workers can demand that employers make a reasonable effort to provide for safe working conditions, and refuse to work if an employer doesn’t do so. However, almost every state has “employment-at-will” laws that allow employers to fire employees for any reason or no reason at all so long as the action isn’t discriminatory. That means an employer can fire you if you refuse to work so long as the policy is consistent.
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