Congressional hearing spurs circulation of false claims about COVID-19

Following the June 3 congressional hearing of the former head of the U.S. COVID-19 response team, viral posts drove widespread online conversations about COVID-19 and vaccines. Some posts claimed the hearing exposed a government coverup, while others criticized committee members for reigniting fringe COVID-19 conspiracy theories, like claims that the virus is a bioweapon. Several claims circulated about the hearing, including the outright falsehood that the official admitted he “made up” social distancing rules.

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The Public Health Communications Collaborative (PHCC) was formed in 2020 to coordinate and amplify public health messaging on COVID-19 and increase Americans’ confidence in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health officials.

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