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Stop the rumors, call out misinformation

If there’s one thing that spreads faster than any contagion, it’s misinformation.

In the time it takes to hit “send,” a rumor on social media can travel halfway around the world, let alone Beaufort County.

This week, two very irresponsible rumors were circulating locally. The first, debunked by the Beaufort County Health Department on Wednesday, was that local school children were being tested for novel coronavirus.

The second, addressed by the Aurora Volunteer Fire Department on social media Thursday, was that a member of that agency had tested positive for COVID-19. This rumor was false.

On the front page of Friday’s Washington Daily News, a story outlines precautionary actions being taken by various businesses and organizations to help prevent the potential spread of contagion. It also shares resources for public health agencies that are sharing the latest, most up-to-date information on the spread of COVID-19.

The type of rumormongering we’re seeing with COVID-19 does nothing but spread unnecessary fear. That’s exactly what needs to be avoided during this type of situation.

Instead, please get your information from a trusted source, rather than the wild west of social media. The Washington Daily News will continue to provide the best coverage possible for Beaufort County, working directly with local officials to provide the best information possible.

You can do your part by not spreading unsubstantiated rumors, and taking most of what you see on social media with a grain of salt.