Facebook Bans Ads Promising A Cure To The Coronavirus

Topline: Facebook will begin taking down any ads that promise a cure for the coronavirus, as the platform battles the rapid spread of conspiracy theories and fake cures—including drinking bleach to cure the disease—that have erupted in panic and confusion over the epidemic on social media.

  • A Facebook spokesperson told Forbes it will remove ads for products “that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention.”
  • The spokesperson added that, for example, “ads with claims like face masks that are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus will not be allowed.”
  • Health experts warn the spread of misinformation, fake cures and conspiracy theories about coronavirus can actively cause harm and undermine trust in government institutions. “We need a vaccine against misinformation,” said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO health emergencies program, in a meeting this month.
  •  A number of false cures have spread on Facebook in the past few months, including one claiming that drinking bleach can cure the virus, according to FactCheck.org.
  • Facebook already said in January it will outright remove posts flagged by global health organizations and local health authorities with potentially harmful false cures or prevention methods for the coronavirus.
  • But the company also said last month it won’t remove other false claims about the virus, opting instead to fact-check, demote them in the news feed and point users to reliable information from the World Health Organization.

Key background: Facebook has struggled to contain disinformation since the 2016 election and has faced criticism for not removing ads from politicians that contain lies. But misleading or untrue medical claims have been a particularly thorny issue for the platform. Facebook banned misleading ads about vaccines last year, but private Facebook groups have become hotbeds of medical misinformation, and some ads expressing skepticism about vaccines haven’t been taken down. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that Facebook shouldn’t be an arbiter of truth, and company policy is to be usually reluctant to remove posts and ads at all.

News peg: More than 81,000 people globally have been infected with the virus as of Wednesday, and more 2,700 have died. The World Health Organization hasn’t declared the virus a pandemic, but Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. are preparing for an outbreak as cases outside China continue to surge.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: Facebook Bans Ads Promising A Cure To The Coronavirus

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First Death In China From New Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak

Health Screenings In Bangkok For China's Wuhan Pneumonia

Barney Stinson of the television show How I Met You Mother was wrong. New is not always better.

The latest news about the mystery pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, is that scientists may have found a new virus. And this novel virus may be the culprit in the outbreak that has already left over 40 people sick and now a 61-year-old man dead.

Yes, this is the “mystery pneumonia” outbreak that I covered for Forbes last week. Now, as CBS News reported, a lead scientist in the ongoing investigation of the outbreak in China, Xu Jianguo, has said that it’s been “preliminarily determined” that a new strain of coronavirus may be the culprit. That would preliminarily suck because who wants yet another virus to worry about that can potentially kill.

Those of you who took Latin in high school so that you can talk to nobody may recognize that “corona” is the Latin word for “crown.” Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that have spikes on their surface that make them look like little crowns as you can see in this photo:

Can you you imagine one of these viruses on your head?

While it may be good to have a real crown on you, you probably do not want one of these on or in you. That’s because there are now seven different types of coronaviruses that can infect humans. The most common types of these so-called human coronaviruses are two, 229E and NL63, that fall into the alpha subgroup, and two, OC43 and HKU1, that fall into the beta subgroup of coronaviruses. These four may not be that easy to remember because their names sound a bit like droids on Star Wars.

https://i0.wp.com/onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Secrets-to-ebay-and-amazon-success-Ad-Gif-2.gif?resize=136%2C136&ssl=1But that’s OK, because these four aren’t the most worrisome ones. They tend to cause mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illnesses that consist of cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, headache, sore throat, fever, and general feeling of bleck. Occasionally, the infection can involve your lower-respiratory tract, resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia, which is more likely to happen when your immune system, heart, or lungs are weakened.

The human coronaviruses to worry much more about are the remaining three. One is the SARS-Coronavirus (CoV), which causes, you guessed it, SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome. This was the beta coronavirus that sickened 8,098 people and killed 774 around the world during the 2003 SARS outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the SARS-CoV killed 14% to 15% of those infected.

A second is the MERS-CoV, which causes MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. As the WHO describes, MERS was first found in Saudi Arabia in 2012. This beta coronavirus has also been quite a killer, with around 35% of those infected dying.

The third human coronavirus in this uh-oh group and seventh overall is this new coronavirus just found in Wuhan, China. It doesn’t have an official name yet and is listed on the CDC website as “Novel Coronavirus 2019.”

This new one is still a quite a mystery. The MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, like other human coronaviruses, can spread from one human to another through contact with respiratory secretions. So far, word is that there haven’t been any clear cases of one human infecting another with “Novel Coronavirus 2019.”

For example, reportedly no health care workers who have been taking care of the patients with the virus have gotten sick themselves. Ah, but don’t rule out human-to-human transmission of the virus just yet. If human-to-human transmission is not possible then how the heck did so many people get infected? Did everyone somehow interact with the same group of animals? If so what animals are responsible? As they say, I have so many questions.

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Plus, even if a virus can’t go from human-to-human now, who knows what may happen in the future? A new virus that has managed to finally learn how to infect a human can be a bit like a contestant who has finally made it intothe reality television show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. It can explore and learn how to wreak further havoc. Eventually, it may figure out how to jump from one human to another. After all, viruses and reality show participants can evolve quite quickly.

Stay tuned as this remains an evolving situation. For now, many countries in Asia are taking precautions and screening those traveling from Wuhan. If you are traveling to Wuhan, don’t interact closely with someone who appears to be sick and don’t hang out with animals. You don’t want to get caught off guard the next time something new emerges about this new virus.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: First Death In China From New Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak

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