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Fraudulent CDC letter circulating through social media

The fake document claims the CDC does not recommend three common face masks.
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 11:03 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A fraudulent letter that appears to have been published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is appearing on social media feeds. It claims the CDC does not recommend three common face masks; the N95 mask, surgical masks, and cloth masks.

Fraudulent document circulating through social media claims the CDC does not recommend three common face masks
Fraudulent document circulating through social media claims the CDC does not recommend three common face masks(KBTX)

We asked Dr. Jason McKnight with the Texas A&M School of Medicine to explain how this document is fraudulent and what you should look for in other misinformation campaigns online.

Dr. McKnight says this letter is fraudulent for several reasons.

“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 says a lot of the information about the masks in the letter is incorrect.

“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.

With so much information being pushed out each day, it can be easy to get lost it in all and not be able to tell what’s real and what’s fake. The best thing you can do is to start at the source of where the information is supposedly coming from.

“This document seems to point out that the CDC is recommending against using masks. If you go to the official CDC website you know, it’s quite the opposite. There are multiple statements encouraging the use of masks,” said McKnight.

He says there’s just enough truth in the letter that makes it sound somewhat believable, but experts say you could be putting others at risk by sharing information online before double-checking the source.

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