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VERIFY: Report shows 82 percent of COVID-19 online rumors, theories studied were false

The next you click 'share' on your screen, you may not just be spreading bad information, but also what could be life-threatening information.

HOUSTON — As more facts come out about coronavirus, so do the rumors. KHOU 11 has spent months breaking down so many of them, but every day a new lie or theory is created.

So in this piece, KHOU 11 is taking a different approach and telling you why taking a second before you share is so important.

Every day, we take time in our newscasts to verify information viewers send us, separating fact from fiction, and this is why it’s so important.

A recent study posted in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene actually breaks down false information fueled by the pandemic.

The researchers took 2,311 reports from online, all rumors, stigma and conspiracy theories from social media, online newspapers, and even fact-checking websites.

They’re from 87 different countries in 25 different languages, and include claims like “eating bat soup is the source of the (COVID-19) outbreak” or “drinking cow urine and cow dung can cure coronavirus.”

The researchers broke down as many as they could, and of 2,276 reports, they found 82 percent, or 1,856, were false.

Think about that: 82 percent. And you may say, "what’s wrong with a little white lie? It can’t hurt anyone." But actually, it can, because some of the claims, like “drinking bleach may kill the virus," are extremely dangerous.

In fact, the study found about 800 people have died from following this kind misinformation, 5,876 people have been hospitalized and 60 have developed complete blindness after drinking methanol as a cure of coronavirus.

So keep in mind: the next you click share on your screen, you may not just be spreading bad info, but also what could be life-threatening information.