Phony coronavirus social media alerts have interrupted Toronto and Hamilton, Canada colleges and universities and one U.S. school district. IT and technology managers are encouraged to help stem the tide of unwarranted panic.
One post claiming that Ryerson University students were admitted to the hospital with the virus was declared phony by school officials, reports City News.
On Twitter, Ryerson University posted: “Ryerson University is aware that there are fake social media posts alleging that students have been admitted to hospital with the coronavirus today. There are no cases of coronavirus at Ryerson.”
At McMaster University, a photo has been circulating of what appears to be a quarantine notice related to a possible coronavirus infection. That school has responded by posting: “McMaster has confirmed that this sign was false, and there is no cause for concern.”
Durham College’s Twitter feed says a picture has been circulating of an ambulance and hazmat suits on campus. “Due to heightened awareness, an abundance of caution was taken by first responders last week. It has been confirmed that this was NOT the coronavirus.”
The college said there are no known cases of the illness on its campus.
The Mesa Public School District and Highland High School in Gilbert, Arizona, have also seen coronavirus hoaxes circulating around their communities, reports AZFamily.com.
One hoax claims some students have been diagnosed with the virus. The district says this claim is false and that no cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the district.
Facebook is struggling to stem the spread of misinformation about the illness, reports CBS News. One hoax claims there is a vaccination for the coronavirus. There isn’t. Another false claim is that the coronavirus scare itself is a hoax. It isn’t.
Still another hoax is that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is connected to the recent outbreak. It isn’t.
Texas A&M has quarantined a student who is suspected of being infected with the coronavirus, reports ABC News. The student recently traveled to Wuhan, China and went to the hospital last week with a cough and congestion. The case hasn’t been confirmed, and the student’s symptoms are mild.
In Arizona, a member of the Arizona State University (ASU) community has been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus but does not live in campus housing. AZFamily.com reports that person is not severely ill and is being kept in isolation to prevent the virus from spreading. ASU has also banned travel to China.
This story premiered on our sister site, Campus Safety.