Avoid Coronavirus Misinformation

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A Doctor's Tips for Spotting Fake COVID-19 News

As we all try to stay safe from COVID-19, arming yourself with accurate news information has never been more important – but it’s not always easy. Fake news can be challenging to recognize because there’s often a little truth mixed in with misinformation. Some of the articles I’m seeing about coronavirus and COVID-19 are only slightly inaccurate (or aren’t updated), but others are just plain false speculation and conspiracy theories.

With today’s social media platforms, false information can go viral, being shared countless times across the globe quickly. I get it. It's easy to partially read an article, assume it’s accurate, and hit “share.”

What concerns me is that the chatter of fake news drowns out the credible health information that we all need right now. One false news article can do double harm by leading you down a dangerous path and keeping you from valuable, helpful information.

Here are some tips to avoid fake news and recognize accurate, useful information.

  • Is there a date? With COVID-19, information is changing rapidly. So, it’s important to know when the article was published and last updated so you can be sure you’re getting the most current data.
  • Who is the author? If you’re reading about the latest medical advances for COVID-19, make sure the author is qualified. Or, look for a medical review by a doctor or other health professional. You should be able to easily find a bio that shares the author’s or reviewer’s professional qualifications.
  • Are sources listed?
    • If an article refers to a study from China, you should be able to get information about the study. Some sites will directly link to a scientific journal article. For others, you may have to scroll down to click on a source list. Beware of vague references to research that you can’t easily validate.
    • If an expert is referenced, check their qualifications online as well. Do they have the education and expertise to give their opinion?
  • Is the website legitimate?
    • If it feels like you’re reading an advertisement, you probably are. Check the website’s ‘about’ page to find out who supports the organization and what their mission and values are. Are they committed to educating the public about a health issue or are they raising awareness about a product?
    • Sometimes a fake site will try to match its logo or URL to a legitimate website. Look closely to make sure you’re at the right place.
  • Is the information available on other websites? COVID-19-related news trends are typically consistent across legitimate websites. If you’re reading something that sounds different or contrary to what you’re seeing elsewhere, start digging. If someone is making a recommendation you’re not sure of, look to sites like the CDC, WHO, or your state’s Department of Public Health for guidance. And of course, call your doctor.

It is challenging to sort through true and false information, especially since our knowledge and experience with COVID-19 is evolving day by day. But, with your health at stake, the accuracy of news information is more important than ever. So, double and triple check content before you trust it – and before you share it on your social media pages. Do your part to stop the spread of false information.

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Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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Friday:

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Saturday:

Sick visits by on-call physician

Sunday:

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Meet Our Staff

  • Meredith Saillant,
    MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Saillant completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at Brown University and  The University of Michigan, respectively, before graduating from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2000.  She completed her pediatric residency in 2003 training at Children's Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center through the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics.  She founded the town-wide middle school baseline concussion screening program in conjunction with the Town of Brookline in 2012 and has served as a consultant to the Pediatric Physicians Organization at Children's Hospital on their concussion treatment protocol. She is on the board of the Massachusetts Concussion Management Coalition. She joined the practice in 2003.

  • Rebecca Horne,
    MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Horne graduated from Brown University and received her MD from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.  Before going to medical school, she spent a year in Eritrea working in HIV/AIDS awareness and a year working at Planned Parenthood's public outreach department.  Dr. Horne completed her pediatric residency in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center.  She spent several years at Boston Children's Hospital providing care for patients in the Young Parents Program.  She joined the practice in 2010.

  • Julie Dollinger, MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Dollinger graduated from Princeton University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and also holds a Master's degree in pharmacology from New York University.  She completed her pediatric training at Boston Children's Hospital, and has practiced general pediatrics in the greater Boston area for over 20 years.  Dr. Dollinger's areas of interests include developmental-behavioral pediatrics, adolescent medicine, natural/holistic medicine, and adoption. Dr. Dollinger has worked in the Indian Health Service in Chinle, AZ and Wolf Point, MT; she has travelled on medical missions to Cuba and Dneprepotrovsk, Ukraine.  Locally, she is a longtime member of the Maimonides Society (the medical philanthropic arm of Boston Combined Jewish Philanthropies) and has been medical consultant to several area preschools and private schools.  She also serves as Director of the Community Pediatrics Program at Boston Childrens Hospital.She joined the practice in 2017

  • Shana Zandman, MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Zandman graduated from Cornell University where she studied Human Biology and Development.  She received her MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan and completed her pediatric residency at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.  Dr. Zandman completed one year as Chief Resident at Floating Hospital and then worked for two years in a busy pediatric private practice in Barrington, Rhode Island prior to joining the practice in 2014.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and two young girls, cooking and international travel.