Social media misinformation has infiltrated our society to the point of no return. With more “stories” and more “media outlets” than ever before, the waters are at their murkiest.

In addition, those seeking to fulfill an agenda (this includes much of the national media) have painted an inaccurate portrayal of how true journalism should appear. While we as an editorial board express our opinions on this particular page, The Daily Independent does not identify with either side of the political spectrum. Sometimes our views will align more on the conservative side, and sometimes liberal or progressive — and many times moderate.

What’s real? What’s fake? Choose wrong, and, in this case, it could lead to a grave mistake.

A few tweets and Facebook posts, from namely Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and Tomi Lahren, an ultra-conservative commentator, led a number of Americans to believe a recent study conducted by the University of Florida concluded that asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread is non-existent when it comes to COVID-19.

This is false. This is dangerous. This is irresponsible. This is infuriating.

Of course, many people pounced on this “information” because, well, if true, it would be welcomed news. However, it’s far from the truth. Thanks to The Poynter Institute and its fact-checking, there’s a much clearer picture available.

Martin and Lahren both failed to post a link to this study, but, as Poynter reports on politifact.com, it appears to be a paper that ran in JAMA Network Open, an open-access medical journal published by the American Medical Association.

The main message of the paper got misconstrued. What the study did indicate was that symptomatic patients are more likely to spread the virus than asymptomatic individuals. However, the spread was never indicated to be zero. The paper even noted that there is not much data regarding asymptomatic spread.

Let’s not be gullible when it comes to information about a deadly virus. Be skeptical. Let’s check, double-check and triple-check our sources before sharing for all to see.

We have correct information available. The evidence is right in front of us. Just look at the local hospitals full of COVID patients.

There are ways to mitigate the spread. Heed those guidelines.

Failing to follow the simple guidelines would be like driving your car with a “check engine oil” light on until the engine locked up, and then wondering why the engine stopped working.

With vaccinations here, there appears to be an end in sight. However, it’s far from over. Let’s be selective in jumping on any and every “article” floating out there just because it says what we want to hear.

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