Fact Checks

False claim circulates online in the Philippines that Canada is ‘free’ of the novel coronavirus
Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared thousands of times in August 2020 claim that Canada is “free” of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; as of August 9, 2020, the Canadian government reported it had 6,742 active COVID-19 cases; on August 6, the country's top public health official urged Canadians to "learn to live with the virus".

This image shows the aftermath of explosions at a chemical warehouse in China in 2015
An image of charred cars has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows the Lebanese capital of Beirut following a massive explosion at a warehouse in August 2020. The claim is false; the photo shows cars damaged by an explosion in China’s northern city of Tianjin in August 2015.

Doctored video falsely claims to show missile striking Beirut port
A video shared tens of thousands of times on social media claims to show a missile strike causing an explosion that devastated Beirut, with posts alleging that the footage is “infrared” or “thermal” imaging of the blast. This is false; the missile was edited into the original video, and a filter was added to give the illusion of thermal or infrared imaging.

Fact Checking Trump’s Weekend Press Briefings

President Donald Trump made several false, misleading and exaggerated claims in press briefings he held Aug. 7 and 8 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, spinning the facts on COVID-19 and the economy, among other topics:
  • Trump falsely claimed that “the Democrats don’t want to do anything having to do with protecting people from eviction,” even though the House Democrats had already passed a coronavirus relief bill to do exactly that.
  • The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions or charging them higher premiums. Yet Trump made the curious claim that he would pursue an executive order to require “health insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions for all customers,” falsely adding this had “never been done before.”
  • Trump misleadingly said that more than half of U.S. counties reported fewer than 20 COVID-19 cases in the past week. That’s correct for cases reported between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7, but those counties make up less than 10% of the U.S. population.
  • The president exaggerated when he said the percentage of national emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms “is down to almost half what it was in July.” It is down only 29% from the July peak.
  • Trump once again misleadingly claimed that testing was behind the United States’ large number of cases, boasting that the U.S. “is only 5% of the world’s population, but we have conducted over 25% of the world’s testing.” While American testing is better than some countries, it does not explain the huge caseload, nor does it change the fact that the U.S. also has 22% of the world’s COVID-19 deaths.
  • Trump falsely said if the Democrats controlled Washington, they would pass “legislation gutting every single police department in America.” Nearly 90% of funding for police comes from local governments, and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said he opposes “defunding the police.”
  • The president falsely said that “everybody” — Republicans and Democrats alike — was in favor of the payroll tax cut he has long sought. There is bipartisan opposition to the proposal.
  • He claimed “the Democrat bill includes stimulus checks for illegal aliens.” The HEROES Act expands eligibility for payments only to certain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who filed federal income tax returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • Trump boasted of the nearly 9.3 million jobs added in the U.S. since May but neglected to mention the 22.2 million in job losses in March and April.
  • He similarly cited nearly 1 million in job creation for African Americans but left out the March and April job losses of 3.5 million.
  • He exaggerated in saying the Democratic relief bill would require the “mass release” of “illegal aliens” from detention centers and “serious felons” from prisons. The bill would not release detainees subject to “mandatory detention,” and would apply only to certain prisoners within one year of release.
  • Trump again wrongly claimed that Biden “wants to rip down the wall” the Trump administration has constructed along the Mexican border. Biden has said only that he would not build any more wall, not that he would dismantle existing fencing.
  • The president repeated his bogus claim about the genesis of the Veterans Choice program, which was launched in 2014 under the Obama administration. Trump took credit for the law, claiming “no president’s ever been able to do it, and we got it done.”

This video shows a road in China’s Guangdong province
A video that shows vehicles travelling along a road covered in large potholes has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim it was filmed in India. The claim is false; the video actually shows a road in China’s Guangdong province.