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Are Masks Harmful?

Are Masks Harmful? Fact-Checking 3 Widespread Rumors of the Week

Are Masks Harmful?
May 10, 2021

Is it true that masks do not help prevent the spread of COVID-19? Are cow farts the primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions? Was Jack Black’s mom a NASA engineer? Learn if these stories are genuine or just rumors and misinformation.

In this post, we will share three ongoing widespread rumors. They may sound wild, ridiculous, or too creative to believe. Can you tell which are true and which are false?

Did a Stanford study say that masks do not help prevent COVID-19?


NO! A hard NO! 

Some people have been doubting the effect of masks on preventing the coronavirus from spreading. A report from The Gateway Pundit, a partisan conservative website (according to NewsGuard’s rating), states that “facemasks are ineffective to block transmission of COVID-19” and that they “actually can cause health deterioration and premature death”:

Misinformation about masks on The Gateway Pundit
Misinformation about masks on The Gateway Pundit

The report falsely cites a “Stanford study,” claiming that it supports “against the usage of facemasks” for they are NOT helpful to prevent COVID-19 spreading. In addition, it stresses that “wearing facemask can cause health deterioration” and develop “chronic diseases and premature death.”

The “study” cited was not from Stanford. It was an article in Medical Hypotheses, whose purpose “is to publish interesting theoretical papers. The journal will consider radical, speculative, and non-mainstream scientific ideas provided they are coherently expressed.” Besides, the article was just a hypothesis, not a study. The original article is now RETRACTED.

To sum up, wearing masks does help prevent COVID-19 transmission. Relax! Masks are NOT harmful or dangerous.

Unsure of what you read online? Use Trend Micro Check to search for the information you need to combat fake news and misinformation:
1. Trend Micro Check Chrome extension:
Select a statement and click on the red Trend Micro Check logo for immediate detection results.

Select a statement and click on the red Trend Micro Check logo for immediate detection results.
Select a statement and click on the red Trend Micro Check logo for immediate detection results.
Select a statement and click on the red Trend Micro Check logo for immediate detection results.
Select a statement and click on the red Trend Micro Check logo for immediate detection results. Source: PolitiFact

2. Trend Micro Check on WhatsApp:
Copy-paste a statement or send Trend Micro Check questions directly to help you search for related news you need to tell what is true.

Ask Trend Micro Check questions to help you tell what is true. Source: PolitiFact
Ask Trend Micro Check questions to help you tell what is true. Source: PolitiFact

Are cow farts the major reason for global warming?


The statement is a “mixture.” For a long time, many people believe that cow farts are the major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Memes, jokes, and even news use the claim as the basis:

News about greenhouse gases using cow farts as the basis.
News about greenhouse gases using cow farts as the basis. Source: Twitter

Well, cow farts are not the primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the sources of greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector in 2019 consist of transportation (29%), electricity (25%), industry (23%), commercial and residential (13%), and then agriculture (10%). 

Besides, although cows do fart methane (CH4), most of it come from their burps. The Associated Press (AP) revealed that “of the CH4 (methane) produced by enteric fermentation in the forestomach 95% was excreted by eructation (burp), and from CH4 produced in the hindgut 89% was found to be excreted through the breath.” That is, cow burps are the significant source of greenhouse gas INSTEAD OF their farts!

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to save the planet, of course, you can choose to consume less beef. But don’t blame the emissions on cow farts! Finding it difficult to tell what is genuine from what is false on the Internet? Use Trend Micro Check to help you decide:

Use Trend Micro Check to gather the information you need to tell what’s real on WhatsApp.
Use Trend Micro Check to gather the information you need to tell what’s real on WhatsApp. Source: Snopes

Was Jack Black’s mom a NASA engineer?


Yes! What is more, his mom, Judith Love Cohen, helped create the system that rescued the Apollo 13 astronauts!

A Reddit “Today I Learned” post claimed that “Judith Love Cohen, who helped create the Abort-Guidance System which rescued the Apollo 13 astronauts,” was Jack Black, the famous actor’s mother. The post went viral, receiving more than 111k upvotes and 2.1k comments:

A Reddit post revealed that Jack Black's mother was a NASA engineer.
A Reddit post revealed that Jack Black’s mother was a NASA engineer. Source: Reddit

Much to our surprise, the statement is true! Neil Siegel, her son and Jack Black’s half-brother, talked about Cohen’s career life as a NASA engineer in an obituary in 2016. He also mentioned that “she actually went to her office on the day that Jack was born,” which proves the Reddit post above is genuine. Jack Black himself also revealed his mom’s story in his Instagram post in 2019:

Jack Black's Instagram post about his mom, Judith Love Cohen.
Jack Black’s Instagram post about his mom, Judith Love Cohen.

Feeling unsure about something you saw on the Internet? Use Trend Micro Check to help collect the information you need to tell what is real:

Verify the information you read online with Trend Micro Check.
Verify the information you read online with Trend Micro Check. Source: Snopes

Did you successfully identify the truth from the rumors? Pay more attention to what you read and share online! To combat rumors and misinformation, remember, you should always check first before you share.

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