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Letters Covid-19: death rate in UK hospital patients

Creating misinformation: how a headline in The BMJ about covid-19 spread virally

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: (Published 18 June 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2384
  1. Maike Winters, doctoral candidate1,
  2. Ben Oppenheim, vice president of product, policy, and partnerships2,
  3. Jonas Pick, resident physician internal medicine3,
  4. Helena Nordenstedt, internal medicine specialist and project coordinator1
  1. 1Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Metabiota, San Francisco, CA, USA
  3. 3Danderyds Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. maike.winters{at}

The spread of the novel coronavirus has been accompanied by a viral spread of misinformation. Misinformation is easily created, as shown by a recent news story in The BMJ about a preprint, claiming that “a third of covid-19 patients admitted to UK hospitals die.”1 On Twitter, The BMJ added “putting the fatality rate on par with Ebola,” on the basis of a quote from one of the study’s authors. Unsurprisingly, this generated news …

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