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Lori Robertson ML’19 tells WHYY about fact-checking President Trump’s claims during COVID-19 pandemic

April 22, 2020

Lori Robertson ML’19 and Managing Editor recently spoke with WHYY radio in Philadelphia about fact-checking the White House’s daily coronavirus task force briefings and the challenges the media is facing during this crisis.

Robertson was a guest on WHYY’s “Radio Times” on April 15 along with Mark Lukasiewicz, a former senior executive at NBC News and ABC News. She discussed several recent articles debunking claims President Donald Trump had made in these briefings. For instance, constitutional experts say Trump was wrong that he, not governors, had the power to “open up the states” where businesses were closed or residents were ordered to stay at home as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The president also made false statements about the drug hydroxychloroquine. Trump claimed “studies” had suggested there are few novel coronavirus cases in “malaria countries” because of the use of hydroxychloroquine as an antimalarial drug. But found no such studies exist, and the drug is not widely used for malaria in much of the world. Similarly, he falsely claimed “people with lupus,” who also take hydroxychloroquine to treat symptoms of their disease, “aren’t catching this horrible virus.” In fact, people with lupus have reported contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Check out the full interview, available on WHYY’s website and Apple podcast.

For more articles on claims about the coronavirus, see the site’s guide to its coverage of this issue. is a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.