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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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Being a Careful Reader of Coronavirus Information

Overview

This resource provides tips and suggestions for making sure that you're getting the best and most trustworthy information related to coronavirus.

Claiming a Cure for Coronavirus

While there is no single cure for the coronavirus, several vaccines have been developed which are approved by the FDA for use in the United States. Some of the vaccines require two doses, while others require only one to be fully vaccinated. Check with trusted sources about the evolving science and effective treatments to make sure you are getting the best information.

Promoting Unsafe Practices or Non Evidence-Based Practices

If the authors are promoting practices that are not based in scientific evidence, like alternative practices and medicine,
you should be careful when reading the article. The practices might not be effective or could even be unsafe. Visit the
recommended sources below for information about preventing and treating the coronavirus.

The Information is Only Available in Social Media/Blogs

If you cannot find other sources for a blog post or post on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media, the research is probably not good. It could be someone’s personal opinion and hasn’t been reviewed by other researchers.

Studies are not Peer-Reviewed

While the coronavirus is a new phenomenon and information is updating rapidly, it is still important that studies that are published in journals be reviewed by researchers other than the authors who wrote the initial study or article. This helps to make sure what is published is good quality and the results are valid or true.

The Company Publicizing the Information is For Profit

If a company is making money selling products related to the information they are providing, you should be cautious when reading their research. There are many other organizations that are not making a profit that publish research that you can read. Most websites that end in “.org” are non-profit organizations. Websites that end in “.gov” or “.edu” are not used by for profit companies. Stick with information with organizations that have strong knowledge about health and science.

The Information is Causing You Stress or Upsetting You

Only you can determine this. If reading news or other information about the coronavirus is causing you extra stress or to be upset, perhaps it’s time to take a break from social media and the internet and focus on other pastimes. It is good to stay informed and to know how to keep you and your family safe, but it is as important to make sure it is not taking a toll on your emotional and mental well being.

There is a lot of research and articles about the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19 or novel coronavirus). This guide will help you know what is good information and what is bad information.

Claiming a Cure for Coronavirus

There is no cure for coronavirus, but there are a few vaccines available in the United States. Some vaccines have two doses and others only have one. Look for information from trusted sources to make sure you are getting the best information.

Telling You to Do Non-approved Practices

If the authors are telling you to do things that are not based in scientific evidence, be careful when reading the article. The best way to know what practices are based in scientific evidence is to read from trusted sources or to ask a doctor or nurse if you are not sure. The sources listed below can be trusted for information.

Telling You to Share your Personal Information

Do not give personal information to someone you don’t know. Personal information includes: date of birth, social security
number, credit card, or banking information. Contact the agency or company directly if you have questions about a government program or need help with an application. You can also have family member, trusted adult, or support staff help you.

The Information is Only Available in Social Media/Blogs

If you read information in a blog or on social media check to see if you can find the same information other places. It could
be someone’s opinion and not fact if you can’t find the same information on a trusted website.

Studies are not Reviewed and Approved by other Research Experts

Research about the coronavirus is new. The information is changing a lot. But studies still need to be reviewed by other
research experts. This helps to make sure what is published is good quality and the results are true.

The Company Putting the Information Out is For Profit

If a company is making money selling things be careful when reading their research. If they are the only ones publishing and
sharing the information, it may not be true. Their products should be tested and reviewed by other organizations.

Find Trusted Websites

Look for organizations that are not focused on making money. These are called non-profit organizations. Most websites that end in “.org” are non-profit organizations. Websites that end in “.gov” or “.edu” are government or education websites and can usually be trusted.

The Information is Causing You Stress or Upsetting You

Only you can know this. If reading news or other information about the coronavirus is making you sad or upsetting you, take
a break. Focus on other things you like to do! It is good to know how to keep safe. But it is also important to make sure you take care of yourself and your mental health.

Recommended Sources

Here is a list of sources that ASERT recommends for looking for information about the coronavirus:

AID in PA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Pennsylvania Department of Health

World Health Organization (WHO)

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.