Coronavirus Update, October 6, 2020

A recent study out of Cornell shows that over a third of the misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has been fueled by President Trump.

The study published last week analyzed 38 million articles from news organizations from all over the world, that publish their works in English. Researchers with the Cornell Alliance for Science studied articles from January 1 of this year to May 26. They found that 1.1 million, or nearly 38 percent, include mentions of Trump as tied to misinformation,

The Ithaca Voice reports that conspiracy theories make up the bulk of the misinformation, among them, so-called “miracle cures" for COVID-19, calling it a Democratic Party hoax, among other claims.

The study notes that overall, the statements and claims made by influential persons weren’t necessarily verified or discounted; researchers found that only 16.4% of the media reporting directly covered the conversation of misinformation.


Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, the latest numbers, released Tuesday from the Tompkins County health department, indicate that two people have been hospitalized as a result of the virus. There are 5 additional positives, and 4 new recoveries. According to the County Health Department, that leaves 33 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins.

In Schuyler County, there are no new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, after 6 new cases were reported on Monday. The number of active cases remains at 8, according to the Schuyler Health Department.


Members of the Ithaca College chapter of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, or GEB, a non-profit organization that provides people who are blind or visually impaired, have for years participated in formal dog training.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the customary dog training has been delayed, reports The Ithacan.

Normally, students begin training pups when they are eight weeks old and continue the training until they are 16 to 18 months.  Now, this year’s cohort of trainee dogs will continue until they are 25 months old.

Maddie Guerrier, co-President of GEB at Ithaca College, said that currently, 13 students are training 12 dogs.  Seven of the trainers are living off campus in Ithaca, while others are living outside the Ithaca area.

The Guiding Eyes for the Blind group has not been able to meet in person at Ithaca College, but continues to hold physically-distant training sessions in Ithaca and through virtual Zoom meetings.  They are also recruiting new members through Zoom meetings.  New members will not be able to raise dogs until Fall 2021.

Ben Cawley, director of training for GEB, notes that the group has not had a problem recruiting student trainers.  Cawley does indicate that GEB has had decreased numbers of people applying to adopt guide dogs, possibly because blind or visually-impaired people are not leaving their homes as much during the pandemic.

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteer Esther Racoosin