Flyers spreading COVID-19 misinformation hit Calgary mailboxes

CALGARY — It’s not a common occurrence around the holidays, but one mailbox delivery has some  Calgarians upset this week.

Flyers promoting pandemic misinformation have been popping up across the city.

Some claim COVID-19 is a hoax. Others say masks are useless. Some even say the government created the virus.

One in particular has an Edgemont resident scratching her head. 

“There’s so many people that spread misinformation, and we’re fighting that all the time,” Jennifer Diakiw told CTV News. “The fact that people would want to keep people unwell. It’s just…it’s a shake your head thing.”

Diakiw received a mail-out on Monday that appears to be created by the same anti-lockdown group that has been protesting masks downtown for the last two weekends.

The flyer cherry-picks data and quotes and falsely claims the virus is a “hoax.”

Misinformation

It’s just one example of false information being spread throughout Calgary neighbourhoods.

The mail is common enough to warrant a response from the mayor.

“If something looks ridiculous, just don’t believe it,” Naheed Nenshi said Wednesday.

“Number one, if anyone ever uses the term ‘fake news,’ it’s because they’ve been listening to — or are about to spread — fake news,” he continued. “Number two, use the skills you’re learning in school and be a critical thinker. Check the data. Ask questions. If something sounds far-fetched, then it probably is far-fetched.”

The city says any Calgarians concerned about the unsolicited mail should call 311.

“If this is a grand conspiracy, no one has let me in on it,” Nenshi said.

The misinformation comes as Albertans are beginning to learn more about the incoming vaccine.

Jason Kenney took to Facebook Wednesday night to answer questions about the rollout, which starts next week.

He speculated the vaccine — which has to be administered twice in about a four week span — could be an annual occurrence.

Experts say they anticipate the vaccine lasting a long time, but the shots could need to be given annually if the virus mutates drastically over the year.

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