With the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 pandemic causing havoc around the world, some good news has started to spread, such as the dolphins story. People on social media have been claiming that dolphins have returned to Venice's canals because of the absence of humans.
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As much as we would like this to be true, after all, we need a glimmer of hope in all this darkness, it simply is not, according to National Geographic.
"The “Venetian” dolphins were filmed at a port in Sardinia, in the Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of miles away," writes National Geographic's Natasha Daly. And it turns out Sardinia is a regular visiting spot for dolphins with plenty of dolphin-themed tours offered in the city.
Misinformation site Snopes further debunked this story. "Dolphins and swans swimming in Italy's waterways were not necessarily new phenomena related to reduced human activity during the COVID-19 lockdown," reads the site's post.
That's not where the misinformation ends. Claims that swans returned to Venice due to the coronavirus quarantines are also fake, as are those stating that elephants have returned to Chinese villages.
Nothing to do with the coronavirus
It's not so much that these things are not happening. It's that they have nothing to do with the coronavirus. They have occurred in the past and will likely occur again long after this crisis has passed.
Why is this important? Because misinformation is never a good thing, even if it puts a smile on people's faces. With so many people suffering due to this pandemic, it is a disservice to them to find positivity where it actually does not exist.
So going forward, be careful what you retweet, and remember that a quick look at sites such as Snopes can offer the real story. Stay safe and stay properly informed!