Update (3/18/20): Media Matters contacted Albertsons (Safeway parent company), Hy-Vee, Kroger, Target, and Wal-Mart to ask why they are carrying the Enquirer’s false “coronavirus cures” edition, given that it promotes misinformation that could harm public health. We have not yet received any responses.
If you see or have seen the Enquirer edition in stores, please feel free to contact us.
As people go shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, grocery stores like Safeway are displaying the blatant lie from the National Enquirer tabloid that “coronavirus cures” have been “found” and are “at your fingertips.” In reality, no “cure” has been found and the Enquirer’s misinformation could actually make public health worse.
The National Enquirer is a supermarket tabloid owned by American Media Inc. (AMI) that has backed President Donald Trump. In 2018, AMI avoided federal prosecution by admitting to paying $150,000 in hush money to silence reports about Trump from Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to help his 2016 campaign. (In April 2019, AMI reached an agreement to sell the publication to magazine distributor James Cohen, the owner and CEO of Hudson Media.)
The National Enquirer published a March 23 edition with a cover claiming that “coronavirus cures” have finally been “found!” and that there are “miracle pill and kitchen treatments that work!”
The article itself claims that “top doctors have told The National ENQUIRER that the deadly plague can be stopped in its tracks with natural cures found right in your kitchen or at your local pharmacy! … medical experts from around the globe have revealed the life-threatening infectious disease can be attacked with amazingly simple homemade cures.” It then goes on to list homeopathic and natural “remedies” that can supposedly be used to battle the coronavirus.
In reality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.” Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states:
The media has reported that some people are seeking “alternative” remedies to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 or to treat the 2019 coronavirus disease now called COVID-19. Some of these purported remedies include herbal therapies and teas. There is no scientific evidence that any of these alternative remedies can prevent or cure the illness caused by this virus. In fact, some of them may not be safe to consume.
Promoting coronavirus “cures” is a potential danger to public health. As the Food and Drug Administration stated in a recent release, “The FDA is particularly concerned that products that claim to cure, treat or prevent serious diseases like COVID-19 may cause consumers to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to serious and life-threatening harm.”
Despite broadcasting on its cover and in the article that there are “coronavirus cures,” the Enquirer includes a note that “there is no vaccine for the coronavirus and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no known cure.”