Story at a glance

  • An online dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases around the world went temporarily offline due to high site traffic.
  • One user, Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli, asked Twitter if they knew the issue.
  • Many Twitter users were concerned such a high-level government official was asking the public for answers, rather than the other way around.

If the Internet says it’s true, it must be — right? At least that’s what most of us hope when we turn to search engines and other platforms to look for answers to our questions. 

But some people were concerned when the Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli turned to Twitter with questions about the novel coronavirus outbreak.  

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In a reply to the tweet, he said it appeared that Johns Hopkins, whose map he linked to, had put the information behind a membership wall. 

“Seems like bad timing to stop helping the world with this (previously) useful resource. Here's hoping it goes back up soon,” he said. 

Many were concerned that Cuccinelli, as a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, didn’t have direct access to the CDC’s numbers and was relying on a third party source.

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A couple hours after the original tweet, Cucinelli responded to put the public's mind at ease. 

By then, the map tracking COVID-19 around the world was back online after an outage Johns Hopkins said — on Twitter, of course— was caused by high site traffic. 

Published on Feb 25, 2020