A health care insurance company for members of the U.S. military had to apologize for accidentally telling over 600,000 people that they were infected with the virus when they were not.
Tricare apologized for alarming several hundred thousand people because of a poorly worded email that implied the recipient was a coronavirus survivor. The email went out from Humana Military, a regional manager for Tricare.
"As a survivor of COVID-19, it's safe to donate whole blood or blood plasma, and your donation could help other COVID-19 patients. Your plasma likely has antibodies (or proteins) present that might help fight the coronavirus infection," read the email.
"Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19. However, there is information that suggests plasma from COVID-19 survivors, like you, might help some patients recover more quickly from COVID-19," the email continued.
Six hours later, Humana sent out a correction and an apology over the confusing and erroneous emails.
"In an attempt to educate beneficiaries who live close to convalescent plasma donation centers about collection opportunities, you received an email incorrectly suggesting you were a COVID-19 survivor," read the email. "You have not been identified as a COVID-19 survivor and we apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused."
Military.com documented the mistake and reported messages on social media from those confused about the email.
"Just wondering [if] anybody [got] an email from Tricare saying since you are a COVID survivor, please donate your plasma.?? I have NOT been tested," said one person on Facebook. "Just remember all those people inputting data are human and make mistakes."
Marvin Hill, a spokesperson for Humana, offered a statement to Military.com explaining the error.
"Language used in email messages to approximately 600k beneficiaries gave the impression that we were attempting to reach only people who had tested positive for COVID-19. We quickly followed the initial email with a clear and accurate second message acknowledging this. We apologize," Hill said.
About 31,000 people affiliated with the U.S. military have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, far fewer than the 600,000 reached by the erroneous email.
Some critics of the pandemic lockdown orders have used mistakes in counting and reporting coronavirus cases to bolster their claims that some elements of the government are using the pandemic to damage the president and the Republicans.
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