Axios Retracts COVID-19 Air Filters Story: ‘It Fell Short of Our Editorial Standards’

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Axios retracted a Nov. 17 story about air filters and COVID-19, saying “it fell short” of the political outlet’s editorial standards.

“Axios has removed the article published here on Nov. 17, 2021, because it fell short of our editorial standards,” says the editor’s note that appears where the story once was. “Axios incorrectly stated that we contacted Global Plasma Solutions for comment before publication. We wrongly relied upon a source who is a former employee of a competitor of GPS and is now an adviser to that same competitor. We apologize to GPS and to our readers.”

The original story, by healthcare reporter Marisa Fernandez, is no longer available on the site at all. It does, however, appear on the Internet Archive, which shows its original headline was, “New school air filters may do more harm than good.”

The piece noted that “40% of school districts of more than 1,000 districts in the U.S. have used federal money to update their HVAC system and air filtration systems, which were outdated long before the pandemic,” but questioned whether these investments did more harm than good. The story relied on a quote from mechanical engineer Marwa Zaatari, a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council, who alluded to GPS “cheating” during testing.

A representative for GPS did not return a request for comment on Axios’ retraction.

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