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Chinese Intelligence Officer terms coronavirus a biological weapon developed by China?

We were flagged to fact check a claim that has gone viral on social media. The viral post is a report published by a WordPress website. The viral report has allegedly been written by an anonymous intelligence officer who claims to have secret information about the invention of this alleged biological weapon. The alleged intelligence officer also accuses Chinese officials of hiding the truth of the coronavirus crisis in the Chinese territory.

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Claim:

Chinese intelligence officer terms the Novel Coronavirus as a biological weapon invented by China. The viral post also claims that the damage caused by the pandemic is being normalized by the Chinese officials. The website which has published the alleged testimony of the said Chinese intelligence officer has published the report with the headline, “CORONA UNMASKED: Chinese Intelligence Officer Reveals True Magnitude of China’s Fake “Coronavirus” Crisis – 包含中文字符版本”.

Verification:

Coronavirus, a pandemic which has been declared a national emergency in many countries, has created a ruckus on the internet because of countless viral claims on social media. While many of these claims are either true or authentic, some claims are created merely for smearing or to criticizing an institution, government or state. We were flagged to fact check a claim that has gone viral on social media. The viral post is a report published by a WordPress website. The viral report has allegedly been written by an anonymous intelligence officer who claims to have secret information about the invention of this alleged biological weapon. The alleged intelligence officer also accuses Chinese officials of hiding the truth of the coronavirus crisis in the Chinese territory. The article elaborates on how a Chinese researcher wanted to sell a biological weapon to the United States but the research went horribly wrong and the entire city suffered the plague of an epidemic.

The full report can be viewed here.

CORONA UNMASKED: Chinese Intelligence Officer Reveals True Magnitude of China’s Fake “Coronavirus” Crisis – 包含中文字符版本

CORONA UNMASKED 暴露冠状病毒 包含中文字符版本 Chinese Intelligence Officer Reveals True Magnitude of China’s Fake “Coronavirus” Crisis (Copyright 2020, R.D. Morningstar & u /武汉病毒被丢弃-All Rights Reserved) 通过 u /武汉病毒被丢弃 By u/武汉病毒被丢弃 (Wuhan Virus was Dropped) Edited by Robert D. Morningstar To Free the Chinese people: For the good and general welfare of the Chinese people and the World,…

As we read the full report, we could figure out that the identity of the person who made the aforementioned claims and penned down the report is concealed. The concealed identity can be made to protect the whistleblower as we often see in case of big exposes but it is noteworthy that no substantial evidence is produced in the article to back the claim made in the report, thereby raising suspicions. We also found that the alleged intelligence officer who goes with the Reddit username ‘WuhanVirusThrowAway’ has published this article in a Reddit community forum namely ‘NoSleep. The articles published by the user WuahnVirusThrowAway can be viewed below.

Wuhanvirusthrowaway (u/Wuhanvirusthrowaway) – Reddit

I am a Chinese citizen in Wuhan who occupies – or perhaps occupied – a high-ranking position in military intelligence. I am also a member of the Chinese Communist Party. As a senior official near the top of the Party, I have access to a great deal of classified information and I have been involved in many top secret government projects.

The original article published by the user ‘WuhanVirusThrowAway’ in the Reddit community forum ‘NoSleep’ can be viewed below.

I am a senior Chinese military intelligence officer and I know the truth about the coronavirus outbreak. It is far worse than the media are telling you. from r/nosleep

Now, we tried to find if the article that was published in the Reddit community forum ‘NoSleep’ is authentic or not. We visited the posting guidelines on the community. We found that the community guidelines of the said community does not endorse authenticity and publishes stories that are believable but not necessarily true. Posting guidelines of the community can be viewed below.

nosleep

Return to index Posts and comments on this subreddit may be removed at moderator discretion. We do our very best to remove rule-breaking posts and inappropriate comments, and to be fair to all authors and readers. Rules are not applied retroactively after being introduced.

The posting guidelines of the community strictly suggest posting an interesting horror story that doesn’t have to be the truth necessarily.

Similarly comment guidelines and FAQs can be viewed below.

nosleep

Readers are to act as though everything is true and treat it as such in the comments. * No debunking, disbelief, or criticism (constructive or otherwise). * Do not ask for proof, or tl;dr’s/summaries. * Be respectful to one another. * Comments must contribute to the discussion.

Now, it was evident from our fact check that the story published by the Reddit community No Sleep is just a horror story and does not have anything to do with reality.

Now, we also found that the community itself terms it as a storytelling platform and not a true story publisher.

An excerpt from the same article can be read below

Reader FAQ

Are the stories here true?

Probably not – but while you’re in /r/NoSleep, everything is true. Outside of NoSleep, a story may be fact or may be fiction. The important thing is that while you’re here, treat everything as though it is a true recount of events.

But I really want to know if this story is true or not! Can I ask in a comment?

No. If you have questions about a story that will cause you to break the suspension of disbelief for other readers, you can ask either in /r/NoSleepOOC or simply PM the author of the story themselves.

Asking for photos, videos, police reports, maps, or any other sort of proof is also a rule violation.

For further reference, please see this comment from one of our readers on the subject.

I still don’t understand! What do you mean by breaking the suspension of disbelief?

NoSleep is not a confessional support forum. It is a storytelling forum. These stories are not required to be true. “Believable” means it could reasonably happen, not that the author is required to make you believe the story. This only extends to one story or series, not an author’s entire account. Calling out an author for not having a continuous persona throughout an account counts as “debunking”.

As far as commenting goes, you should behave as if the events described in the story happened. However, it is not required to agree with the opinions and conclusions drawn by the narrator.

Okay (Agreeing): “Wow, your roommate came home ill and he hasn’t come out of his room all day? If he is possessed, call a priest!”

Okay (Disagreeing): “He’s probably just sick, call him a doctor.”

Not Okay (Accusing): “Whatever man, FAKE.”

Not Okay (Debunking): “Actually, he couldn’t have been out at xyz club because that shut down last year, and he wouldn’t be tired from drinking 3 beers…” etc

FAQ regarding the Reddit community No Sleep can be viewed below.

nosleep

Readers are to act as though everything is true and treat it as such in the comments. * No debunking, disbelief, or criticism (constructive or otherwise). * Do not ask for proof, or tl;dr’s/summaries. * Be respectful to one another. * Comments must contribute to the discussion.

Hence it is evident from our fact-check that the claim made by the alleged intelligence officer is not true and is purely a work of fiction.

Sources

Google Search

Result: False

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form

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Coronavirus

Claim On Pune’s Steam Bar Treating or Preventing COVID-19 Is False

Steam inhalation as a treatment or preventive measure of COVID-19 is not listed by the World Health Organisation.

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False claim on Pune's steam bar treating or preventing COVID-19

A social media user claims that a steam bar with inhalers treats or prevents COVID-19 in Pune. The claim is accompanied by a video which shows people seated in front of pipes used as steam inhalers. 

“Latest business in #India: The Steam bar, It is inhalers, which treats or prevents #COVID19 in Pune” the tweet reads. 

Other social media users have shared this claim as well. 

Latest business in #India: The Steam bar, It is inhalers, which treats or prevents #COVID19 in Pune: #corona #Covid19 #fightwithcorona

Posted by LIVE Ahmedabad on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

लो कल्लो बात 😎Latest business in #India: The Steam bar, It is inhalers, which treats or prevents #COVID19 in Pune:

Posted by Sanjieva Shankhdhar on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fact Check/ Verification

Different states in India continue to witness a rise in COVID-19 cases. Maharashtra, the epicentre of coronavirus in India has 2,75,404 active cases as of 8am on 25 September. It’s followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh which have 95,568, 69,353 and 61,300 active cases respectively. 

At a time like this, the claim on Pune’s steam bar with inhalers has been shared by many social media users in the past few days. 

Steam inhalation can thin mucus and help it drain from the nose when experiencing  nasal congestion. “Controlled studies show that these remedies do not kill viruses in the respiratory tract. Besides, there are no studies testing the effect of these remedies on preventing infection by the novel coronavirus,” state the voluntary group of scientists, Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19, in their Hoaxbusters section. 

The Hoaxbusters section on the Indian Scientists' Response to COVID-19 website debunks steam inhalation as COVID-19 treatment.
The Hoaxbusters section on the Indian Scientists’ Response to COVID-19 website debunks steam inhalation as COVID-19 treatment

On the other hand, a 2015 study published by the Spanish Pediatrics Association takes note of the burns or scalds that can be caused due to hot water or steam. “Steam inhalation therapy (SIT), which has been used traditionally and is still employed today to treat mild respiratory tract infections despite the lack of evidence to support its effectiveness, can also cause burns indirectly through scalding.”

Also steam inhalation as a treatment or preventive measure of COVID-19 is not listed by the World Health Organisation

“While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease,” notes the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. 

On 23 September, Chief of Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Hospital, Dr FaheemYounus, responded to the initial claim saying, “ Let’s not turn fear into business. This is completely useless.”

Note: We were unable to locate the exact steam bar from the claim. 

In the last six months, we’ve also debunked many other claims related to cure and prevention of coronavirus. You can read related fact checks here

Conclusion 

The recent claim which states that a steam bar with inhalers treats or prevents COVID-19 in Pune is false. Currently, there is no known medicine or treatment that can cure COVID-19. 

Result: False 

Our Sources

Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19: https://indscicov.in/for-public/busting-hoaxes/

A study by Spanish Pediatrics Association: https://www.analesdepediatria.org/en-severe-burns-related-steam-inhalation-articulo-S2341287914001343

World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public\

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/

Chief of Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Hospital, Dr FaheemYounus: https://twitter.com/FaheemYounus/status/1308820077324701696?s=20

WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/how-do-i-use-steam-for-congestion


If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044 or email us at checkthis@newschecker.in. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.

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Coronavirus

False Claim About People in China Not Taking Any Medicine Or Vaccine For Coronavirus Goes Viral

Contrary to the claim which says that people in China have stopped going to the hospital for cure, news report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency says otherwise.

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People in China are not killing coronavirus with heat or recovering in five days.

Claim 

A social media post claims that the Chinese aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for coronavirus. They’re instead killing the virus with heat and recovering in five days. 

We received the above image on our Whatsapp verification number. The claim which is an image of a social media post allegedly posted by Tahir Mahmood Chaudry starts with a disclaimer that the message is a translation from an Indian living in Wuhan. 

Using keywords we found multiple social media posts with the same claim being circulated since April, 2020. See of few examples below:

Fact Check

The claim in context was allegedly posted by Tahir Mahmood Chaudry, Executive director at Ovex Technologies. Chaudry’s social media profiles confirm his designation, but whether he posted this claim or not remains unknown. We’ve reached out to him for verification and will update the copy if we receive a response. 

Moving on to the first part of the claim which says, 

“Chinese are not taking any medicine or any vaccine for Corona virus. Every household has a Corona virus case. They have stopped going to hospital for cure. They instead kill the virus with heat.” 

We found no credible news report or information from any official source which supports the claim that every household in China has a COVID-19 case and that they aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for it. 

Contrary to the claim which says that people in China have stopped going to the hospital for cure,  a 30 June news report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency states, “By Monday, the Chinese mainland had reported a total of 1,918 imported cases. Of the cases, 1,830 had been discharged after recovery, and 88 remained hospitalized. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.” 

The second part of the claim states, 

“Very Hot Steam Inhalation from kettle 4 times a day

Hot Gargles 4 times a day

Hot tea 4 times a day

Virus dies in 4 days.

5th Day you are Corona Negative.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that our normal body temperature remains around 36.5 degree Celsius to 37 degree Celsius irrespective of temperature of the bath or shower. In fact baths from extremely hot water can burn us. 

The WHO also also clarified that while some traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate mild COVID-19 symptoms, there is no known vaccine or medicine to prevent or cure the disease so far. 

The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in its immunity boosting guidelines recommends general measures such as drinking warm water, herbal tea, and steam inhalation among other things. But it also clearly states that this advisory is in no way a treatment for COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in its COVID-19 guidelines also states that there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. 

You can read our other fact checks related to the novel coronavirus here.

Conclusion 

The social media post claiming that the Chinese aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for coronavirus and other included details are false. 

Tools Used

  • Google advanced search 
  • Twitter advanced search

Result: False 

If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.

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No, He Is Not Bharat Biotech’s VP Taking The First Dose of COVID Vaccine ‘Covaxin’

Social media users circulated a false image claiming that the vice president of Bharat Biotech has undergone the first clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine.

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No, He Is Not Bharat Biotech’s VP Taking The First Dose of COVID Vaccine ‘Covaxin’

Several social users posted a picture of a woman thrusting a syringe in man’s vein and claimed that the man in the picture is Bharat Biotech’s Vice President, Dr. VK Srinivas, and the first dose of the vaccine was administered on him.

According to a report in Live Mint, Bharat Biotech, an unlisted Indian vaccine maker, has received regulatory approval to start human clinical trials for its experimental shot. The phase 1 trial of Covaxine will begin next week. The company has planned to enroll 375 people in the first phase of clinical trials.

We found that the same image is viral on Twitter and Facebook with a caption, “Dr. V. K.Srinivas, Vice President, Bharat biotech, taking Corona vaccine clinical trial immediately after taking the first dose. He is the first person in India to take vaccine developed by him and his team in Bharat Biotech. Look at the confidence.”

Fact Check

As we began fact-checking the claim, we looked for some media reports backing the claim, but we did not find any authentic information to corroborate.

However, during our research, we came across the statement tweeted by Bharat Biotech. In a statement posted on their Twitter handle, Bharat Biotech said that individual images and messages circulated on social media platforms had not disseminated by Bharat biotech. The image is a routine procedural blood draw for testing all production staff.

We now searched, if Dr.VK Srinivas is the Vice President of the Bharat biotech. During our research, we did not find any results for his name. We found that Dr. V Krishna Mohan is the Executive Director, and T Srinivas is the Chief Financial Officer of the management team of the pharmaceutical.

Conclusion

It is evident from our fact check that social media users circulated a false image claiming that the vice president of Bharat Biotech has undergone the first clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine.

Tools Used

  • Google Search
  • Media Reports
  • Twitter Search

Result: False


If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form

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