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Messages Viral On Social Media About Coronavirus Are FAKE! Here’s A Fact Check

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, panic has been triggered across the world. Thousands of people have been affected and 106 have been killed in China. However, in India no confirmed case of Coronavirus has been reported till date.

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Claim

 

Most Urgent, Very Serious, Important information

Ministry of health’s emergency notification to the public that the Coronavirus influenza outbreak this time is very very serious & fatal. There’s no cure once you are infected. It is spreading from China to various countries

 

 

Verification

 

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, panic has been triggered across the world. Thousands of people have been affected and 106 have been killed in China. However, in India, no confirmed case of Coronavirus has been reported till date.

 

With the Coronavirus outbreak, fear-mongering messages are doing rounds on various social media platforms. A message viral on social media claims that the Ministry of Health has issued an emergency notification to the public on the methods of prevention of Coronavirus. We found that several users on social media including Twitter and Facebook shared the same viral message on their respective handles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The viral message advisory also stated methods of prevention and precaution such as till the end of March 2020, do not go to crowded places, wear a mask as needed especially in a train or public transportation and avoid fried or spicy food and increase the intake of vitamin C.

 

Meanwhile, Newschecker received the same viral message on its WhatsApp helpline number from a user asking us to verify the claim.

 

 

 

As we began our fact check, we checked India’s Ministry of Health’s official website and its official Twitter handle. During our search, we found that India’s MoH has only issued a travel advisory on January 17, 2020, to people who are visiting China. However, with the increase in the number of cases, MoH issued a revised advisory on January 25, 2020.

 

 

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Meanwhile, we also found a list of preventive steps to be taken on the Ministry of Health’s official Twitter handle. The prevention steps which are enlisted by the Ministry of Health are recommended by the World Health Organisation.

 

 

 

The steps include frequently washing and cleaning the hands with soap, covering one’s mouth and nose while sneezing, avoiding contact with those who have fever and cough, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs, among others.

 

 

 

 

We also fact-checked the viral message prevention and precaution measures. The message stating that people should not go to crowded areas till March 2020 is false as the root cause of this virus is still anonymous.

 

We also found that viral message stating measures for prevention of Coronavirus like keeping your throat moist is untrue as no country has issued an advisory about drinking only a certain amount of water or don’t let your throat dry. As per the reports, Novel Coronavirus is neither associated with spicy food nor vitamin C.

 

Conclusion:
 
 
Newschecker’s team fact-checked the viral claim and found that message viral on social media claiming that Ministry of Health has issued an emergency notification to the public on the methods of prevention of Coronavirus were found out to be misleading. So far, MoH has only issued a travel advisory to people who are visiting China whereas message which advises people to keep their throats moist and avoid public places till March 2020, among other things were found to be incorrect.
 
 
Sources
 
 
Google Search 
 
 
Result: Misleading
 
 
 
 
 
 
(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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