A WhatsApp forward is doing the rounds which claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a 14-hour long ‘Janta Curfew’ on 22 March from 7 am to 9 pm because the lifespan of the coronavirus at one place is only 12 hours and if we all follow the Janta Curfew religiously then the chain will be broken. The forward also lauds PM Modi for this visionary appeal and calls for a ‘Janta Curfew’. The viral forward also claims that PM Modi was referring to the aforementioned reasons when he called for a 14-hour long ‘Janta Curfew’. “This is what PM Modi refers to us to do on 22/2/2020 at 5 pm to 5.05 pm”, additionally the message reads.
India is being lauded by several other countries and global health agencies for taking proactive efforts in fighting the novel coronavirus. Indian political parties, celebrities, and notable personalities have united in the fight against Covid-19. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, PM Modi, at 8 pm yesterday, addressed the nation and called for a Janta Curfew on 22 March along with highlighting key issues with the coronavirus and how fellow countrymen can actively and effectively fight it.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2020
Now, we began to fact check the claim that the coronavirus can only survive for 12 hours at one place. We first checked the life of coronavirus at the World Health Organization’s official website. In the Q&A section, we found that the WHO is not certain about the lifespan of novel coronavirus – it has mentioned that the novel coronavirus seems to behave like other viruses from the same corona family, but is speculative in nature at the moment.
The detailed WHO Q&A can be viewed below:
WHO is continuously monitoring and responding to this outbreak. This Q&A will be updated as more is known about COVID-19, how it spreads and how it is affecting people worldwide. For more information, check back regularly on WHO’s coronavirus pages. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Now, to get more information about the survival period of other coronaviruses, we performed a custom Google search with a combination of several keywords. We found an excerpt from a book headlined under ‘CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH: KEYS TO DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT, AND PREVENTION OF SARS’. The report extensively talks about the lifecycle of the SARS coronavirus. As WHO has mentioned, though not with complete surety, that the novel coronavirus seems to behave in a similar manner as of other coronaviruses, we took this report as a reference to know the lifecycle of the novel coronavirus. However, it is not known yet if the lifecycle of the novel coronavirus will be exactly the same as that of other coronaviruses.
For coronavirus investigators, the recognition of a new coronavirus as the cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was certainly remarkable, yet perhaps not surprising (Baric et al., 1995). The cadre of investigators who have worked with this intriguing family of viruses over the past 30 years are familiar with many of the features of coronavirus biology, pathogenesis, and disease that manifested so dramatically in the worldwide SARS epidemic.
During our search for more information on the issue, we found a report published by Live Science that throws more light on the issue and speculates about the lifespan of the novel coronavirus.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Wednesday (March 18) to include a warning not to mix bleach with household cleaning products and to include an update on the publication of the findings. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to accelerate in the U.S., cleaning supplies are disappearing off the shelves and people are worried about every subway rail, kitchen counter and toilet seat they touch.
As per the aforementioned report, the novel coronavirus can remain viable in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours. The article also informs that the lifespan quoted by them is a result of a study done by medRxiv on March 11. A .pdf version of the said study can be viewed below.
Now, we searched Google to check if the virus has anything to do with a 12 or 14-hour long time period specifically. During this phase of our search, we found a report by The New York Times that extensively talks about the lifespan of novel coronavirus under various different conditions.
A new study could have implications for how the general public and health care workers try to avoid transmission of the virus. The coronavirus can live for three days on some surfaces, like plastic and steel, new research suggests.
As per an excerpt of the report published by The New York Times, “The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests that the virus disintegrates over the course of a day on cardboard, lessening the worry among consumers that deliveries will spread the virus during this period of staying and working from home.” The study report published in the New England Journal of Medicine can be viewed below.
We also found a report published by Medical News Today, which suggests that human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces at room temperature for up to 9 days. At a temperature of 30°C [86°F] or more, the duration of persistence is shorter. Veterinary coronaviruses have been shown to persist even longer for 28 days.
A recent paper looks at how long coronaviruses can survive on various types of surfaces. It finds that the virus tends to persist longer in colder, more humid conditions. The authors also ask how we can destroy coronaviruses. The novel coronavirus, now officially known as COVID-19, has been making headlines since it first came to light, late in 2019.
We also checked for the Government’s official statement on the Janta Curfew and what we found indicated that the call is just a proactive measure to fight the Covid-19. Here’s a tweet from the Prime Minister of India where he made one such announcement.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2020
As it is evident from our fact check above that there is no clear information on the lifespan of the novel coronavirus. However, various study reports have suggested a similar lifespan as that of other coronaviruses. So we reached the conclusion that PM Modi’s motive behind calling for a ‘Janta Curfew’ was just to curb the spreading of novel coronavirus and the Government has not claimed that the Janta Curfew is called to kill the virus hence the claim turned out to ‘Misleading’ in our fact-check.
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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.
Other social media users have shared this claim as well.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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.
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:
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.
The social media post claiming that the Chinese aren’t taking any medicine or vaccine for coronavirus and other included details are false.
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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.
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.”
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.
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.
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