The novel coronavirus has now become a global pandemic. The deadly virus, after setting its roots in China’s Wuhan and other parts, has now reached more than 70 countries. India is no exception as 29 positive cases have been reported in the country as the report is being written. The World Health Organization and other health organizations are working closely with the Health Ministries of the affected countries to curb the outbreak; unaffected countries are also in contact with global agencies as efforts are being made to prevent the outbreak in these countries. Multiple organizations and research firms are currently performing multiple tests on the cause, effect, symptoms, preventive measures and vaccines of coronavirus. Here’s what we know so far about how it spreads, what are its effects, whether or not the Indian climate is conducive for this virus and factors that may work as a catalyst in fueling the effects of this deadly and dangerous virus.
What is CoronaVirus?
Coronavirus(CoV) is a respiratory virus that is associated with the family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The new virus which was first reported in China’s Wuhan city is temporarily named ‘2019-nCoV’. As per the latest study by WHO (World Health Organization), the virus is zoonotic so the transmission media here is largely animals and human-beings. SARS-CoV was first transmitted from Civet Cats to Humans and MERS-CoV was first transmitted from Camels to Humans. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Symptom of Coronavirus
While the cause and effect of the coronavirus is still a subject to broader research, the symptoms of this virus (known so far) are easy to detect.
- Cough and Sneeze
- Shortness of Breath
- Difficulty in breathing
- Respiratory Infections
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome
- Kidney problems
Possible Preventive Measures
Keeping Indian conditions in mind, the phrase ‘Prevention is better than cure” not just summarises the need for awareness towards coronavirus in public but also raises the demand for an institution that regulates and addresses the possible threat because of viruses that are not very well known here. Let’s take a look at the preventive measures that can help us fight coronavirus in India and globally.
- Wash your hands properly.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing.
- Since the virus is zoonotic, avoid contact with wild animals.
- Thoroughly clean and cook meat and eggs.
- Do not shake hands or make close contacts with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
The virus has mapped its own path in several countries. Journalists across the globe are trying to report as many possible cases as they can. The most affected country so far is China, where the virus incepted resulting in 80,409 cases and over 3,000 deaths. Notably, Hong Kong has declared the Wuhan virus outbreak as an ‘emergency’. The other affected countries are Italy, South Korea, Iran, the US, India, Bahrain, North Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Nepal, Japan, France and many more.
FAQs on Coronavirus
A detailed Q&A has been released by the World Health Organization which answers the questions related to coronavirus in detail.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans in China in 2002 and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Misinformation/Disinformation/Fake News about Coronavirus
Ever since the epidemic emerged, many social media users took to social networking sites and messaging apps to share their thoughts on the epidemic. Fact-checkers across the globe are fighting the misinformation/disinformation/fake news as part of an alliance led by the IFCN. Here are some claims going viral which aren’t true at all.
A video went viral on social media in which claimed that a monstrous parasite was found in a coronavirus patient. The viral post also appeals to avoid any form of cold drinks, ice creams, cold coffees and any type of preserved foods and also milkshakes, rough ice, ice colas, and milk sweets older than 48 hours for at least 90 days from the date when the post was shared. We fact-checked this claim and after checking multiple sources, we found that the video is old and it has nothing to do with the coronavirus outbreak.
A deadly virus – the Coronavirus – is making China suffer. It may come to India immediately. Avoid any form of cold drinks, ice creams, cold coffees and any type of preserved foods and also milkshakes, rough ice, ice colas, and milk sweets older than 48 hours for at least 90 days from today.
People’s Daily, China’s state-controlled news outlet, shared an image of a hospital building to claim that a new hospital to cure coronavirus patients had been built in China’s Wuhan within just 16 hours. However, when we fact-checked this viral claim, we found that the image is old and hence the claim is ‘Misleading’.
With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, panic has been triggered across the world. Thousands of people have been affected and 259 have been killed in China so far. In India, one confirmed case of Coronavirus has been reported.
A video went viral along with a text copy that states, “Chinese president Xi Jinping visited a mosque and requested Muslims to pray for the current coronavirus outbreak and its containment.”
When we fact-checked the viral video, we found that the video is 4 years old and the context is entirely different in both the claims. We found that the video is old and it was shot when Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a visit to the Xincheng Mosque in Yinchuan city, capital of NW China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Hence it was proved in our fact-check that the viral claim is ‘Misleading’ as the video is different and the context is entirely different.
A video has gone viral in many WhatsApp groups and social media which claimed that the Chinese president Xi Jinping visited a mosque in China after apparently realizing that only Allah can save China from this epidemic. The viral message also claims that the Chinese President has decided to translate the Islamic Holy book Quran.
Hindu Mahasabha leader Swami Chakrapani Maharaj made a claim that cow urine and dung can cure coronavirus. However, when we checked this claim with the preventive measures and possible treatment guidelines issued by multiple global health organizations, we found that his claim is ‘False’ as there is no study to back his claim and multiple health specialists and media outlets have rubbished his claim.
Cow urine, one of the most debated topics in India, is again making the headlines as Hindu Mahasabha president Swami Chakrapani Maharaj has claimed that Cow urine and dung can cure coronavirus. – Can Cow Urine and Dung Cure Coronavirus? Read To Know
We were flagged to fact-check a video in which one can see many dead bodies and a person(Gender not known yet) skinning one of the dead bodies with a cleaver. There is a text message with the video that reads, “THE CHINESE HAVE BEGUN TO USE THEIR HUMAN CORPSE TO PROCESS INTO PRODUCTS SUCH AS CORNED BEEF TO SHIP TO AFRICA. Please share it with your contacts. Very important”.
When we searched for more information on the viral video, we found that the video is old and it is present on the internet from 2016. Also, the video doesn’t belong to China and was shot to showcase a Tibetan ritual namely ‘Sky Burial’ in which dead bodies are skinned and left in open to be eaten by scavenging animals or carrion birds. After watching multiple videos in lieu of the viral video, we reached the conclusion that the video might be of Tibet or China’s Sichuan as residents of both these territories perform such rituals.
Is China Sending Human Corpses As Corned Beef To South Africa? Old Video Viral With Misleading Claim
Coronavirus, an epidemic that has caused several casualties across the globe, has fallen prey to misinformation as several false or misleading claims are viral in its name. We have previously debunked several viral claims in the past that were shared in the name of coronavirus and were proved to have no relation with coronavirus or turned out to be false.
We were tagged to fact check a claim that states, “Russia announces the closure of airspace and suspension of all its incoming and outgoing flights to China.” Along with the claim, preventive measures from the coronavirus were also mentioned in the viral WhatsApp forward.
As we began fact-checking the viral claim, we first checked media reports to know if Russia has indeed suspended all its incoming and outgoing flights to China. Media reports suggested that the viral claim is partially true as Airservices is not entirely suspended. We also proceeded to book a ticket from Russia’s Moscow to China’s Beijing and it gave us more information about the availability of tickets and pricing. After reading the media reports and being able to book the tickets, we reached the conclusion that Russia has not announced the closure of airspace and suspension of all its incoming and outgoing flights to China.
Russia announces the closure of airspace and suspension of all its incoming and outgoing flights to China. Verification Coronavirus, an epidemic that started late December last year, has fallen prey to misinformation. Personal interest, political motivation, ideological or religious beliefs, there could be several possibilities that can be blamed for the effective spread of misinformation regarding coronavirus.
One of our readers sent us a claim to fact-check. The claim alluded, “as per a report published by CNN, “The US has got the vaccine for Novel Coronavirus…They are in testing mode on humans and in the next 3 weeks, everything will be fine…28,000 patients got cured of coronavirus…”.
As we began to fact-check this claim, we found that the US is indeed testing a vaccine on humans that can possibly cure coronavirus. However, the testing is currently going on and hence any possibility of the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of the vaccine can not be confirmed. The claim also suggests that 28,000 coronavirus patients have been cured in the US of this vaccine. However, when we checked media reports on the number of coronavirus patients in the US, we found that the number is roughly within 100 hence the second part of the claim is ‘False’. After finding multiple evidence on the viral claim, we reached the conclusion that the viral post is ‘Misleading’.
We were tagged to fact check a viral message which attributes to CNN and claims that the vaccine for Novel coronavirus has been invented in the US and it is currently being tested on humans. The message also claims that within 3 weeks, the vaccine will bring normalcy from the epidemic.
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