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Do Masks Kill? Is COVID An Ordinary Flu That Doesn’t Need Social Distancing Or Vaccines? Delhi Doctor’s Misleading Claims On COVID Resurfaces

A video of a man who identifies himself as Dr Tarun Kothari, speaking to the media about several alleged ‘ill effects’ of the practicing guidelines advised to tackle Coronavirus, including vaccines, wearing masks, social distancing, has gone viral on social media platforms.

The post that is being widely shared identifies him as the dean of Nair Hospital in Mumbai and in the video Dr Kothari can be heard urging people to ‘not wear masks or follow social distancing protocols.’ He is also heard claiming that ‘vaccination has killed more people than the disease itself’.

Newschecker has found the claims regarding Coronavirus made by Dr Kothari in the video to be grossly misleading and dangerous.

Dr Kothari makes several claims regarding coronavirus and particularly urges people to not ‘wear masks’ as it will lead to other diseases, including reduction of oxygen level in the body resulting in breathing-related ailments. He adds that it may lead to hospitalisation and eventual death of the patient due to ‘poor treatment’ which will be counted as a COVID-related death. He claims that coronavirus is an ‘ordinary flu’ and does not require vaccination or follow guidelines regarding social distancing and using face masks.

This is not the first time this video has gained traction. The viral clip of Dr Kothari’s claims regarding coronavirus had earlier made its way to social media in July 2021. Several users had shared the viral video claiming that Dr Kothari is the dean of Nair Hospital, Mumbai.

Who is Dr Tarun Kothari, Seen Making Misleading Claims On Coronavirus

Dr Tarun Kothari is practicing Radiologist at Indo-American Health Care in Delhi’s Peeragarhi, as per his Practo profile. He completed his MBBS from Dr. Sampurnanand Medical College, Jodhpur in 1998 and MD in Radio Diagnosis/Radiology from Rajasthan University of Health Science, Jaipur in 2009. Dr Kotahri is a member of the Delhi Medical Association. 

According to his official website, Dr Kothari believes that “corona pandemic is a fake pandemic. He made hundreds of videos to educate the common masses regarding fake corona pandemic.” 

He authored a book titled ‘Corona Pandemic Scandal: The Biggest Scam In The History Of Mankind’ in which he claims to “uncover the corona truth about Pharma Company, WHO, CDC, Banking and Media. The book explains scientifically why the current COVID 19 pandemic is a fake pandemic.” He has written another book in Hindi titled ‘Corona Mahamari Maha-shadyantra.’

Coronavirus outbreak and the resultant pandemic has been the subject of much misinformation Newschecker did a fact check of a viral video claiming that dried ginger, due to its “alkaline properties” can prevent the coronavirus from infecting humans. We found out that the viral claim is false and devoid of factual evidence.

You can read our other fact checks related to coronavirus here, here and here.

Fact Check/Verification

To verify the veracity of the claim that Dr Tarun Kothari is the dean of Nair Hospital, Mumbai we looked up for the dean of Topiwala National Medical College & B. Y. L. Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai on its official website. However, Newschecker did not find Dr Kothari’s name mentioned on the site. The current dean of the hospital is Dr Ramesh Bharmal.

Newschecker decided to further probe the claims regarding coronavirus made by Dr Kothari in the video one-by-one.

Claim 1: Face Masks Reduces Oxygen Levels In The Body

Dr Kothari claimed that wearing face masks leads to a reduction in oxygen level in the body. However, WHO in its mythbuster section has clarified that face masks do not cause oxygen deficiency. The health organisation stated, “The prolonged use of medical masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency. While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally.”

WHO mythbuster contradicts Dr Kothari's claims regarding coronavirus
Screenshot from WHO website


We also came across a report by WebMD that cited a research by McMaster University in Canada to check whether wearing masks lead to oxygen reduction in the body. According to the report the researchers “gave 25 adults (average age: 76.5 years) portable pulse oximeters to measure their blood oxygen levels while wearing a face mask, as well as before and after. The investigators found no concerning signs of hypoxia, or reduced blood oxygen.”

Claim 2: Vaccination Has Killed More People Than The Disease Itself

Dr Kothari also made claims regarding coronavirus vaccination. He urged people to not get vaccinated against coronavirus as ‘vaccination has claimed more lives than the disease itself.’ According to the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, COVID-19 vaccination coverage in India stands at 1,58,04,41,770 as of 7 AM on January 18, 2022. The overall adverse event following immunization stands at 0.005 per cent as of January 17, 2022, as per CoWIN portal.

CoWIN portal contradicts claims regarding coronavirus
Screenshot from CoWIN portal

Over the last 24 hours, a total of 79,91,230 vaccine doses were administered in the country and 147 cases of adverse effects following immunization were reported, which makes it 0.0018 percent of the total vaccination. The COVID-19 death toll in the country stands at 4,86,761 as per the official website of the Union Health Ministry.

Claim 3: No Need To Follow Social Distancing Protocols 

In the video, Dr Kothari has claimed that there is no requirement to follow social distancing protocols. However, according to the WHO, “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur through direct, indirect, or close contact with infected people through infected secretions such as saliva and respiratory secretions or their respiratory droplets, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings.” 

According to an article published by PNAS titled, ‘A guideline to limit indoor airborne transmission of COVID-19,’ “The Six-Foot Rule is a social distancing recommendation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on the assumption that the primary vector of pathogen transmission is the large drops ejected from the most vigorous exhalation events, coughing and sneezing.” 

Claim 4: Coronavirus Is An Ordinary Flu

In the viral video, Dr Kothari claimed that coronavirus is nothing more than an ‘ordinary flu.’ However, it should be noted that COVID-19  is caused due to SARS-CoV-2 while flu is caused by influenza virus. 

According to a report by the CDC, “Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus first identified in 2019, and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.” 

Newschecker tried contacting Dr Kothari to seek clarification on his views regarding the pandemic and vaccination. His response is awaited. We also wrote to the Delhi Medical Association to know their stance on Dr Kothari’s viral claims. Their response is awaited too. 

Conclusion

The man in the viral video, identified as Dr Tarun Kothari, is not the dean of Nair hospital, Mumbai. His claims regarding coronavirus and vaccination are also false and devoid of any factual evidence. Studies and researches undertaken by health organisations, including the WHO, contradict his claims regarding coronavirus.

Result: Misleading Content

Sources

Official Website of Topiwala National Medical College & B. Y. L. Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai: https://tnmcnair.edu.in/home/admn.html

WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters#oxygen

WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20201103/dont-believe-the-myth-face-masks-dont-lower-oxygen-levels#1

PNAS: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/17/e2018995118

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm

Official Website of Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/

CoWIN Portal: https://dashboard.cowin.gov.in/


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Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

1 COMMENT

  1. Excellent reporting exposing pseudoscience.
    I managef to remove all DTK’s unfounded claims from Dailymotion, but YT is happy to ignore my reports.
    Again, thank you.

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