A WhatsApp message, attributed to notes taken by Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw during a lecture by Dr Edward Ryan of Massachusetts General Hospital is going viral on WhatsApp. The “notes” suggest that Omicron would peak by January 21, & that we are fighting the ‘last war with COVID’.
Newschecker received the claim on our WhatsApp tipline (+91 9999499044) to be fact checked. We also found several such posts on social media.
To check the authenticity of the claim, Newschecker conducted a keyword search using the words Dr Edward Ryan and ‘talk on Omicron’ on Google and found a Reddit thread, where users had posted the same content of the message, word-to-word, wondering if it was true. These messages have been posted by those predominantly in the United States and do not attribute the content to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
On further research, we also found the same post on a Chinese website, confirming that the message was viral in other countries before it reached India.
Newschecker also came up on a press release issued by the Massachusetts General Hospital that revealed the message lacked context. “We are aware of COVID-19 information circulating online evidently reflecting an individual’s personal notes from listening to a talk by Edward Ryan, MD, director of Global Infectious Diseases at MGH. These notes lack context, details, and nuance. For instance, the role that vaccines play in mitigating severe disease or death was not included, and individuals with comorbid conditions should continue to take extra precautions to minimize contracting COVID irrelevant of age,” the statement by the hospital read. The statement, however, did not give more details on the talk.
We also contacted Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, who confirmed that she was not the one who took the alleged notes.
The viral message which claims that Omicron would peak by January 21, & that we are fighting the ‘last war with COVID’ has been falsely attributed to notes taken by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. The claims in the message have been shared out of context and hence, are partly false.
Result: Misplaced context/Partly false
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
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