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WebQoof Recap: Of Possible Cures, Fake Circulars & Communal Hatred

Misinformation around COVID-19 is spreading as fast as the virus itself.

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WebQoof
4 min read
WebQoof Recap: Of Possible Cures, Fake Circulars & Communal Hatred
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A massive amount of misinformation about COVID-19 has been doing the rounds lately, from possible cures and fake official circulars to allegations against Muslims of deliberately spreading coronavirus.

Here’s a quick round-up of the WhatsApp forwards and fake tweets that misled the public this week.

1. From Possible Cures to False Advisories

Misinformation around COVID-19 is spreading as fast as the virus itself, with fake news about cures and fake advisories running riot. One of these was a message about drinking hot water to prevent coronavirus. However, this claim has no basis in medicine and there is no study to prove that it can help cure or prevent coronavirus. Doctors say it can be beneficial for a sore throat but has not been proven as a cure for COVID-19.

Similar claims were made about tea, but again, no scientific evidence, no study, no research to back this claim.

A series of fake advisories attributed to top government officers were also used to create panic and confusion, with one of these claims being that the government was shutting down the internet. However, the images which were used to claim this are morphed versions of bulletins run by Aaj Tak and ABP News.

You can read the full story here.

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2. Old, Unrelated Video Shared as Muslims Licking Plates to Spread COVID-19

A video of a group of boys licking utensils went viral with the claim that it shows them trying to spread coronavirus.

The message claims that many Muslims have been infected across the country and have been caught by police in one place as well. It adds that these Muslims can be seen smearing their saliva on utensils which, as is known by now, would be a way to spread the disease.

However, we found that the claim with the video is false and it is actually of an old incident unrelated to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

You can read the full story here.

3. Fake Memo on Disaster Management Act Says COVID-19 Posts Illegal

A viral message on social media claims that the Disaster Management Act is going to be implemented from "tonight 12 (midnight) onwards". Citing the Act, the message claims that no citizen will be allowed to post any update or share any message related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and only a government department can do so.

If a citizen posts any message about the pandemic, it will be a punishable offence, the message further claims.

As per the Disaster Management Act, there is no provision that mentions that apart from government departments, no other citizen can be allowed to talk, update or share any news related to a disaster.

Also, the central government stated on 24 March itself – when the 21-day lockdown was announced – that the Disaster Management Act is being invoked to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

You can read the full story here.

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4. Experts Deny Link Between COVID-19 and Alkaline Food

A viral message claims that the pH value of the novel coronavirus ranges between 5.5 and 8.5 and thus, one should consume alkaline food above the pH level of the virus so as to prevent its spread. The message attributes this information to a research published in the Journal of Virology.

As can be seen above, the message also lists the pH values of different food items such as lemon, orange, garlic, avocado etc.

But this is fake. Firstly, the study being quoted in the research dates back to 1991. The abstract of the study mentions that it is about coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus type 4 (MHV4). Moreover, speaking to The Quint, Dr Shaheed Jameel, a leading virologist, said that viruses or any living organisms do not possess pH values and called the alleged link baseless.

You can read the full story here.

5. Trupti Desai Buying Alcohol Amid Lockdown? No, It’s an Old Video

A video of Trupti Desai, social activist and founder of NGO Bhumata Brigade, wentviral with the claim that she was caught buying liquor illegally during the lockdown and detained by the police.

In the video, Desai, who is carrying what seems to be a string of liquor bottles, can be seen being escorted by some police officers. The police takes away the bottles from her hand and then she is put into a police van and taken away.

We found that some Twitter users had said that the video is not recent but was from when Desai had tried to garland Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis with liquor bottles.

You can read the full story here.

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You can read all our fact-checked stories on coronavirus here.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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