Possible Cures & False Advisories: Fake News in Times of COVID-19
Misinformation around the novel coronavirus is spreading as fast as the virus itself.
Video Editor: Varun Sharma/Mohd Ibrahim
Can drinking hot water help prevent coronavirus? Can drinking tea be a solution? Did you also receive a message about the central government asking people not to post anything related to coronavirus? If the answer to all these questions is a ‘yes’, then you – like many others – have been WebQoof-ed.
Possible Cures, Conspiracy Theories & Manipulated Content
Misinformation around the novel coronavirus is spreading as fast as the virus itself; from possible cures to conspiracy theories and manipulated content, the internet is teeming with fake and unverified messages.
You can read all our fact-checked stories on coronavirus here.
For instance, the message about drinking hot water to prevent coronavirus spread like wildfire. However, it’s not medically corroborated and there is no study to prove that it can help cure or prevent coronavirus. In fact, doctors and experts say that hot water can be beneficial for a sore throat but it is not a sure shot medical treatment.
Similar claims were made about tea, but again, no scientific evidence, no study, no research to back this claim.
And if you have been wondering if eating non-vegetarian food puts you at a greater risk of contracting the virus, then that's also not true. Neither WHO nor any expert has found any link between non-vegetarian food and the coronavirus.
While most of these forwards look harmless, these can have a detrimental effect on a person's health if they ignore medical advice and think these remedies will keep them safe.
Fake Government Advisories Used to Spread Panic
A series of fake advisories attributed to top government officers was used to create panic and confusion among the masses.
If you have heard that the government is shutting down the internet or that you can't post anything about COVID-19 because that will land you in trouble, you have been receiving a lot of those unverified messages because none of it is true. The message about internet shutdown was created using online templates, while the one about not posting stuff about corona was mischievously linked to MHA.
Similar messages and audio notes attributed to WHO, Dr Trehan of Medanta Hospital, etc have been circulated and debunked too. These fake messages are alarming and create panic and fear among the masses.
So as we use hand sanitizers, gloves and masks to keep ourselves safe, let's also be more vigilant and verify every bit of information we share on social media. Remember to take precautions, but also not fall these fake forwards!
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)
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