MP Govt’s Old Ad Against Wearing Masks Revived Out of Context
We found that the ad is from March, from before the advisories about wearing masks were changed by health bodies.
A public health advisory issued by the Madhya Pradesh government and the National Health Mission in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages, is now being revived without the context that its advice against wearing masks was before the guidance was changed by health bodies.
The video shows three men and a woman at a bus stop, but while the men are masked, the woman is not.
One man asks the woman why she is not wearing a mask and she says that healthy people do not need to wear masks, adding that a mask should only be used when a person is going to a hospital, when they are looking after a sick person and when they are suffering from a cold.
The woman is carrying a stethoscope, showing that she is a doctor. On hearing the doctor’s explanation, the men take off their masks.
It can be seen that the ad is one by the Madhya Pradesh government and the National Health Mission from the last shot.
We found many people sharing the video with the message that the government of India had advised that healthy people should not wear masks.
The Quint also received a query about the same video from a reader on its WhatsApp helpline.
WHAT WE FOUND
We broke up the video into several keyframes using Invid and ran a reverse image search. This directed us to the video which we found had been uploaded on the Facebook account of the Collector of Gwalior on 18 March 2020.
We also found the same video on the account of the Collector Jabalpur from the same date.
The video is clearly old and is being revived out of context now because in March, at the beginning of the pandemic, several health bodies across the world had a similar take on wearing masks, saying that only those who were sick or taking care of a sick person were required to wear masks.
The advice was also coming in light of a sudden shortage of masks as people rushed to buy them when COVID-19 hit.
It was only in April that bodies started making the wearing of masks mandatory across the world.
On 3 April, the CDC changed course on its earlier guidance that healthy people need not wear masks and instead said that everyone should use something like cloth masks to cover their mouth and nose when stepping out.
In early June, the World Health Organisation also reversed course, advising everyone to wear masks in public, where physical distancing could not be possible. Until then, the global body had stayed away from advocating for masks because of the lack of evidence that they helped and because of a rush to buy, The Guardian reports.
In early April, many states in India made wearing of masks mandatory, such as Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Chandigarh and Odisha, The Times of India reports. In mid-April, the Centre made wearing masks mandatory across India and it remains so.
Therefore, there is no cause to say that the government is advocating for only sick people to wear masks and an old ad from before masks advisories changed is being shared out of context now.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.