Multiple unverified images and messages have been circulated on social media amid the coronavirus outbreak. One such message which has been shared with an image of the globe claims that all the worst-affected COVID-19 cases are situated along Latitude 40 degrees.
“Strange coincidence that all worst affected Covid19 cases are along the same Latitude 40ํ: From left: France Italy Iran Wuhan S.Korea Japan Seattle Washington NewYork,” the claim reads.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The Quint confirmed that the claim with which the message has been circulated is completely misleading. Reasons? There are two:
- The fact that large countries cannot be represented by a single latitude is conveniently ignored.
- Further, all of the aforementioned cities and countries are not situated along Latitude 40 degrees.
WHAT WE FOUND
A google key word search with ‘COVID-19 cases across the world’ directed us to the Coronavirus Resource Centre data on the website of Johns Hopkins University. The data suggests that as of 18 March, China (81,102) had the maximum number of confirmed cases followed by Italy, Iran, Spain and so on and so forth.
The viral message mentions a few counties (France, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and a few cities (Wuhan, Seattle, Washington and New York) clearly misses out Germany and Switzerland.
Next, we looked up for the latitudinal coordinates of all of these places mentioned in the viral message. Here’s what we found:
- 1. Grand Est, France – 48.6998° N
- 2. Bergamo, Italy – 45.6983° N
- 3.Tehran, Iran – 35.6892° N
- Wuhan, China – 30.5928° N
- Daegu, South Korea – 35.8714° N
- Hokkaido, Japan – 43.2203° N
- Seattle, US – 47.6189° N
- Washington, US – 47.7511° N
- New York, US – 40.7128° N
This proves that coordinates of certain places go as far as 47 and 48° N, clearly implying that the generalisation in the message is misleading.
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