As the COVID cases are on the rise across the country and shortage of oxygen, vaccines and Remdesivir vial became news, the spread of dubious claims and wrong information has been prompt on the popular messaging platform – WhatsApp.
While people need to be extra careful of such forwards, we spoke to our readers about their understanding of such fake forwards, they shared different such incidences with us.
Sachin Srivastava an IT professional of Mumbai said, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit our lives, it is only normal that we look for every source of information to see how best to protect ourselves and our families. But amid the crisis, distortion has gone viral on various messaging platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook and Signal. The other day I received a message stating a number that the vaccine is available there at a cheaper price, when I called the agency, I found out there is something fishy, this is not just irritating; it can be unsafe too.”
Aditi Vinay said, “There are video circulations of one Baba claiming that, if you can hold your breath for 10-seconds, without coughing or difficulty in breathing it indicates the absence of COVID-19 infection in your body. Whereas the truth is that, the claim is absolutely fake as the cough is only one of the few symptoms that people with coronavirus may experience. There could be patients who may be infected and show symptoms such as fever and body ache too.”
Indrayani Manikam, a BARC employee says, “I received a forward that one can beat the virus with drinking warm water, salt or vinegar (vitamin C), This viral message claims that coronavirus, before it reaches lungs, remains in the throat for four days and it is this time that the person begins to cough or have throat pain. I followed this blindly and had a sore throat, my doctor told me that there is no evidence to prove that the virus stays in the throat for four days. Second, gargling is often recommended for a sore throat, however, there is no evidence to suggest that it would prevent infection from COVID-19.”
Then there was one viral post on social media with a screenshot, a person named Ajay Agarwal claimed that he can supply Remdisivir for Rs. 3000. In that screenshot, it was also mentioned that he would ask you to transfer money in advance so that he can deliver the vaccine to you PAN India in just three hours. Many people in need of vaccines tried contacting him but no one was answering the call after receiving the money.
Archana Ashtekar, Professor at Jai Hind college said, “Many such screenshots are claiming that they can supply Oxygen and vaccines, and people fall in the trap. These days there are fake call centres for making such dubious calls. Such bogus messages, of course, had no relevance as the government has announced that they are making Oxygen and vaccines available for the common public.”
A Naturopath Sangeeta Amladi said, “One day I received a forward that claims Rasam, a soup-like brew of various spices, tamarind juice and lentils is the best way to cure this coronavirus. The forwarded message highlighted how years ago when Malaysia was hit by the Nipah virus, Malaysian Indians were not affected as they consumed rasam.” She said, “Turmeric, one of the elements of rasam is an antibiotic, but one cannot conclude that it can kill the deadly virus.”
Suresh Mistry, a retired serviceman said, “I received hundreds of forwards from various groups, but the most fun was that the “COVID-19 virus will be killed at a temperature of 30-35 degrees. Therefore, drink more hot water, go under the sun for a long time. Drinking warm water is effective for almost all viruses. Try not to drink ice. Remember that,” the message said.” Technically, the virus is destroyed at a temperature greater than 60° C and there’s no way the human body can handle that high temperature.”
A priest Santosh Sathe shared his experience with Afternoon Voice “Everyone should ensure their mouth and throat are humid, and should never dry. This advice credited to some Japanese doctors treating COVID-19 cases further reads that take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Why? Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill all the viruses.” I don’t know whose brains are creating such hilarious posts but these forwards are not doing any good to mankind.”
Nitin Hilgude, a Thane resident said, “I received a forward that said eat salt and onions into small pieces and eating without water can cure coronavirus. This false miracle cure also suggests not to drink water instantly and have it only after twenty minutes. And, the patient will be cured of coronavirus.” I did that, but the foul smell in my mouth made me not only breathless but I got a severe headache.”
The Pandemic is taking many lives, 3,780 COVID deaths have been reported till today, the highest in India in 24 hours, with 3.82 lakh fresh cases.
Verified or unverified advisories and orders by the government are another major hit among India’s chronic forwarders. They claim anything to everything in the name of government orders. They claim in the name of Hindu and Muslim, there are false claims made in the name of doctors or researchers. People in India need to be careful of such forwards.