Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak grabbed public attention, the spread of false and bogus claims increased sharply. Social media a significant tool to keep users updated about the virus also saw a rise in the circulation of unverified messages that added woes and chaos amid the already stressful situation. A barrage of half-baked advice, sketchy remedies, and misguided theories circulated as anxious people rush to understand the health risk. Where experts are yet to understand more about the virus, and also the new strain, with vaccination drive ongoing, fake social media messages saw no stopping. Some of them, in fact, returned from 2020. In our latest COVID-19 fact check series, we look at five fake messages that resurfaced online.

1. Coronavirus Medicine and Treatment Mentioned in Class 12 ‘Jantu Vigyan’ Book

Fake Information: A message that was widely shared last year, resurfaced again, claiming that the medicine and treatment to cure COVID-19 was found in class 12 ‘Jantu Vigyan’ (Animal Science) book written by Dr. Ramesh Gupta. The message goes on to claim that COVID-19 is not a new disease, and it was already mentioned in the intermediate book.

Debunked: LatestLY fact check team last year in March debunked the fake claim. At the time, no vaccine or drug was found to treat coronavirus. Currently, the vaccination drive is ongoing.

2. Coronavirus Is a Bacteria

Fake Information: The message claimed that coronavirus is a bacteria and not a virus, and it could be treated with aspirin. It added that COVID-19 is a bacterium amplified with 5G electromagnetic radiation.

Debunked: Press Information Bureau’s (PIB) fact check team denied such a claim and called it a hoax last year. It added that coronavirus is a virus.

3. WHO Doctors Advise Against Social Distancing, Use of Masks

Fake Information: The viral message claimed that doctors of the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged people not to maintain social distancing and wear masks as COVID-19 is flu and can be cured with treatment.

Debunked: PIB dismissed the rumour, and noted that the claims are totally fake. Precautions like wearing masks, and following social distancing must be followed by everyone to stay safe.

4. COVID-19 Is a ‘Scapegoat Virus’ to Distract Everyone From Asteroid Crash

Fake Information: The Facebook post mentions that COVID-19 is a scapegoat virus created to distract people from an approaching doomsday because of an asteroid collision.

Debunked: So far, you must have understood that the virus was definitely created, or used as a distraction. The false claim circulated last year, and it was debunked by hoax buster site Snopes addressing this specific theory with detailed points.

5. ‘My Secret Terrius’ Predicted COVID-19 in 2018

Fake Information: ‘My Secret Terrius’ (2018) has an episode that claims that coronavirus is man-made. The clip was shared with netizens claiming that the South Korean series predicted the coronavirus outbreak before it was identified.

Debunked: LatestLY’s fact check team debunked the apparent ‘coronavirus details,’ in the episode, stating that it does not hold any truth and should not be granted for it is pure work of fiction.

These are the few fake claims that unfortunately saw a resurface in the world of social media amid the global crisis. We advise our readers to not fall prey to any unverified claims, and follow official outlets and social media handles to stay updated about the COVID-19 pandemic.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 24, 2021 12:03 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).