Before reaching Armenia, the new type of coronavirus had become the cause of the spread of fake news in the international media. After the first cases were registered in Armenia’s neighboring countries and in Armenia itself, misinformation about the extent of spread of COVID-19 virus and fight against it circulated in the Armenian media and among Armenian social media users.
A number of well-known international media and fact-finding organizations have written that alcohol and garlic do not kill coronavirus, and wearing masks or shaving beards do not help protect against the virus, among them PolitiFact.com, Factcheck.org and others. The World Health Organization issued statements about the most widespread pieces of misinformation. And Facebook is trying to remove the conspiracy theories and misinformation on the coronavirus through special settings.
A number of celebrities have been in the spotlight lately in relation to being infected with coronavirus. Rumors of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, and several senior Iranian officials having been infected with coronavirus have already been confirmed. On the other hand, similar rumors about the Pope and President of Brazil were denied.
The Fact Investigation Platform has collected misinformation about the coronavirus in Armenian media in recent days.
A story about Armenicum
Although it has been officially stated several times that there is no medicine that can cure coronavirus yet, various specialists and experts are trying to suggest their own ways. On March 4, Public Radio of Armenia referred to a publication on the possible role of the Armenian Armenicum drug for coronavirus treatment. The article specifically stated that Armenicum, created for the treatment of HIV / AIDS, may be useful in the fight against coronavirus. Public Radio later deleted this publication from its website, but the archived version of the material is available on search engines.
Prescriptions from Ukraine
For several days Armenian, Russian and Ukrainian newspapers were circulating publications about the Ukrainian method of coronavirus treatment, noting that onions, garlic and salo are the “best ways” to treat coronavirus.
It should also be noted that these and other foods presented as remedies for coronavirus actually have a positive effect on the human immune system and make a person more resistant to viruses. However, these methods do not prevent coronavirus and do not cure the infected person.
Advice from Facebook
In recent days, a whole host of “facts” about coronavirus has also spread widely among Armenian Facebook users. However, this was spread not only in Armenia, but around the world, and the source was a post by a Facebook user.
For example, one of the facts is that the coughing or sneezing spreads the virus within three meters, whereas in WTO publications it is recommended to stay one meter away from the person with symptoms. Another point states that the virus lives in the outside environment for 12 hours, while the WHO has noted that it can remain viable and infectious for several hours to several days.
The WTO urges not to believe in misinformation
The possible effects of alcohol and garlic were most discussed for the “treatment” of coronavirus. Some news outlets cited child urine as a treatment for coronavirus. However, the World Health Organization has rejected all these treatment options, i.e. garlic, urine and alcohol do not kill coronavirus. Even taking cocaine will not help to avoid infection or cure you. The WHO has also referred to another myth that coronavirus will die if the patient stays outside in cold weather. The WHO explains that cold weather and snow cannot kill the coronavirus. In addition, a hot shower does not prevent coronavirus.
Do smokers not get a coronavirus infection?
In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, it was widely reported that non-smokers were more likely to be infected with coronavirus than smokers. However, smokers are more likely to have cardiovascular and lung problems, which increases their chances of being infected with coronavirus.
Marina Khachatryan recommends eating spicy food
During a live broadcast on February 25, former member of the Yerkir Tsirani Party Marina Khachatryan said that they have started using this measure in neighboring Iran and that it is quite effective. Marina Khachatryan urged to start using spicy food in Armenia too and to know that any artificial virus can be easily removed, and the coronavirus, according to her, is just the case.
The Fact Investigation Platform will continue to follow the rumors about the coronavirus in the media and social networks and will make publications in the event of spread of misinformation.