• Ankuran Dutta

#CheckTheFake -10: #Infodemic can make you sick even while maintaining social distance



April 10, 2020

Everybody wishes for an antidote to this pandemic, not to the rising #Infodemic.

Despite the keys to stop the infodemics already available at our hands, people are keen to the key of success to contain the spread of #COVID19.

It is simply because of the global increase in number of total #COVID19 cases and death toll that has risen to 1,536,094 and 89,877 respectively till now with European region being the victims of the most cases and death rate followed by region of the Americas, Western Pacific region, Eastern Mediterranean region, South-East Asia region and African region.

In order to flatten this increasing curb every day, the world is still struggling for developing an antidote to #COVID19. According to WHO, there hasn’t developed any vaccine, drug, specific antiviral medicine or treatment for #COVID19 yet. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized immediately.

But one cannot deny the fact, that the rise of infodemics is overshadowing the numbers of this pandemic daily.

Despite the numbers, the matter is of serious concern as infodemics can make more people sick than the novel coronavirus even while maintaining social distance.

To get rid of this sickness, #CheckTheFake urges to sanitize our minds before hands with few tips like – discard unquoted stories, disbelief stories from any non-official or unauthentic sources, discourage fake news forward, dismiss photos without verifying and develop critical thinking. These are the simple key to success, which are already available at our hands unlike the antidote to pandemic, on containing the spread of fake news on novel coronavirus.

With these few mantras even, world scientists from among those fighting against the pandemic, have also come forward to fight the rising infodemics on #COVID19. Recently, a group of more than 400 scientists from India has raised their voices against the Covid-19 fake news machinery.

Several questions like – whether #COVID19 was made in a lab, whether eating non-vegetarian food is risky, whether cow urine or cow dung can protect people from the virus or whether Indians have a better immune system against coronavirus were the first few popular hoaxes that a group of Indian scientists has come together and busted as part of a joint effort to fight myths and misinformation about the disease.

The hoax busting team is just one of a bunch of groups organized under the voluntary, pan-India effort – Indian Scientists’ Response to #COVID19 (ISRC). Started about two weeks ago, with more than 400 scientists across more than twenty scientific and research institutes in the country, the initiative counts among its volunteer astrophysicists, animal behaviorists, computer scientists, mathematicians, engineers, chemists, biologist, doctors, social scientists and others. Their goals include analyzing “all available data and support national, state and local governments for evidence-based action,” in addition to verifying and communicating information.

#CheckTheFake on #COVID19

FAKE: Cow urine or cow dung can protect people from novel coronavirus.

FACT: Absolutely not. While cow urine and cow dung might be used in several medicines, it can certainly not cure coronavirus. No such statement has yet been made by any scientist.

In fact, a 50-year-old Sheikh Mahmud Ali from Hooghly, West Bengal, was held by the police on Tuesday after he was caught selling cow urine and dung as a cure to the novel coronavirus (The Hindu report on March 18)

While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19 yet. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines.

#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with The Assam Tribune and Northeast Now (www.nenow.in) to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons. ARMT Research

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