Rumors or false information related to COVID-19 lead to thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths according to new study. Most of the rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories were identified from India, the United States, China, Spain, Indonesia, and Brazil.
For example, a myth that consumption of highly-concentrated alcohol could kill the coronavirus has been linked with more than 5,900 hospitalizations, 800 deaths and 60 cases of blindness due to methanol poisoning (which can occur when people drink home-brewed or illegally manufactured alcohol), the report said. Many of these cases were in Iran where alcoholic beverages are illegal. In India, 12 people, including five children, got sick after drinking liquor made from the toxic seed Datura, believing it to be a cure for COVID-19, according to the new report.
Authors identified 2,311 reports of rumors, stigma, and conspiracy theories in 25 languages from 87 countries. Claims were related to illness, transmission and mortality (24%), control measures (21%), treatment and cure (19%), cause of disease including the origin (15%), violence (1%), and miscellaneous (20%). Of the 2,276 reports for which text ratings were available, 1,856 claims were false (82%).
Some Rumor about treatment, prevention, and control
- Eating garlic can cure coronavirus
- Drinking bleach may kill the virus
- Drinking alcohol may kill the virus
- Gargling vinegar and rose water or vinegar and salt may kill the virus in throat
- Drinking cow urine and cow dung can cure coronavirus
- Spraying chlorine all over your body can prevent coronavirus infection
- Vitamin Cand D intake can prevent coronavirus infection
- Eating Centella asiatica may prevent coronavirus infection
Source: Islam et al. 2020 https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.20-0812. livescience.com