Healthcare/Biosafety

Disinformation on COVID-19 Spreads in Facebook Groups in a Coordinated Manner

20 October, 2020

On October 17, Facebook user Nina Marji spread a video post, claiming that doctors from seven countries are going to file a lawsuit against “corona hoax.” The same post notes that the doctors have a lot of evidence to prove that COVID-19 does not exist, adding that the statistical data are being inflated, whereas PCR tests are false positive. 

Later the same day, Nina Marji shared the post to the following groups: კორონა აფიორა (Corona Hoax), ანტი-მასონობა,“ანტიქრისტესახალი მსოფლიო წესრიგი (NWO); ანტიეკუნიზმი (Anti-Masonry, New World Order of the Antichrist; Anti-Ecumenism), ქართული ლოგოსი (Georgian Logos) and “მოქალაქე” არასამთვრობო ორგანიზაცია (NGO Citizen). On October 19, Facebook user Max Bill shared the post to several public groups, including “საერთო სახალხო მოძრაობა ქართველი ერის გადარჩენისთვის,” (Universal Public Movement for Saving Georgian Nation), “კორონა მაფია” (Corona Mafia), “ოზურგეთი” (Ozurgeti) and კორონამაფია და საქართველო, როგორც საექსპორტო ქვეყანა” (Corona Mafia and Georgia as an Export Country).

Other Facebook users also shared the post to the following groups: ქართველები ისრაელში, ქართველ ემიგრანტ ქალთა გაერთიანება (Georgians in Israel, Union of Georgian Immigrant Women) and Украина без коронаистерии (Ukraine without Corona History).

As of October 20, Nina Marji’s post has over 1,000 shares. 

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The doctors featuring in the video posted by Nina Marji are members of the group World Doctors Alliance and their coronavirus-related opinions are not based on any evidence or statistical data. Moreover, their statements are not scientifically substantiated. In fact, COVID-19 significantly differs from influenza virus with the speed of transmission, severity and high mortality rates, whereas PCR tests are typically highly accurate. 

  • Origin and authors of the video 

The authors of the video spread by Nina Marji are members of the World Doctors Alliance, uniting doctors from various European countries. The first World Doctors Alliance hearing was held in Berlin on October 10. Full version of the video was uploaded on YouTube channel JSUK on October 14. The organization was founded by one of the speakers featuring in the video, Mohammad Adil. Its purpose is to end all lockdowns related to “unnecessary” pandemic and reestablish universal health standards. The organization has outlined its demands in an open letter to the governments of the world that was posted on its website. As of October 19, 13,500 persons have signed the open letter.

Dolores Cahill, one of the doctors featuring in the video, served as vice chair of the Scientific Committee of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), funded jointly by the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry. During one of her interviews in May, she said that lockdown and social distancing was not needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, claiming that deaths and illnesses could have been prevented by extra vitamins. Opposing vaccinations, Cahill said “politicians and the media” were using COVID-19 “as a fear-mongering propaganda tool to try and take away rights from people and to make them more sick and to force vaccinations on us.” Following this, she was asked to resign as vice chair of the Scientific Committee.

One more member of the same group, Mikael Nordfors also has a doubtful reputation. He lost his medical license in Denmark in 2015 after patients complained about his treatment. It happened after Nordfors exposed a patient to a life-threatening injury at a private clinic outside Copenhagen. The first report about Mikael Nordfors comes in 1995, shortly after he started working as a doctor.

Nordfors also claimed that hydroxychloroquine and zinc cure COVID-19. But the claim was not supported and clinical trials have found no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine and zinc in terms of mortality rate or clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

The World Doctors Alliance website also posts videos featuring Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, German lawyer, whose law firm actively advises and supports the activities related to the coronavirus damage claims. Fuellmich questions the existence of COVID-19 pandemic and plans to file a lawsuit in court. Myth Detector has verified one of his video addresses spread on social media without evidence. 

  • How are COVID-19 and influenza viruses different?

The doctors featuring in the video claim that seasonal influenza death rates are higher compared to COVID-19 fatalities but nobody declares it a pandemic. In fact, the key difference between COVID19 and seasonal influenza is their incubation period and spread. In case of seasonal influenza, a person develops symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection. And in case of COVID-19, a person develops symptoms 5 days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection.

Periods of time, when people may be contagious, are also different. People with flu appear to be most contagious during the initial 3-4 days of their illness but many remain contagious for about 7 days. In case of COVID-19, people may remain contagious for at least 10 days after signs or symptoms first appeared.

As for the assessment of COVID-19 and influenza death rates, for example, during the peak week in the United States, the reported number of counted deaths on April 7-14 was 14,478. By contrast, according to the CDC, counted deaths during the peak week of the influenza seasons from 2018 (January 14-21) totaled 1,626. It is impossible to estimate COVID-19 fatality ratios, because, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), they vary from less than 0.1% to over 25% by countries. Based on the data of infections and deaths, COVID-19 mortality is 2.8%. For seasonal influenza, mortality is usually well below 0.1%

  • PCR tests and their benefits 

One of the allegations of the World Doctors Alliance involved incorrect statistics about PCR tests. In fact, RT-PCR molecular tests are used to detect the coronavirus in human body. It is even dubbed as the gold standard. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the test can show if a person has an active coronavirus infection and it is typically highly accurate.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an approved method in many fields of biology and medicine. In recognition of his invention of the polymerase chain reaction technique, Kary Mullis was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993. PCR is a popular method used widely to amplify a single or a few copies of specific DNA sequences to millions of copies with great accuracy in a short time, making possible to detect even minute concentrations of DNA in clinical samples. PCR method is used to detect a lot of infectious diseases, including hepatitis, papilloma virus, malaria, anthrax, etc. 

About the author of the post

Nina Marji is an anti-corona activist. She frequently spreads disinformation related to the coronavirus. Earlier, the same Facebook user shared fake and manipulative news about the lawsuit related to COVID-19, a rally of thousands of people in Vienna in solidarity with the doctors, negative effects of face masks and the UN secret document.

Below are Myth Detector’s earlier publications on the same topic: 


Mariam Dangadze