Healthcare/Biosafety

Three Lies and Two Manipulations about COVID-19 Spread in Facebook Group “Let’s Stop 5G in Georgia”

9 October, 2020

On October 5, 2020, Facebook user Tea Alvarez published a post related to COVID-19 in Facebook group ““შევაჩეროთ 5G საქართველოში (Let’s Stop 5G in Georgia).” According to the author of the post, a group of German and Spanish scientists calling itself “Doctors for the truth” claims that the coronavirus does not exist. Further, the post spread that in 2015, Richard Rothschild patented a method to test COVID-19 and Millions of test kits for COVID-19 were sold on World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) in 2017-2018. Tea Alvarez also notes in the post that Bill Gates wrote about the coronavirus vaccine on Twitter back in December 2019. The Facebook user also claims that prior to the virus outbreak, COVID-19 pandemic had been mentioned in various reports, including during the 2012 Summer Olympics that confirms that the coronavirus has been created artificially.

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The reports provided in the post are manipulative and contain disinformation. 1. The group “Doctors for the truth” is a conspiratorial group that spreads fake news regarding various issues related to the coronavirus. 2. There is no patent for COVID-19. 3. The website of World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) shared by the authors of conspiratorial opinions was created in April 2020 and it could not have sold test kits for COVID-19 in 2017-2018. 4. Bill Gates’ Twitter post from 2019 does not mention the coronavirus at all. 5. The video aimed to link the 2012 Summer Olympics to COVID-19 is a fabrication.

Lie N1
In 2015, Richard Rothschild patented a method to test COVID-19.

Fact N1
There is no patent for COVID-19. A patent application does exist for a different type of coronavirus and it has nothing to do with Richard Rothschild.

Various types of fake news were spread in connection with the COVID-19 patent and they were mainly linked to the Rothschild family, namely Richard or Michael Rothschild. fullfact.org also reported about it. 

Noteworthy that coronavirus is not a single virus but a family of viruses which includes MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012), SARS (the severe acute respiratory syndrome, of which there were outbreaks in 2002 and 2004), COVID-19, the novel coronavirus identified in people in Wuhan, and other types of coronaviruses. 

The patent application from 2015 does exist for a different type of coronavirus. It refers to a “live attenuated” version of the avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). This is essentially a weakened version of the virus, patented with the aim of eventually developing it into a vaccine against the disease for birds and other animals. This patent is held by the UK-based Pirbright Institute, researchers of viral diseases in livestock. No link between the Pirbright Institute and the Rothschild family has been confirmed.

Lie N2
Millions of test kits for COVID-19 were sold on World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) in 2017-2018.

Fact N2
The website of World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) was created in April 2020. 

The claims that millions of test kits for COVID-19 were sold on World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) in 2017-2018 are not true. According to BBC and the World Bank, the website with its screenshot being shared by the authors of conspiratorial opinions, was created in April 2020 to make it easier to find all of the previously existing products that are now being used for COVID-19 testing. 

All the chemical products listed on the site have had other uses for many years, but the World Bank says they were re-categorized to ease the tracking of items that are particularly important to tackle the coronavirus.

From 7 September the title of the database was changed to "medical test kits", and to avoid further misunderstanding includes a disclaimer that says "the data here track previously existing medical devices that are now classified by the World Customs Organization as critical to tackling COVID-19."

Lie N3
Various reports about the coronavirus had been spread before 2019 as well, with some of them claiming that the pandemic was featured during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

Fact N3 
Various reports about the spread of coronavirus before 2019 are manipulative, whereas the footage from the London Olympics is a video fabrication.

Reports on the existence of coronavirus before 2020 were widely circulating on social media in the past with one of them claiming that American writer Dean Koontz predicted coronavirus (COVID-19) in his novel released in 1981. Myth Detector has written about it in its earlier article. Although a biological weapon mentioned in the thriller novel by Koontz is named “Wuhan-400”, it is a human-made weapon, has a 100% fatality rate and has an extremely quick incubation period of about four hours. Moreover, in a 1981 edition of the book, this biological weapon is called “Gorki-400” after the Russian city where it was created.  

As for the 2012 Olympics, a video was spread showing some fragments from the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics with Russian/English subtitles and illustrations indicating that the novel coronavirus was allegedly spread intentionally and it proceeded under the preplanned project. 

In fact, the video repeats conspiracy theories about intentional spread of the coronavirus and the links between 5G wireless technology and the pandemic. A part of the video has been doctored, while some fragments have misleading captions.

Below are the footages from a fabricated video and an authentic video.

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Footage from the fabricated video Footage from the authentic video

Manipulation N1
A group of German and Spanish scientists calling itself “Doctors for the truth” claims that COVID-19 does not exist.

Fact N1
The group “Doctors for the truth” is a conspiratorial group that spreads fake news regarding various issues related to the coronavirus.

The organization named “Doctors for the truth” was created on May 31, 2020. The group members deny the existence of the coronavirus to varying degrees. For some it does not exist at all and for others it may exist, but not with the seriousness that the health authorities confer on it. The group members oppose the use of masks and lockdown/ isolation/social distancing measures. They also deny the validity of PCR tests and reject the development of vaccines.

Manipulation N2
Bill Gates tweeted about the coronavirus and vaccines in 2019.

Fact N2
Bill Gates’ Twitter post from 2019 does not mention the coronavirus at all.

Bill Gates really tweeted about vaccines on September 19, 2019 in the context of global health challenges. But he did not even mention the coronavirus. 

“What’s next for our foundation? I’m particularly excited about what the next year could mean for one of the best buys in global health: vaccines.” 

The tweet is accompanied by the link to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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The tweet does not mention the coronavirus. Noteworthy that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invests in the development of vaccines for various diseases, including malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. 

Conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and the coronavirus vaccine had been spread earlier too. It is worth noting that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allocates its own funds for the development of the coronavirus vaccine. The Foundation has allocated USD 350 million to fight the coronavirus, with USD 150 million from this amount transferred to a company called Gavi. Gavi provides support for manufacturing potential vaccines and later delivering them to low- and middle-income countries


Prepared by Mariam Topchishvili
Regional Network of Myth Detector Lab