On November 27, Facebook user Kalifornia Farte shared the September 9 post of Facebook page ,,ადამიანი და მისი ძალა” (Human and Its Force) to public group ,,ხალხური მედიცინა” (People’s Medicine). The post discusses the nature of the coronavirus penetration into the human body and the preventive measures. It notes that before reaching the lungs, the coronavirus remains in a throat for three or four days and gargling with a warm vinegar solution kills the virus before it reaches the lungs.
GIFSAT.COM and fbmediatv.com also write about another method to prevent the entry of the coronavirus into human cells. Both websites claim that rinsing nasal cavities with lemon juice using a cotton swab is a simple procedure to fight the novel coronavirus. To back up their words, they quote Dr. Yosef Wosk as saying:
Dr. Yosef Wosk: “Coronavirus is very weak and it can be easily destroyed with lemon juice. There is no coronavirus in the blood. It remains in our nose and throat for several days before moving to the lungs… Its incubation period lasts for 4-5 days… just take a lemon, squeeze it, wet a cotton swab in its juice and clean the nasal cavities once in 2-3 days… Rinse your throat using a portion of lemon juice and then drink it.”
claim as if after entering the human body, the coronavirus remains in a throat for 4-5 days before moving to the lungs, is not scientifically proven. The information as if rinsing with lemon juice and warm vinegar solution kills and prevents the virus is also false.
In March, a group of Taiwanese fact-checkers verified the information about COVID-19 treatment with salt water or vinegar. It also appeared in the Poynter Institute database. According to the material, the claim that after entering the human body the virus remains in a throat for four days and then moves to the lungs has no scientific evidence. The fact-checkers also spread the photo accompanying the claim voiced on social media.
A physician from the Department of Infectious Diseases at National Taiwan University Hospital pointed out that patients infected with the novel coronavirus will first have upper respiratory symptoms, but this does not mean that the virus will stay in the throat first. He also noted that the virus enters the human body through the mucous membranes of the eyes, ears, nose and mouth, and damages respiratory cells.
Rumors were circulating in Taiwan about the effectiveness of rinsing a throat with salt water. However, local physicians explained that this procedure can be useful for disinfection of contaminated surfaces rather than killing the virus that has already penetrated into the human body.
The same information was spread in other countries, including India. According to local fact-checkers, information about this method of prevention was spread through WhatsApp with an identical image enclosed.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this “cure” was popular during the spread of SARS, MERS, and Zika as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not given any such recommendation so far.
Besides vinegar and salt water, rinsing a nose with lemon juice is another method of fake treatment promoted by GIFSAT.COM and fbmediatv.com based on Dr. Yosef Wosk. Myth Detector has already written about Wosk’s opinions regarding lemon juice as a preventive measure against COVID-19. The article published by Tvalsazrisi.ge on November 17, 2020 is just based on Wosk’s interview with Russian Telecola TV.
In fact, Wosk and other followers of these preventive methods promote the theory that alkalinizing your body (i.e. making it less acidic or raising the pH) creates a less appealing environment for the virus and specifically, the novel coronavirus. However, it is actually impossible in respect of the novel coronavirus and has no scientific evidence either.
Spread of information on social media
As of November 30, the post spread by Facebook user Kalifornia Farte to public group ,,ხალხური მედიცინა” (People’s Medicine) on November 27 has 60 shares. The original post that was spread on Facebook page “ადამიანი და მისი ძალა” (Human and Its Force) on September 9 has about 80 shares. The page mainly shares entertaining and religious content.
The information spread by GIFSAT.COM and fbmediatv.com about the effectiveness of lemon juice is mainly shared to various Facebook groups. None of the websites indicate the original source of information. However, both use the same photo collage. The information spread by the pages were shared to the following Facebook groups: ექსკლუზივი (Exclusive, 878 shares), uMedia (570 shares), პოზიტივი (Positive, 150 shares), ჩვენი სამყარო (Our World, 287 shares), ყველაფერი კარგად იქნება (Everything will be Okay, 157 shares), ანეგდოტი (Anecdote, 73 shares), საინტერესო ამბები (Interesting Stories, 79 shares).
Troll spreads fake treatment methods in various groups
Solo Squad, a fake Facebook profile, shares Gifsat.com’s article about lemon juice as a COVID-19 cure to three groups. The profile steals the identity of Karina Johnson, Puerto Rican Instagram influencer.
addition, “ვინ ვინ არის” (Who is Who) platform marks the profile as a fake account.
Solo Squad profile URL involves a different name – rezi.rezi, meaning that it is a fake account, because trolls usually change their identities, though URL remains unchanged.
Post from the group “People’s Medicine” https://archive.ph/rWSOM
Post from the page “Human and Its Force” https://archive.ph/2KLhp
The article includes data from CrowdTangle – a searching tool of Facebook
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