The new novel coronavirus pandemic has affected at least 6.29 million people worldwide, making it the biggest health crisis in modern times.
As India's numbers steeply continue to rise, its immediate neighbour, Pakistan, is also slowly inching towards the 1-lakh mark (Currently at 80,000-odd cases.)
While we share many things with our neighbour besides the border, turns out, fake news in the time of a pandemic is also pretty common in both the places. To top it all, people with real powers have reinforced these fake beliefs.
A Twitter user listed out, in a thread, all the fake news that have been propagated in Pakistan.
In March, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that coronavirus is much like the flu and that you will get better.
If you catch #coronavirsu, you will recover soon because it is like a flu, said PM of Pakistan Imran Khan.
And world doesn’t have vaccine coz it is just like flu.
So, Imran Khan, return money to @WorldBank & AB; u collected in the name of Coronavirus
— Veengas (@VeengasJ) March 22, 2020
Nope, the coronavirus is definitely not just like the flu. It's much, much worse, and proves to be deadly in about 3.5% of the cases. He also was hopeful that the hot and dry weather would mitigate the virus threat in Pakistan.
2/ Also @ImranKhanPTI :
"Some doctors say that the type of heat Pakistan experiences, that makes the virus lose its effectiveness"
— Fahad Desmukh (@desmukh) June 3, 2020
Does hot and warm weather kill off the virus? No. While some studies show that the transmission rate does slightly slow down due to high temperatures, it does not kill off the virus completely.
Pakistan's Information Minister, Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the coronavirus is dangerous, but not deadly.
Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan says #coronavirus is dangerous but not deadly.
— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) March 23, 2020
The coronavirus has killed over 3,80,000 worldwide. The governor of Punjab also suggested drinking hot water will move the virus from your lungs to your stomach, where it would die.
Governor punjab ch sarwar the corona killer pic.twitter.com/Pwok2gRdK5
— Barfi (@sourvelvett) March 20, 2020
True? Of course not. Guzzling down hot water is unlikely to raise the temperature enough in your respiratory tract to kill any of the viruses inside the cells there. The temperature required to kill the coronavirus would result in scalding and you may seriously injure yourself.
Pakistan's Sindh governor, Imran Ismail also called the coronavirus lockdown 'a fashion symbol.'
— صحرانورد (@Aadiiroy) June 1, 2020
Fashion symbol or not, lockdowns enforce social-distance, which limits the transmission rate of the virus and hence slows the spread of the pandemic.
While Pakistan's fake news is pretty bad, India isn't much better off either. In fact, India's problem is so bad that scientists have had to form a team to dismiss the claims.