Unproven COVID-19 treatment list circulates on Whatsapp

Unproven COVID-19 treatment list circulates on Whatsapp

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A photo of a list of treatments claiming to have been recommended to “patients recovering from the hospital” along with a listing of symptoms is circulating on WhatsApp in India. The claims are false with unsubstantiated remedies.

By Nabeela Khan

A photo of a print out in Hindi of alleged symptoms and treatments for the novel coronavirus is being shared on Whatsapp in India. This Whatsapp message claims that this is the information from patients who have recovered and been discharged from the hospital. The alleged remedies include exposure to sunlight, 7-8 hours of sleep, lukewarm water, and a daily dose of Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

The text in the photo says COVID-19 treatments recommended on “patients recovering from the hospital”. We scrutinised the image and zoomed on the stamp to find out the name of the hospital or issuing authority to know more. We found that the piece of paper which claimed to be a list of remedies was a printout of a Whatsapp message printed on a dot matrix printer sheet and stamped by Indian railways stamp.

It is clearly visible in the images below:

The list recommends an intake of Vitamin C, E, recommends sleeping for 7-8 hours, consuming egg, sitting in sunlight, and increasing intake of foods that have high PH levels including pineapple, mango, and garlic. Our previous story has debunked this claim that foods rich in PH levels or are considered to be rich in PH levels do not protect one from Covid-19. The message finally lists out the symptoms of Covid-19.

We will fact check each part separately. Moving to the first part of the message which claims, “information from patients recovering from the hospital”

“1. Take Vit c-1000

2. Vitamin e

3. Sit at 10:00 am in sunlight for 15-20 minutes

4. One item with egg

5. Take a rest, get 7-8 hour min

6. Drink 1.5 l of lukewarm water daily and every meal should be warm

7. Inhale steam”

We asked our team of fact-check members about how authentic the treatment line-up is.

“Sleep, high protein diet, and Vitamins, in general, are good for immunity but have no scientific evidence against Covid-19,” said Dr. Debanjan Banerjee, a Psychiatrist at NIMHANS, Bengaluru who is also our fact-check member.

Public health advocate, epidemiologist and our fact-check member Safieh Shah based in Canada said, “all very good advice, in general, to take care of ourselves like drinking water but has no association with viral disease or Covid-19”.

Moving further, the message claims, “the ph for the coronary virus varies from 5.5 to 8.5. What we need to do, to defeat the coronary virus, is to consume more alkaline foods above the virus’s ph level.” The claim is false and we debunked it earlier in our story here.

Dr. Banerjee said, “This PH 5.5-8.5 story has been circulated widely, fact-checked and again finds a way in various forms, modes, and descriptions”.

The last part of the alleged list states: “how to know you had coronavirus?”

1. Itching in the throat

2. Dry throat

3. Dry cough

4. High temperature

5. Shortness of breath

6. Loss of smell and taste”.

These are some of the symptoms listed by the World Health Organisation but COVID-19 symptoms may vary. Also, some patients never develop symptoms or some may develop one or two symptoms.

A study from China published in Nature Medicine on April 15 estimated that 44% of people had caught the disease from a person who was not showing symptoms. The study looked at 94 Covid-19 patients admitted to Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital.