The eruption of Coronavirus epidemics has turned a lot of people into scientists, researchers, broadcasters and medical practitioners. Within the past three months, the world has received more than its share of speculative information on prevention, cure and causes of the novel Coronavirus disease. The way verifiable and unverifiable information on this disease fly about these days reminds me of stories I have read and heard about how false news and information led to the demise of many during the Nigerian Civil War.
Just as it happens in periods of war, information and news on COVID-19 come from only God-knows-where and spread as fast as wildfire. People stay behind their computers and phones to draft up messages and throw into the air. These messages develop wings and fly all over the earth and by the time they come back to their senders they have grown more feathers – no thanks to the internet.
The problem with these unverified news and information is that they cause a lot of havoc wherever they go. For instance, four out of the six COVID-19 related deaths in Nigeria, as at the time of writing this article, happened because the deceased and their families failed to notify NCDC of their travel history (or contacts) and their symptoms up to the point of death. Of course, I am not in a position to say that they failed to contact NCDC because they believed in all the funny and fake information flying all over the earth about COVID-19. But for the fact that they knew they were exposed to the disease and that they developed its symptoms later, indicates that their decision to either ignore it or to manage it from home is a sign that they were not only victims of COVID-19 but also that of speculations.
It will be good to note here that these false information were not only circulated by illiterates, but also by the educated. Even some health workers believed they have the right authority to spread them because their profession gives them credence. This is to say that these lies, fallacies and conspiracy theories have eaten deep into people’s mind so that many are now unsure of what is true and what is not.
Below are some of the speculative information circulating around the world on COVID-19:
Effects of COVID-19
- Permanent Damage to the Lungs: This speculation stated that anyone that suffers from COVID-19 will forever have damaged lungs. It went as far as saying that most of them will be permanently dependent on machines to breathe.
- Constant Relapse: This speculation said that the sickness will constantly revisit its victims. It was made to look as if once someone is hit by COVID-19 the person is doomed for life.
- Non-Fatal Features: This theory stated that COVID-19 is not fatal. It holds that fear of the disease and other underlying illnesses are the causes of death of those that died from this disease.
Preventive and Curative Measures for COVID-19
- Gargling with Hot Salty Water: The reason behind this is that hot salty water will disinfect the throat cavity (the pharynx) and kill the virus if it lodges there.
- Drinking Hot Garlic and Ginger Solution: The person that sent this to me claimed a Biochemist confirmed that its detoxifying property can remove the virus from the human body.
- Drinking Hot Lemon Water: This is also expected to prevent COVID-19 and help in managing it if contracted. This can help considering that lemon is high in Vitamin C; but dosage and administration to help in combating the ailment is not certain. Besides, ulcer patients may not enjoy lemon juice in their system.
- Lemon Juice and Baking Soda Solution: This is supposed to be prepared as a hot tea. The information on this one claimed it was used by the Israelis to combat the illness. The false news claimed that Israel did not record any COVID-19 case or death. But we can see how false that news is today.
- Others: Other speculated preventive measures and cures for COVID-19 include eating lots of garlic and onions, face steaming, drinking hot water, avoiding cold food and water, and so on.
Those Unaffected by COVID-19
- The Blacks: It was initially speculated that black people are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 no matter where they are in the world. Maybe this was the reason many Africans travelled to high-risk countries despite knowing about the presence of the virus.
- Countries in the Tropics: Until the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, it was believed that the virus couldn’t withstand the heat of the tropics. The reported deaths related to the virus have shown that the virus knows no season, climate, weather or race.
Conspiracy Theories Trailing COVID-19
This is where there are many controversial reports that may cause lots of harm to the entire universe. Despite scientists’ reports showing that the virus originated from animals, a lot of people have come up with accusations and counter-accusations concerning the origin of COVID-19.
Below are some of the conspiracy theories existing as at the time of writing this article:
- Coronavirus is created and spread by China so that they can dominate the world by destroying the economy of other nations.
- Coronavirus is a biological weapon created by China or the USA, or the two of them together.
- COVID-19 was created by the New World Order, Illuminati or G.7 (all accused differently) so as to fulfil a prophecy in the Bible.
- Virus is not a living thing; it is an inorganic substance that is made organic in a lab.
- The 5G network causes COVID-19.
- COVID-19 is not the killer; radiation from 5G masts is the killer.
- COVID-19 is a phantom created as an excuse for lockdown so that 5G masts could be installed.
- 8. 5G caused the sickness with COVID-19 symptoms so that scientists will develop a vaccine in the name of COVID-19 and then forcefully vaccinate everyone on earth.
- The COVID-19 vaccine will install microchips that will be used to monitor everybody on earth.
- The microchip in COVID-19/5G vaccine is the Mark of the Beast, which will introduce the reign of the devil.
- COVID-19 is the prophesied end of the world, so Rapture will happen soon.
There are so many other embarrassing and slanderous conspiracy theories that will be too scandalous and sensitive to include here. But what everyone should know is that the world is at war with an invisible enemy and the false news, information and accusations flying about are examples of what happened during the war.
For this, it is necessary that concerned authorities should continue to address their citizens especially concerning any speculation that rears its head up. They should sensitize religious leaders, who are closer to the masses, so as to restore tranquillity through them. They should also call out any public figure that spreads any of these falsehoods to prove his/her assertions or face jail terms. People that are quick to share these information in social media without first verifying them from appropriate quarters should also be discouraged.
If nothing is done, and done fast at that, I fear that COVID-19 may find matching competitors in fear, public unrest, riots and suicides.