Corona virus: dissemination of false information via WhatsApp

In a voice message in circulation, "Elisabeth, the mother of Poldi" uses WhatsApp to spread the claim that ibuprofen significantly worsens the course of the disease in those infected with the coronavirus. She warns against taking the pain reliever and refers to an alleged study by the Medical University in Vienna, which has meanwhile commented on the Internet and clearly distances itself from the statement.

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At the end of 2019, a new disease began to develop in China, the lung disease COVID-19 triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Quarantine measures to contain the virus lead to production downtimes and increasingly serious consequences for the economy and everyday life.

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In the voice message, "the mother of Poldi" claims that a friend of her is working at the University Hospital in Vienna and that "a little" research has been done there, according to which the severe corona cases in Italy are due to the intake of ibuprofen and asks for it further parts of the WhatsApp message. The Medical University in Vienna yesterday reported on Twitter and explained that the now widely used WhatsApp messages were "fake news", "which have no connection whatsoever with the Medical University of Vienna".

WhatsApp message about Corona and Ibuprofen

The voice message from "Elisabeth, Mama vom Poldi", which is distributed on WhatsApp.

(Source: WhatsApp voice message)

Employees of the Vienna University of Applied Sciences are clearing up against the Austrian news agency APA with further questionable information about a connection with the use of ACE inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and also blood pressure medicines that circulate on the internet, which according to different opinions could both protect and do the opposite. There is no scientifically proven information in connection with the various statements.

French health minister Olivier VĂ©ran also warned against taking ibuprofen and cortisone in a tweet, as they could worsen the course of the disease. If you have a fever, you should take acetaminophen. At the end of the tweet, he explains to ask his doctor for advice. In a report by the scientific medical journal Lancet there is also talk of connections between diabetes and high blood pressure and the course of the disease. However, there is no scientific evidence for this at all, explains Michael Freissmuth, head of the Center for Physiology and Pharmacology at the Medical University of Vienna, towards the APA.

Further false information is circulating on the Internet, according to which you can find out yourself by holding your breath – a supposed method of Japanese doctors – whether you are infected or not. Other inaccurate claims state that you should drink water every 15 minutes, because even if the virus was in your mouth, the water would wash the virus into your stomach, where the stomach acid would kill it. There is similar misleading information in abundance as digital chain letters, social media posts, and websites. It was also spread via Whatsapp that allegedly all Aldi supermarkets would close on Monday, which the company immediately denied as fake news.

Apple yesterday announced to developers that submitted apps related to the corona virus will be closely checked for the Credibility of health and safety information to be able to guarantee. Using a quick request form, government organizations, health-oriented NGOs and companies with a deeper understanding of health issues can select the "time-critical event" option to request a priority review. This procedure is intended to get the apps into the app store as quickly as possible and make them available to customers. Games with the theme COVID-19 are according to the Apple statement not permitted.


. (tagsToTranslate) Coronavirus (t) Fake News (t) Social Media (t) WhatsApp