Hyderabad: A video of persons claiming to be doctors saying that the COVID-19 is a normal flu virus and that there is no pandemic in the world is viral on social media. These doctors claim that the Coronavirus is an Influenza-type virus and that doctors should stop searching for vaccines.

The claims made by the doctors are listed below:

1. There is no pandemic in the world

2. COVID-19 is a normal flu virus

3. Reports of high transference of the virus were caused due to false positives from the Polymerase Chain Reaction tests (PCR).

4. Only 98 people in Ireland have died due to the Coronavirus since April 2020.

Many social media users further claim that these group of doctors are affiliated to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Click here, here and here to view these claims.

Fact Check:

1. Claim by social media users that the persons in the video are doctors affiliated to the WHO.

The first speaker in the video is identified as Elke De Klerk. Upon researching her background, we found that she is a member of the World Doctors Alliance. The other members in the video are also members of this group.

As per their website, World Doctors Alliance is an "independent non-profit alliance of doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and staff around the world who have united in the wake of the COVID-19 response chapter to share experiences with a view to ending all lockdowns and related damaging measures and to re-establish universal health determinants of psychological and physical wellbeing for all humanity".

These group of doctors are not affiliated with the WHO.

2. Claim that there is no pandemic in the world

"I want to state that we do not have a medical pandemic or epidemic," said Klerk in the video.

The alliance website also claimed it is "abundantly clear that the 'pandemic' is basically over and has been since June 2020". "It is clear that at no point was the National Health Service (NHS) was in any danger of being overwhelmed and since May 2020 COVID wards have been largely empty; and crucially the death toll from COVID-19 had been remained extremely low," the website read.

However, according to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is a pandemic. At the time of filing this report, according to the Johns Hopkins University, a Coronavirus Research Center, there are 44 million cases of Coronavirus across the globe which have resulted in 79,00,000 deaths.

The death toll from May 2020 has not been extremely low and the claim that COVID-19 is not a pandemic is false.

3. Claim that COVID-19 is a normal flu virus.

According to the WHO, although the virus that causes Influenza and the Coronavirus have similarities and are transmitted by contact, Influenza has a shorter median incubation period and a shorter serial interval than the COVID-19 virus. The serial interval for COVID-19 virus is estimated to be five to six days, while for Influenza virus the serial interval is three days. The Coronavirus is not a flu.

"Further, transmission in the first three to five days of illness, or potentially pre-symptomatic transmission – transmission of the virus before the appearance of symptoms – is a major driver of transmission for the Influenza virus. In contrast, while we are learning that there are people who can shed COVID-19 virus 24 to 48 hours prior to the symptom onset, at present, this does not appear to be a major driver of transmission", read the WHO website.

4. Claim that the reports of high transference of the virus were caused due to false positives from the Polymerase Chain Reaction tests (PCR).

Dr Elke De Klerk suggested that "89% to 94% of PCR tests are false positive."

According to Harvard Medical School and Health Line, the PCR test is usually the best option as it will have fewer false negatives. "We should be diagnosing people with PCR tests because they are the most accurate," said Dr. Christina Wojewoda, a pathologist at the University of Vermont and vice chair of CAP's microbiology committee.

Although no tests for COVID-19 are completely accurate, global healthcare experts believe that a molecular test is so far the most reliable testing method.

5. Only 98 people in Ireland have died due to the Coronavirus since April 2020.

According to the Johns Hopkins University and World O Meter, more than 1,800 people have died to the Coronavirus in Ireland, thus proving the claim made by the doctors that more deaths are caused due to cardiovascular diseases is false.

Evidently, the doctors in the viral video are neither affiliated to the WHO nor anything they have stated is true. Coronavirus has caused a pandemic in the world and the death toll is only increasing.

Claim Review :   video stating that there is no COVID-19 pandemic
Claimed By :  Social Media Users
Fact Check :  False

Misha Rajani

Misha Rajani is a Fact Checker at NewsMeter. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from St. Francis College for Women. She has written a thesis on “ Role of social media in highlighting injustice”. Apart from pursuing a career in news writing, Misha is also skilled in graphic designing. You can follow Misha on Twitter @misharajani00

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