Fact Check: Video claiming Italy discovered COVID-19 is bacteria not virus is misleading

By Aiswarya Sriram  Published on  15 July 2020 4:33 AM GMT
Fact Check: Video claiming Italy discovered COVID-19 is bacteria not virus is misleading

Hyderabad: A video that is doing the rounds of WhatsApp claims that Italy defied WHO guidelines and conducted an autopsy of a COVID-19 patient. It has reportedly found that COVID-19 is not a virus but a bacteria. The video also claims that the novel corona virus causes blood clotting. Ventilators are not needed to treat the COVID-19 "bacteria", it further says.

Similar messages are also being shared on Facebook.

NewsMeter received a request to fact-check the claims made in the video.

Fact Check:

The first claim, that Italy violated WHO rule and conducted an autopsy on a COVID-19 dead, is false. The WHO has not said that countries cannot do an autopsy on the bodies of COVID-19 victims. In fact, on 20 March 2020, it had issued guidelines on precautions to be taken while conducting autopsies, burial and mortuary handling of COVID-19 victims. The guideline did not prohibit autopsies.

The second claim: COVID-19 is a bacteria. According to the WHO, COVID-19 belongs to a large family of viruses called coronavirus which affects both humans and animals. But COVID-19 could cause a bacterial infection for which antibiotics are suggested. Viruses, on the other hand, cannot be killed by an antibiotic, the WHO said.

The third claim is that COVID-19 causes a condition called thrombosis (blood clot) which leads to death. Research has shown that COVID-19 causes acute blood clots which combined with severe pneumonia can cause death.

Moreover, the WHO has suggested using low molecular-weight Heparin to reduce incidences of venous thromboembolism in COVID-19 patients. It is a condition in which blood clots form more frequently in veins on the legs and also in the lungs leading to pulmonary thrombosis.

The next claim is that ventilators are not needed to treat corona virus patients. While it is known that all COVID-19 patients don't need ventilators, some with severe pulmonary disease do require them. According to a Lancet study, critically-ill patients need ventilators and lack of ventilators could lead to increased deaths.

Hence, the claims made in the video and the messages circulating in social media are mostly false and misleading.

Claim Review:Video claiming Italy discovered COVID-19 is bacteria not virus
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:Misleading
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