HYDERABAD: An LED display in an Ireland parking lot flashes incorrect messages about COVID-19.

The messages contain misinformation about the COVID, masks, tests, and vaccines. "Masks spread germs, take off your masks, COVID tests are fraudulent, up to 95% of COVID tests are false positives, untested COVID vaccine has significant side effects," reads the message.

It is unclear if the video of the display was taken in Ireland but it is evident that the messages on the display are false.


Let's look at the claims one by one.

1. Claim: "Masks spread germs", "Take off your masks"

Fact check: False

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets which travel in the air through sneezing, talking, shouting, or coughing. Masks are a barrier to reduce the respiratory droplets from reaching other people. Several studies have found that people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic and those who are pre-symptomatic can still spread the virus to other people. Wearing a mask helps protect those around you.

Masks may be more effective as a "source control" as they can prevent larger expelled droplets from evaporating into smaller droplets that can travel farther. They help to block viral particles that a person wearing a mask exhales, and can also, help to reduce the droplets that a person wearing a mask inhales by filtering droplets and particles.

Various public health organizations advise that cloth masks should be washed frequently with soap or detergent and water. It has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that people should wear cloth face coverings in public settings when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

SOURCE: CDC, WHO, University of California San Francisco.

2. Claim: "COVID tests are fraudulent"; "up to 95% of COVID tests are false positives"

Fact Check: False

While a few tests are used to check if a person is currently affected by the virus, few tests are used to check if a person has been previously infected.

To diagnose COVID-19, RTPCR testing is used. It is described as the "most reliable way of diagnosing COVID-19″. This tests for the presence of the actual virus's genetic material or its fragments as it breaks down. The RTPCR testing works by taking a sample to collect respiratory material and studying it to detect whether the virus is present in the sample.

It is the method recommended by the WHO and CDC and is in use widely around the world.


3. Claim: "Untested COVID vaccine has significant side effects"

Fact Check: Partly true

The COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild side effects and are mild to moderate and short-lasting. It includes fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, diarrhea, and pain at the injection site.

Most reactions to vaccines are mild and go away within a few days on their own. More serious or long-lasting side effects to vaccines are possible but extremely rare. The chances of any of these side effects following vaccination differ according to the specific COVID-19 vaccine.

It is advised to talk to the doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort after getting vaccinated.


Claim Review :   Masks spread germs
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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