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Health - Misinformation

Conspiracy Theory: “Covid-19 Isn’t a Virus”

  Wednesday 27th May 2020

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  • 05-27

A viral claim has suggested that “Italian doctors” found that coronavirus “isn’t a virus” but “bacteria.” Among other things, the claim says the World Health Organization has become accused of “deception” in terms of the way to tackle the virus, after pathologists had performed autopsies on people with Covid-19.

Described as “shocking” by several media outlets, the claim can be found under titles such as “Swindlers of WHO Are in Trouble” and “Italy: Corona Is Coagulation.”

OTV, a Lebanese TV channel, broadcast a report that claims the alleged doctors said they were subjected to “deception and humiliation” by the WHO.

The false information in the viral claim:

- Covid-19 isn’t a virus, a bacteria causes the blood to clot leading to death.

- Covid-19 can be treated by antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and anticoagulants.

- Ventilators and intensive care units (ICUs) are never needed.

Our search found that the claim has gone viral in many languages and that several fact-checking platforms have debunked it such as Republic World.

A study aiming at determining  the histological patterns in lung tissue of patients with severe COVID-19 was published in April 2020 after performing autopsies on people who had died due to the virus in Italy.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, WHO reported. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, ‘D’ for disease, and 19 for 2019.

In a statement to PolitiFact, one of the pathologists on the study, Aurelio Sonzogni, confirmed that the study does not contradict the fact that COVID-19 is a virus that cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said coronavirus is a respiratory disease. Another effect, according to the study, is lung damage caused by blood clotting.

A Dutch report stated that recent observations suggest that respiratory failure in COVID-19 is not driven by the development of the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) alone, but that (microvascular) thrombotic processes may play a role as well. The report was issued by Radiology and Vascular Medicine experts after a request from The National Institute for Public Health of the Netherlands (RIVM).

The previous facts lead us to the conclusion that ventilators and ICUs may be needed for those with severe Covid-19.

The Italian study examined the lung tissues of 38 COVID-19 patients who died in hospitals in northern Italy.