Fact Check: Viral UNICEF Advisory On Coronavirus Is Fake

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Unicef deputy executive director for partnerships, said in a statement on March 6 that these posts and online messages misappropriated UNICEF's name.

India   |   15 March 2020 3:23 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-03-15T13:04:38+05:30
Editor : Bharat Nayak | By : Aditi Chattopadhyay
Fact Check: Viral UNICEF Advisory On Coronavirus Is Fake

Image Credit: Pixabay

The Coronavirus Pandemic has resulted in an 'Infodemic' of misinformation and 'Fake News'.

WhatsApp Forwards and Infographics on prevention measures for COVID-19, seemingly released by UNICEF have gone viral on social media.


The text of the WhatsApp forwards looks like an advisory for the prevention and control of COVID-19.

1st Claim:

The advisory has been released by UNICEF, The United Nations Children's Fund, a UN agency that 'works in over 190 countries and territories to save children's lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

Fact Check:

Unicef in the Philippines announced on Twitter that the graphics are not from them.

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Unicef deputy executive director for partnerships, said in a statement on March 6 that these posts and online messages misappropriated UNICEF's name.

"A recent erroneous online message circulating in several languages around the world and purporting to be a Unicef communication appears to indicate, among other things, that avoiding ice cream and other cold foods can help prevent the onset of the disease. This is, of course, wholly untrue," said Petri Gornitzka.

2nd Claim:

"Coronavirus (Covid-19) is large in size where the cell diameter is 400-500 micro and for this reason, any mask prevents its entry."

Fact Check:

According to WHO, masks are only effective when combined with regular hand washing. Viruses like this can enter through the eyes even if you're wearing a mask.

They have further advised that If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with the suspected 2019-nCoV infection.

Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

3rd Claim:

"The virus does not settle in the air but is grounded so it is not transmitted by air."

Fact Check:

The virus that causes Covid-19 certainly can spread through cough and sneeze droplets in the air, which can, in turn, enter someone else's system.

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.

Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.

AltNews reported that in a new-preprint study (Doremalen et al 2020) conducted by American scientists it is suggested that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) can live in the air for several hours and on some surfaces for as long as 2-3 days. It is also mentioned that the virus can spread through the air as well as from touching things that were contaminated by those who are infected as well as through direct human contact.

The researchers tested the virus by spraying into the air by a nebuliser mimicking the coughing action of an infected person. They learnt that could be detected up to 3 hours later in the air, up to 4 hours on copper surfaces, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.

Therefore, while it is true that the virus can survive on surfaces for longer, the claim in the text makes no references to the study and does not correctly mention the duration of its survival on different surfaces.

4th Claim:

"Coronavirus lives on the hands for 10 minutes, so putting an alcohol sterilizer in the pocket meets the purpose of prevention."

Fact Check:

Using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is a good way to prevent the virus from spreading if washing your hands with soap and water isn't possible.

5th Claim:

"Coronavirus when it falls on a metal surface, it will live for 12 hours, so washing hands with soap and water well enough."

Fact Check:

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

6th Claim:

"Gargle with warm and saltwater kills the tonsils germs and prevents them from leaking into the lungs."

Fact Check:

The WHO has said that there's no evidence saline can prevent Covid-19.

Drinking or gargling with hot water or eating ice cream does not make a difference to coronavirus infections. Neither cold nor hot temperatures can kill coronavirus. Trying to kill the virus by drinking or washing with hot water can burn the skin.

7th Claim:

"If the virus is exposed to a temperature of 26-27ΒΊC. It will be killed, as it does not live in hot regions. Also drinking hot water and sun exposure will do the trick and staying away from ice cream and cold food is advised."

Fact Check:

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

8th Claim:

"Coronavirus, when it falls on the fabric, remains 9 hours, so washing clothes or being exposed to the sun for two hours meets the purpose of killing it."

Fact Check:

The CDC advises that soiled clothing from Covid-19 patients should be handled with disposable gloves, but can be washed using normal detergent. There's absolutely no evidence that leaving clothes in the sun can kill the virus.

Ergo, please refer to the WHO and CDC before blindly believing fake news.

If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at factcheck@thelogicalindian.com or WhatsApp at 6364000343

Also Read: Fact Check: No, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Has Not Tested Positive For Coronavirus

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Contributors

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Fact Checker

Aditi, part of the fact checking team of The Logical Indian likes to read, write, cook and laugh, in short live life as it is supposed to be. What makes her fascinated is to discover the truth behind a story and more often than not, it is either fact or myth at the end.

Bharat Nayak

Bharat Nayak

Founding Editor- Special Project

As the founding editor, Bharat had been heading the newsroom during the formation years of the organization and worked towards editorial policies, conceptualizing and designing campaign strategies and collaborations. He believes that through the use of digital media, one could engage the millennial's in rational conversations about pertinent social issues, provoking them to think and bring a behavioral change accordingly.

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Fact Checker

Aditi, part of the fact checking team of The Logical Indian likes to read, write, cook and laugh, in short live life as it is supposed to be. What makes her fascinated is to discover the truth behind a story and more often than not, it is either fact or myth at the end.

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