Paynesville — Liberian social media groups have been abuzz with a viral message attributed to the administration of the John F. Kennedy Hospital about the spread of COVID-19. The message claims that the government wants to spread COVID-19 within communities. Local Voices Liberia has checked and found that the message is misleading and did not originate from the management of JFK.
Report By: Edward Blamo | Local Voices Liberia Fact Checker
James Cryton, Public Relations Manager of the hospital, told LocalVoicesLiberia that the claim is “maliciously erroneous”. He clarified that the hospital is busy working to break the chain of transmission of the virus and not to spread it. The claim, he said, has the proclivity to undermine the fight against the pandemic, warning those spreading the misinformation to desist.
Flaws in the WhatsApp Message
When we review the wordings in the message, we observed that it failed to state the means through which the government is supposed to infect citizens with the virus as being alleged. Information gathered from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the transmissibility of COVID-19 makes it highly impossible for the government of Liberia to spread the virus amongst its citizens.
How is the Virus spread?
According to World Health Organization, the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads between people when small liquid particles from an infected person’s mouth or nose come in contact with another person. The infected person will have to cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. These particles range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols.
Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre (short-range). A person can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.
The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel farther than 1 metre (long-range).
People may also become infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus when touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands. Further research is ongoing to better understand the spread of the virus and which settings are most risky and why.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory fluids carrying infectious virus.
Exposure occurs in three principal ways:
⇔ Inhalation of very fine respiratory droplets and aerosol particles
⇔ Deposition of respiratory droplets and particles on exposed mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, or eye by direct splashes and sprays
⇔ Touching mucous membranes with hands that have been soiled either directly by virus-containing respiratory fluids or indirectly by touching surfaces with virus on them.
Based on the research and findings from the Word Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the means by which the COVID-19 virus is transmitted, we have concluded that the WhatsApp message that claims that the government has decided to spread COVID-19 virus is highly misleading.
|“…Everyone should stay indoor tomorrow up to 11:00 pm till the sun rises up, because the Liberian government has decided to spread the coronavirus early tomorrow morning by 5:00am…”
|“Message is misleading. Coronavirus is not transmitted by spraying the air with the virus.”|
Important: If you are experiencing these signs and symptoms go for testing. Wearing mask and vaccines offer good protection against the Delta variant and it is a good way to stay safe and protected.
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LVL Fact Checking Desk is part of the Liberia Media Initiative co-financed by the European Union. The funder had no say in the production of this report.