Disinfo: There is no COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus is just like the flu

Summary

We don’t know how many fake messages there are these days. There are Italian doctors who have spread information about the coronavirus on the internet, and there is a strong suspicion that what they say is not true. If they took the test away, life would be the same. There would be nothing here at all. There would be no evidence of increased mortality or morbidity or sickness. There is nothing going on at all at the moment.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation attempt to downplay the severity and urgency of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Pro-Kremlin media have spread a variety of false claims to push this message, for example that coronavirus mortality figures are insignificant, that COVID-19 is fake and a political move to install hegemony, and that the virus is safe.

The novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, belongs to a family of viruses originating in animals that include others such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the city of Wuhan in central China in late 2019 and has been rapidly spreading across the world, with cases being reported in 200 countries, territories and areas. The number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed four million globally with over 280,000 deaths as of 11 May 2020.

For a number of reasons, the coronavirus is not just like the flu (for more information, see here). According to new research, each person with the coronavirus appears to infect 2.2 other people, on average. By comparison, the figure for the seasonal flu is roughly 1.3. There are major challenges associated with accurately calculating the COVID-19 death rate, including insufficient data about the denominator (i.e., the number of people who are infected with the virus). Currently, the research consensus indicates that COVID-19 is less deadly than SARS (9.5% mortality) but notably more deadly than the flu (0.1% mortality).

However, the death rate aside, the major concern with the COVID-19 pandemic is its potential to overwhelm national healthcare systems, resulting in even more deaths because patients cannot receive treatment as hospitals exceed capacity. Thus, flattening the curve and limiting the spread of the virus - which is highly transmittable - is recommended as an essential precautionary measure by international health authorities, including the WHO.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: EU, Italy, Germany
  • Keywords: coronavirus
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Russia invented a cure for coronavirus

Russia introduced a drug for the treatment of a new type of coronavirus. The drug is based on the antimalarial drug mefloquine and is also developing an effective and safe system of prevention against coronavirus.

Disproof

This is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus. According to WHO, to date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The anti-malarial drug mefloquine has been considered as a drug against a new type of coronavirus in several countries. The tests were carried out, for example, by China or France. However, its efficacy has not been verified and extensive clinical trials would have to be carried out for general use. A French medicine watchdog ANSM even has warned of the dangerous side effects of malaria drugs being used against the novel coronavirus due to some crucial side effects that appeared at several patients who used them for self-medication.

The European project is dead, EU is incapable of handling the coronavirus crisis

Europe does nothing. A task force was created, composed of five EU commissioners. A programme to buy up assets in the market was increased by 120 billion euros. How can this help people who are sick? We see that the EU project has failed completely. The European Union is not capable of fighting anything. We have already forgotten about it. We do not say “news from Europe”, we say “news from Italy”, “news from Spain”, “news from Germany”. Europe was totally unprepared. The population of Europe does not need the EU.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse.

One of the main pro-Kremlin narratives relating to the pandemic is that the EU is failing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and, as a result, is disintegrating, together with the border-free Schengen area. In particular, this narrative of failure and lack of EU solidarity is trending after the delivery of Russian aid to Italy.

The coronavirus pandemic may be used to introduce absolute social control

It gets even sexier when absolute social control is promoted as an innocent vaccine.

ID2020 is self-described as a benign alliance of “public-private partners”. Essentially, it is an electronic ID platform based on generalized vaccination. And its starts at birth; newborns will be provided with a “portable and persistent biometrically-linked digital identity.”

GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, pledges to “protect people’s health “ and provide “immunization for all”. Top partners and sponsors, apart from the WHO, include, predictably, Big Pharma.

At the ID2020 Alliance summit last September in New York, it was decided that the “Rising to the Good ID Challenge” program would be launched in 2020. That was confirmed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) this past January in Davos. The digital identity will be tested with the government of Bangladesh.

That poses a serious question: was ID2020 timed to coincide with what a crucial sponsor, the WHO, qualified as a pandemic? Or was a pandemic absolutely crucial to justify the launch of ID2020?

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory, sharing a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about "secret elites" controlling world leaders. GAVI is a is a public–private global health partnership committed to increasing access to immunisation in poor countries. Among the founders are the World Health Organisation, The International Monetary Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

See related pro-Kremlin disinformation cases about the coronavirus.