Hoax or Virus: “India is doing it” viral WhatsApp message on COVID-19

Did you receive a WhatsApp video message titled “India is doing it”? Do not open it, as it is likely a hoax. Read on more to find out why.

India’s current COVID-19 situation

Just last week, India passed the 20 million mark for number of positive Covid-19 cases, to which some say is a grave understatement. This is accompanied by a devastating 200,000 deaths in India thus far. The scenes of chaos, pure devastation, and some say “apocalypse“, is not foreign to anyone as the country grapples with a severe lack of healthcare resources to deal with the 2nd wave. Even as India is pushing for COVID-19 vaccination in phases, the situation in India does not seem to be coming to a slow.

And so, naturally, when a video circulating on WhatsApp claims to show how India is successfully flattening the COVID-19 curve, it is met with too warm a response. Clicks happen. Maybe it’s shared even before it’s opened. But, it then hacks your phone in 10 seconds and cannot be stopped once opened. This file is called “India is doing it”. There was another video with a similar title that was making its rounds just last year, focusing on Argentina. That news was debunked as a hoax.

Virus or Hoax? Or both? One thing’s for sure: you are much better off not opening that video. Read on more instead to find out if India is indeed flattening the curve of COVID-19.

India covid19

Why is this video message title likely to be a hoax?

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare claimed during a press briefing that the “(COVID-19) curve is relatively flat as of now”. He went on to add that “If we work collectively in that direction, then the peak may never come.”

Devesh Kumar, data analyst and researcher with Reuters, however dismissed this claim. He maintained that flattening of the curve only occurs when the number of active cases becomes equal or less than the number of recovered patients. This is not the case in India as there have been almost 3 million positive cases reported daily since the spike of over 4 million in a single day on 6 May .

In his article, he reported that COVID-19 cases in India have been doubling every 12 days (as compared to 3 days before the lockdown). But it still isn’t right to say that they have been successful at flattening the curve because of three big reasons:

  1. Low Testing
  2. Lack of an efficient healthcare system
  3. Unreliable data to determine how COVID-19 will shape up after the lockdown

He explains more here.

india covid

Some may argue that there was a drop in the numbers in recent days. The number of cases in India dipped to below 300,000 for the first time in recent weeks. However, experts warn that this could be due to the drop in the testing capabilities of the nation.

The Economic Times has a more positive outlook on the situation. However, it has also included that India’s peak may occur even as late as end June 2021. This is also echoed by Shahid Jameel, virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences, Ashoka University.

Closing words

Be informed. Do not click into suspicious looking links or messages which are likely phishing or hoax. Obtain your news from reputable sources. And follow Medical Channel Asia for your regular dose of Asian Health Information.

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