FALSE: Media didn’t report novel coronavirus has low fatality rate

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FALSE: Media didn’t report novel coronavirus has low fatality rate
Both local and foreign media reported on the low fatality rate of the 2019-nCoV

Claim: A post on the Facebook page “Nurses Inspire Nurses Worldwide” said that the “local mainstream media” didn’t report that the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has a low mortality rate.

After saying that the 5th 2019-nCoV patient cured was discharged from a Beijing hospital on Thursday, January 30, the post claimed: “WHAT THE LOCAL MAINSTREAM MEDIA DIDN’T TELL YOU. The Wuhan coronavirus seems to have a low fatality rate, and most patients make full recoveries.”

It also said that many patients diagnosed with 2019-nCoV have already made full recoveries and that most of those who have died were elderly or had compromised immune systems.

They added that experts say that panic is unwarranted and unproductive, and that people can avoid getting sick by frequent washing of hands and not touching your face.

The post, dated January 31, has since received more than 45,000 reactions, 3,000 comments, and 59,000 shares.

According to Nurses Inspire Nurses Worldwide’s “Page Transparency” tab on Facebook, it has no confirmed owner but it is managed by 3 people from the Philippines.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The media has reported on the low fatality rate of 2019-nCoV.

Rappler’s story “Novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV: What we know so far,” published on January 21, said: “With 212 deaths and a total of 8,236 cases as of January 31, 2019-nCoV has a [case fatality rate] of about 2.6%. This is lower than SARS, whose CFR was 10%, and MERS, whose CFR was about 35%. But this figure is not unshakeable, as figures continue to rise.”

ABS-CBN’s article, “Facts about the 2019 novel coronavirus,” published on February 5, also said that the new cornavirus has a lower mortality rate than SARS.

The Philippine Star, quoting WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe, said the same in their report about the first case of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines on January 31. They said the same in a story published two days earlier.

On February 3, Cebu Daily News reported that Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia asked the public not to panic because 2019-nCoV has a lower mortality rate than other coronaviruses.

Foreign media have also spoken about the low fatality rate of the 2019-nCoV. A February 1 headline on Business Insider read: “The Wuhan coronavirus seems to have a low fatality rate, and most patients make full recoveries. Experts reveal why it’s causing panic anyway.”

The Guardian referenced this article when they mentioned a 2019-nCoV’s lower fatality rate in their February 4 story, “Coronavirus is a deadly test: did the world learn the lessons of Sars?”

Also, 1,141 of 28,078 infected globally have recovered from the virus, including one of the 3 confirmed cases in the Philippines as of Thursday, February 6. Another patient from the Philippines is recovering, while the other died. There have been 564 deaths due to the virus worldwide. – Vernise L Tantuco/

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