FALSE: ‘Official’ coronavirus face mask released


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FALSE: ‘Official’ coronavirus face mask released
The mask for sale is the Monata reusable dust pollution mask, which is used for woodworking, house cleaning, gardening, and other outdoor activities

Claim: An “official” mask to combat the novel coronavirus was released.

A Facebook page called Public Advisory posted a video with the title “Official COVID (coronavirus disease) Mask,” and the caption: “The official NCOV Face Mask was released! Do you love your Family!? (sic) Get one for them.”

It was first posted on February 17, 2020, and had gotten 33,000 views, 164 reactions, 70 comments, and 62 shares as of Monday, February 24.

The video claims that simple surgical masks are not effective, therefore doctors recommend carbon filter face masks. 

Further, the video claims that the mask has a built-in air filter that can filter the air by blocking viruses and bacteria, reducing the risk of infection.

The post describes the mask as one that is reusable, washable, and “10 times better and safer” than ordinary masks. It adds that limited stocks of the mask remain, coupled with the link for where to purchase the mask.

The link leads to the page of BioEstics, a local online shop that sells “products as solutions to society’s problems.”

The post has been flagged by Facebook’s Claim Check, a monitoring tool that detects posts with possibly false information.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The mask for sale is the Monata reusable dust pollution mask, which is used for woodworking, house cleaning, gardening, and other outdoor activities. 

There were also no reports of the release of an “official” mask meant to combat the novel coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) made no such announcement either.

Using reverse image search, Rappler found that the product displayed on the BioEstics page is the Monata reusable dust pollution mask that is being sold on Amazon and Walmart.

The mask became available as early as September 2019, months before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The BioEstics page used the same photos as the ones displayed on the Amazon and Walmart pages for the Monata mask.

The product descriptions are similar, both relaying qualities such as active carbon filtration, mesh mask shell, an adjustable earloop, and an adjustable nose clip and exhalation valve.

The WHO earlier reminded the public that using surgical masks wasn’t recommended and would only be preferable for high-risk individuals and health workers.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo also reminded the public that N95 masks should be used by health workers who handle patients under investigation. (READ: How to spot fake N95 face masks, according to DOH)

As of Monday, February 24, the death toll in China due to the novel coronavirus hit 2,592. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com




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