Claim: Tuob, or the practice of inhaling steam from a basin of infused water while covering one’s head, is a cure or medication for COVID-19.
This claim had been made by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia as early as June 1, in a Facebook live update.
In the video, she said in Bisaya: “Sometimes for flu, you just drink paracetamol, because there is already a medicine for flu, there is already a vaccine. There’s already a medicine for COVID-19, tuob.”
She has since repeatedly promoted the practice of tuob as a cure for, or prevention of, COVID-19 in her live updates.
In a memo dated June 18, her office included tuob as part of a wellness program for provincial government employees. According to provincial media Sugbo News, providing tuob kits was also part of a memorandum for restarting Cebu’s tourism industry, which took a hit due to the enhanced community quarantine.
This claim has also been circulating on Facebook as early as March 24, according to the platform’s fact checking tool Claim Check. Posts about tuob as a cure for COVID-19 have been shared around 290 times and include photos of people doing the practice.
The facts: Tuob does not kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, said the Department of Health (DOH). The World Health Organization also said there is no known drug or preventive treatment for COVID-19. (READ: FALSE: Salt water steam can cure coronavirus)
At a virtual presser on Thursday, June 25, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said: “Wala pong scientific evidence na nagpapatunay na ang steam inhalation o paglanghap ng steam na may asin, lemon, at iba pang sangkap, ay nakakapatay ng virus na nagiging sanhi ng sakit ng COVID-19.”
(There is no scientific evidence that proves that steam inhalation or inhaling steam with salt, lemon, and other ingredients, can kill the virus that causes the disease COVID-19.)
She added that the practice may cause accidents like burning of the skin. She also said that the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control have both denied the claim that steam inhalation can cure COVID-19.
On their website, the WHO says: “While some western, traditional, or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of mild COVID-19, there are no medicines that have been shown to prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19.”
Garcia has also made claims about COVID-19 that Rappler has debunked, such as the coronavirus dying at a certain temperature and that wearing fact masks causes hypoxia. – Vernise L Tantuco/Rappler.com