FALSE: COVID-19 is not true, no evidence of a medical pandemic

At a glance:
  • Claim: COVID-19 is "not true" and there is no evidence of a medical pandemic.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Health (DOH) both say that we are in the middle of a pandemic, which is defined as "an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people."
  • Why we fact checked this: A video containing this claim was emailed to Rappler for verification.
Complete details:

According to a group of doctors, scientists, and peace activists who call themselves the World Doctors Alliance, COVID-19 is "not true" and there is no evidence of a medical pandemic.

They also said that the pandemic is "no worse than a bad flu season," that 5G networks give people the symptoms of the flu, and that there is no need for lockdowns, masks, social distancing, or quarantine.

This claim was emailed to Rappler for verification. The video where it was made has 1,102 views on the website BitChute.

This claim is false.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Health (DOH) both say that we are in the midst of a pandemic.

In a bulletin in 2011, the WHO defined a pandemic as "an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people."

As of Monday, November 9, the WHO says there have been 49,578,590 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,245,717 deaths reported to them. These are spread across countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

In the Philippines, as of November 5, there have been 396,395 confirmed cases, 7,539 of whom have died.

The other claims made in the video are also false.

COVID-19 is not the same as the flu. According to the WHO, although influenza and COVID-19 have similarities, there are also a number of differences.

For example, the flu can spread faster than COVID-19. Also, a major driver of transmission for the flu is the transmission of the virus in the first 3 to 5 days, but this is not a major driver for COVID-19. For the flu, children are major drivers of virus transmission, while for COVID-19, children are less affected than adults.

A number of Facebook users and websites have also spread the rumor that 5G networks are linked to the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that spreads the disease COVID-19. Rappler debunked this claim in April.

The virus is spread through respiratory droplets. The WHO has stressed that viruses cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks and that the virus is spreading in countries without 5G mobile networks.

In the video, Dolores Cahill, a professor at the Department of Translation Medicine of the University College Dublin said, "There is no need for the lockdown, there is no need for fear, there’s no need for masks, for social distancing, or for quarantining people."

As of October 13, the WHO still recommends that people maintain at least a one meter distance from others and to wear masks around other people.

Some European countries, including Ireland, where Cahill is from, reimposed lockdown measures from late October to early November.

Since airing her views on COVID-19 in May, Cahill has been asked to resign as vice chair of the Scientific Committee of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). IMI is a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry which aims to improve health through the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines.

Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG), where Cahill worked for 8 years, has also distanced itself from her, saying they did not want to associate with the claims that had been made. – Vernise Tantuco/Rappler.com