FALSE: 3 stages of COVID-19

Claim:

There are 3 stages of COVID-19: first only in the nose, second in the throat, and lastly in the lungs.

A graphic detailing this claim circulated on Facebook in August. It said that the first stage is less severe than the next and recovery would only take half a day, while the second stage would take a day of recovery. The graphic also listed what medications patients in different stages should take.

Facebook monitoring tool Claim Check flagged the graphic for fact checkers to verify. It was also spotted by a member of the Rappler team.

Rating: FALSE
The facts:

The Department of Health (DOH) said there are no confirmed “stages” of COVID-19 to date.

In a text message to Rappler, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire refuted the claim and cited their medical expert, Dr Edsel Salvana.

“No real classification system like that. Some stay in the upper airways like in most children and never go down. Some start above then go to lungs. Some never have symptoms. Some have extra-respiratory symptoms like diarrhea and stroke. Wala pa pong (There is still no) consensus about ‘stages’,” Salvana said.

There is also no mention of such stages in the official websites of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both agencies, however, said that the coronavirus can enter the human body through the eyes, nose, and mouth through small droplets. 

The medications mentioned in the infographic are also not officially recommended by the WHO. While there are ongoing clinical trials for both western and traditional medicines, there is still no approved cure for the disease as of September 3. WHO also does not recommend self-medication.

Rappler has debunked claims about supposed COVID-19 cures before. The false cures included in the graphic were steam inhalation, salt water gargling, vitamin C, and paracetamol. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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