Video footage from a Kartuli TV show where multiple false claims were voiced about the coronavirus pandemic, monkeypox and the ways to become infected were disseminated on Facebook.
The hostess and guest of the aforementioned TV show voiced a conspiracy theory that the “World Health Organisation plans to declare new monkeypox pandemic which will be aimed to take away the rights of sovereign states and announce a united world governance system.” This is an absurd claim and has nothing to do with the reality. Pro-Russian groups promote such disinformation to discredit the West and the WHO.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic viral disease which is endemic to Central and Western Africa. In May 2022, monkeypox started to be transmitted in non-endemic territories. Therefore, it became the spotlight of global health attention (see here for more information about monkeypox).
As of 15 June 2022, there were 2,103 confirmed cases of monkeypox with one lethal outcome in the 42 WHO member countries where this disease is not endemic. The majority of the cases were registered in Europe.
According to the WHO’s information, there is a real risk of the spread of monkeypox in non-endemic countries. However, it is possible to contain the virus. Therefore, the WHO urges countries to enhance monitoring measures.
The WHO says that there is no need for mass vaccination at this stage. It also does not recommend stringent restrictions, including cancellations of large-scale events.
Therefore, there is no danger of a monkeypox pandemic. As compared to other viruses (such as the coronavirus, human pox, measles and other infectious diseases), monkeypox is transmitted more slowly. In addition, there are several monkeypox vaccines available which provide effective protection against the monkeypox virus. Furthermore, if infected, anti-viral medicine to treat this disease is also available.
Claim: Monkeypox is transmitted to humans after close contact with an infected monkey and transmission between humans is only through sexual intercourse (anal sex).
Verdict: FAKE NEWS
Monkeypox spreads in different ways between humans:
• Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
• Respiratory secretions during face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact (such as kissing, cuddling or sex).
• Touching items that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.
• Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus.
It is also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
Of note is that according to the WHO’s information, most of the confirmed cases in Europe were among homosexual males which was followed by disinformation that monkeypox is a disease of homosexual people which is sexually transmitted. In this regard, the WHO’s European Director, Dr Hans Kluge, stated that the “virus is not attached to any specific group.”
In fact, human to human transmission of the virus happens with close contact with the infected person which includes sexual intercourse. It makes no difference for the virus how sexual contact takes place irrespective of the sexual orientation of people. The aim of such disinformation is to discredit sexual minorities.
Claim: “The coronavirus pandemic was a false pandemic… There was no such thing as the novel coronavirus and this was an outbreak of common coronaviruses… There were no new waves.”
Verdict: FAKE NEWS
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2 (acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus). SARS-CoV-2 is a new coronavirus from the family of coronaviruses which was not previously identified among humans. It was first detected in China’s Wuhan in 2019 and soon became the biggest challenge for global health.
On 11 March 2020, the underlying reason to declare the coronavirus as a pandemic was that COVID-19 was a new disease which was sweeping across the world. A that time, COVID-19 had spread across all continents (except for Antarctica) and 114 countries. According to the latest data, over 544 million people were infected with COVID-19 and more than 6.3 million died.
A pandemic is a global spread of a new disease. According to the definition of the WHO, a “pandemic is an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people. An epidemic is an outbreak of a disease when the situation is out control but it is contained locally within a certain country or territory.”
Claim: COVID-19 vaccines are gene therapy.
Verdict: FAKE NEWS
Anti-vaxxers constantly promote disinformation about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, claiming that people are subjected to gene therapy through the vaccines and their genetic code is altered. In fact, mRNA vaccines and gene therapy have nothing in common. Gene therapy is an experimental technique which envisions the modification of genes to treat or prevent certain diseases. Vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, do not penetrate the nucleus of human cells where our DNA (genetic material) is stored and, therefore, vaccines do no not affect human DNA. The sole function of the vaccines is to build immunity against diseases.
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