The COVID-19 pandemic has put the whole world in chaos as it spread around the globe. However, aside from this infectious disease, another thing existed that can be more deadly than the coronavirus disease itself. With the significant improvement of technology, its benefits always come with its negative aspects. The easy accessibility to spread fake and inaccurate news has been another challenge to every individual globally, especially that the COVID-19 disease is all over social media.
In this problem, our fellow Filipino kababayans are not exempted. As we scrolled through the Facebook posts, about 2,200 netizens shared a photo containing inaccurate and false news. The image includes a piece of advice to eat food with high alkaline content to prevent or defeat the COVID-19 disease. The given information recommends specific vegetables and fruits containing more alkaline or which pH level is high.
All of this information given all over Facebook is inaccurate and false. It was refuted by a group of experts by an International Nonprofit Organization Meedan. As stated in their COVID-19 Expert Database website, the viruses are not water-based solutions; thus, they do not have pH levels. The Oxford University’s Lexico added that a solution is only considered water-based if its main ingredient or medium is water. The pH scale is primarily used in determining the acidity or the alkalinity of a particular water-based solution. If its pH level is below 7, then it is acidic. If it is below 7, it is alkaline. A solution is considered neutral or basic if its pH level is seven, such as water.
Looking at these given facts, if you eat more alkaline foods, your blood pH will not be affected. However, it may affect one’s saliva and urine pH levels, as stated by the expert team from Meedan. These changes in pH are also variable between each person. They are entirely sure that it will not prevent or even cure COVID-19 disease.
A faculty member of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (DFSN) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Maria Carmela Taob, stated the same facts. She emailed VERA files saying that no evidence existed to support this claim that high alkaline foods are the cure against COVID-19 disease.
Furthermore, she enlightened everyone that determining the food, whether it is acidic, alkaline, or neutral, involves the process of checking its left ashes after being combusted under laboratory conditions. Foods that produce “acid-ash” are fish, meat, eggs, cheese, poultry, and grains. On the other hand, vegetables and fruits, except for cranberries, prunes, and plums produce “alkaline-ash.” For neutral food products, there are tea, fats, coffee, starches, and certain sweets. On the shared flier, it gave the pH level garlic, turmeric tea, dandelion, and seven fruits ranging from 7.4 to 22.7. However, the provided information is wrong.
On the brighter side, a well-balanced diet is crucial as each individual should consume various fruits and vegetables to support their immune system. The experts of Meedan and Taob pointed it out. Besides improving your immune system, Taob stressed the significance of precautionary health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease. It includes wearing masks, physical distancing, general hygiene, frequent handwashing, physical activity, and environmental sanitation.
As of now, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that no vaccine or drug is still proven to cure or prevent coronavirus disease. Clinical trials are always being carried out worldwide to discover its appropriate and effective drug and vaccine.
The famous inaccurate flier contains the title “Goodbye Corona Virus!” It has many false claims about what an individual must do to defeat coronavirus disease with advice such as consuming Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and eggs, drinking warm water daily, and getting sunlight in the morning.
In the flier, the indicated symptoms of COVID-19 disease are also misleading. One of these is the sore throat and the loss of the sense of smell and taste. These symptoms are factually less common among COVID-19 patients. Dry cough and fever remain to be the common symptoms of the coronavirus disease as announced by WHO. Moreover, the shortness of breath will only happen to seriously-ill individuals. Its ratio is about one of every five COVID-19 patients.
It is very disheartening to know that such misleading claims and inaccurate information have spread among many online netizens. For the record, the flier’s online copy was uploaded last April 16, 2020, through the Twitter platform. It managed to gain 53,700 likes and 41,000 retweets. However, there are posted comments within the post stating its disinformation.
Nevertheless, the claims about alkalizing foods circulated around Facebook and WhatsApp since the month of March. It is according to the fact check articles of the Associated Press, Africa Check, and the Agence FrancePresse. It was found out that the false information came from the contents of a 1991 study published in the Journal of Virology., which is about the coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus type 4 (MHV4). Clearly, it is not the SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 disease.
Initially, at least five netizens on Facebook originally published the false flier from June 17, 2020, to June 22, 2020. Until July, it continues to spread among many Facebook shares and posts. It surfaced a day before the eight million marks of total COVID-19 cases around the world were recorded. On that same day, about 27,000 COVID-19 cases were recorded in the Philippines.
If left unchecked, these false fliers can cause panic and anxiety among many people across the globe. Instead of just facing the threat of COVID-19 disease, we are also fighting against the harm caused by fake news due to the easy accessibility of unverified information online. Hence, it calls us to be always doubtful on all the information, mostly if it is posted through unofficial online platforms. One must always check the official news online platform to be updated on all the verified and truthful news and developments of the coronavirus pandemic. For this, we should stay alert and observant while relaxing from the worries of the current health crisis.
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