VERA FILES FACT CHECK: This is NOT a photo of a COVID-19 patient’s throat

A Facebook user posted April 20 an image of swollen tonsils with white spots, and alleged it was the “throat of someone with COVID-19 spread to the lungs and body.” It’s not.

Digital photo analyzing tool Fotoforensics shows the picture was taken on May 29, 2018, or more than 18 months before the emergence in Wuhan, China of the severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The image’s earliest traceable upload came from social media site Reddit where a user asked if the photo showed a “normal looking strep throat.” Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and tonsils. The user later said test results showed it was a case of MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, another kind of bacterial infection.

The photo was revived on April 9, in a misleading tweet that claims the novel coronavirus “eats the lungs” and “hatches under the tongue.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed fever, dry cough and tiredness as the most common symptoms of COVID-19. “Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhea,” the agency added.

The false post has been shared about 600 times on Facebook.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

FOR FURTHER READING

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It does not protect one from or kill the virus causing COVID-19.

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The advisory is not found anywhere on AIIMS’ website nor YouTube channel.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Gargling water with salt, vinegar DOES NOT ‘remove’ coronavirus

This has been debunked by the Department of Health. It has also been fact-checked in six continents.

About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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