FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show A UNICEF Letter About Preventing Coronavirus
An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) letter with tips to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus.
“RIP Programmers,” reads part of the image.
There is no record of UNICEF publishing such guidance. A UNICEF spokesperson said the letter is “NOT from UNICEF and is not accurate.”
Health agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put out recommendations for avoiding infection as the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 110 countries around the world. The Facebook post claims to show a letter from UNICEF offering some dubious tips on preventing the virus, including “any mask prevents its entry” and “gargle with warm and salt water.”
But the Daily Caller searched the UNICEF website and found nothing matching or similar to the contents of the alleged letter. A UNICEF spokesman, Christopher Tidey, confirmed to the Caller that the letter is “NOT from UNICEF and is not accurate.” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims A Lysol Product Label Proves The Coronavirus Isn’t A ‘New Virus’)
“Misinformation during times of a health crisis can result in people being left unprotected or more vulnerable to the virus,” Tidey said in an email. “It can also spread paranoia, fear, and stigmatization, and have other consequences like offering a false sense of protection.”
Measures to prevent COVID-19 include washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available and avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. The CDC only recommends health workers and people sick with the novel virus or under investigation for it wear masks.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
“Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!” the Surgeon General tweeted. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
As of March 10, the novel coronavirus has sickened at least 113,702 people and killed at least 4,012 others, according to the WHO.