- A bizarre rumor that cocaine can cure or prevent a coronavirus infection began to gain traction online.
- The false claims were accompanied by fake news stories, further fueling the spread.
- Eventually, the rumor gained enough momentum that French officials had to address it, explaining that the claims were indeed false.
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Coronavirus infection COVID-19 has no available vaccine or cure. Like the flu, once you have it, managing symptoms is the best thing you can do. However, that hasn’t stopped some from falsely claiming to know the “cure” for the infection and taking to social media to spread false claims. One particularly odd claim recently gained enough attention that it forced authorities in France to address it.
As Business Insider notes, the claim that cocaine could cure a person of a COVID-19 infection was shot down by the French government. As strange as it seems, the alleged “cure” gained a lot of traction on sites like Twitter, with images of fake or Photoshopped news reports tallying many thousands of likes and comments.
Some of the false claims were shared by accounts with high follower counts, leading to a rapid spread of misinformation. Whether those posts were intended to be a joke or not, the number of people who engaged with the rumors warranted a response from authorities.
“No, cocaine does NOT protect against COVID-19,” the tweet reads in French. “It is an addictive drug that causes serious side effects and is harmful to a person’s health.”
As much as the coronavirus outbreak has tested the world’s health organizations and our preparedness against a pandemic, it has also put a strain on many of the digital services we use every day. Twitter and Facebook have been battling a flood of misinformation regarding the coronavirus, with Facebook specifically having to address fake news stories and even Facebook market listings claiming to have a cure or vaccine to protect against infection.
Meanwhile, Amazon has had to tackle a huge influx of sellers peddling a variety of products at ridiculous prices, including face masks with prices many times higher than they’ve ever been before. The company has been forced to ban countless third-party sellers over these shady business practices, and halt new listings for many products.
For anyone truly looking to keep themselves safe from the coronavirus, the best advice is to maintain healthy practices like frequent hand washing and sanitizing, especially in public places. If you live in an area where the virus is currently spreading, follow advice from local health officials and authorities, remain home and avoid crowded gatherings if advised.
A number of companies have reported that they have coronavirus vaccines in the works, though how long it might take for those drugs to make it to market remains unclear. Tests for the virus are in short supply in many countries, including the United States, but if you think you might be coming down with something, call your doctor and follow their guidance.