Health officials: Drinking bleach, snorting cocaine won't cure coronavirus
Health officials are warning the public that drinking bleach and snorting cocaine won't cure the coronavirus amid rampant social media rumors.
Rumors about "cures" for the virus gaining traction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok are: garlic, masturbation, bleach, even cocaine.
On Sunday, in an effort to combat such viral disinformation, the French Ministry of Health tweeted a firm rebuttal: "No, cocaine does not protect against COVID-19. Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug. Using it can seriously harm people's health and create undesirable effects."
Prominent QAnon YouTuber Jordan Sather, for example, tweeted to his more than 121,000 followers that a "miracle mineral solution," which effectively involves drinking bleach, can wipe out COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
"Not only is chlorine dioxide (aka 'MMS') an effective cancer cell killer, it can wipe out coronavirus too," he wrote. "Big Pharma wants you ignorant."
According to the FDA, drinking bleach can have serious consequences, including "severe vomiting, severe diarrhea, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration, and acute liver failure."
Sadly, drinking bleach isn't the only dangerous "cure" that bad actors are peddling online to a population increasingly anxious about the current outbreak. The most recent rumor spreading at a rapid pace is that cocaine will counteract COVID-19.
On Facebook — where a third-party fact-checking program is in place — many of these posts now have false information warnings that serve both to warn users of the content's unreliability and to deprioritize them in the platform's algorithm. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also addressed the issue in a March 3 post, saying the company is working with national ministries of health and organizations "to help them get out timely, accurate information on the coronavirus."
The World Health Organization created a TikTok account to help combat online false information.
Incredibly, their TikTok on when and how face masks should be worn already has more than 40 million views. Their first video on how to protect yourself from coronavirus has more than 33 million. So, there may be hope for the truth yet.