With over 1.2 million recorded cases and 65,000 plus deaths worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic is something no one alive has ever seen before. In the absence of credible information, abnormal reactions and rumours are becoming the norm.

Since the coronavirus outbreak the social media in India is overloaded with fake news from unverified sources. Such news seems designed to go viral in no time.

Fake news always has a way of reaching people—besides WhatsApp and Facebook, nowadays TikTok has become another carrier of false or unconfirmed news.

Many are offering unverified home remedies to tackle the virus. “My parents got a WhatsApp forward that keeping karpur (camphor) and long (cloves) in your pocket can protect against Coronavirus. They were going outside without taking any preventive measure thinking it would save them. But it actually risked their lives,” says Manish, a resident of Bareilly.

Unsolicited advisories asking people to avoid eating food such as ice cream and chicken have also been doing the rounds for over two months now. This lie has led to a huge crash in the demand for chicken across the country. A poultry farmer in Belgavi, Karnataka reportedly loaded about 6,000 chickens onto a truck, dropped them in a ditch and buried them alive.

The mistreatment of pet animals too is on the rise, because of false rumours that they can spread the disease. Some people are even abandoning their pets. The WHO clarified weeks ago that there is no evidence that dogs, cats or any pet can transmit COVID19, which is transmitted only through the droplets exhaled when an infected human coughs, sneezes or speaks.

Recently, after the central government tracked down more than 1,000 cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi from March 13-15, fake news linked to this gathering has been spreading like wildfire, with the intention of targeting Muslims.

People are circulating scores of fake or unconfirmed videos on Whatsapp.

“One of my friends recently sent a video, where a group of Muslim men are seen licking their spoons and plates. The video title claimed this was being done in order to spread coronavirus,” says Vishal.

“After checking an authentic source about the video, I got to know that it was fake,” he adds.

The Citizen Bureau adds: A Facebook page called Humans of Islamophobia has compiled the following list of sources that debunk the latest wave of fake news circulating amid panic and fear, and hatred of the other.

Fake News 1: Muslim man spitting on fruits to spread Corona

Fake News 2: Muslims licking utensils to spread Corona

Fake News 3: Muslims sneezing in Unison to spread Corona

Fake News 4: Fake WhatsApp videos led to attack on health team in Indore

Fake News 5: Tablighis spitting on policemen to spread coronavirus

Fake News 6: Video falsely claiming Muslim policeman beating a Hindu priest

Fake News 7: Muslim worker in restaurant spitting in food to spread coronavirus

Fake News 8: Muslim foreign nationals with coronavirus hiding in a Patna mosque to avoid testing