India on Thursday recorded 73 positive cases of the coronavirus.
Worldwide, the virus has cropped up in every continent save Antarctica, killing over 4,000 people. Over 118,000 people have so far tested positive for the virus.
Against this backdrop, perhaps the only thing more dangerous that the rather insidious virus is perhaps the fake news surrounding it. While the threat of coronavirus looming over India, myths and rumoured 'cures' also abound on the internet. But even as the World Health Organization and closer to home, bodies such as the Press Information Bureau attempt to debunk these myths, it would seem that celebrities too have joined the bandwagon. And if we do say so ourselves, it sets a dangerous precedence.
Indian film director Vivek Agnihotri on Thursday tweeted about several food items that could be used "regularly to fight coronavirus". And while he's not quite wrong -- in the sense that these are immunity boosting food items -- there's absolutely no guarantee that it would indeed help one fight the coronavirus.
Agnihotri talks about three things: turmeric, lemon and homemade rasam.
Agnihotri also got into a digital spat with businessman and political activist Tehseen Poonawalla who urged him to delete his tweet stating that there was no "scientific evidence" to support his statement.
The director however dismissed the criticism, stating that Poonawalla "would never be able to understand".
Even keeping in mind that Agnihotri did not say that these would cure coronavirus, there is no evidence that suggests that it would even ward away the virus. According to the WHO, "there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019".
Agnihotri also interacted with other Twitter users one of whom suggested that "non-vegetarian food must be completely avoided."
According to an FSSAI post, while it is always encouraged that consumers ensure that the "general principles of hygiene" are maintained, "poultry has not been found to be involved in the transmission of the novel coronavirus to humans so far in any report globally".
Twitter seems to be divided over the post. While many went off on a tangent (including Agnihotri in subsequent responses) about the delicacy that is rasam and arbi; others took a dig at the director citing other preventive ingredients suggested previously.
But if it makes things any better, Agnihotri is not the only person to come up with food items that would help in the coronavirus fight. From using garlic to increasing alcohol and cigarette consumption, 'WhatsApp University' has been busy indeed.
Unfortunately, in many cases these suggestions have been taken seriously, even killing people. And while turmeric and lemon is probably not going to kill you, relying on it for its anti-coronavirus properties may be hasty.
Far be it from us to critique him, but perhaps Agnihotri should take note of these cases before providing his rather large Twitter following with health updates.