Even as trusted sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and government authorities are urging people to not give in to "WhatsApp cures", nearly 300 people died by ingesting methanol across Iran after a fake remedy against the deadly COVID-19 took social media by storm. The fake antidote has left more than 1,000 sickened and 300 dead in the country.
This comes in the wake of distrust among citizens, where they remain deeply suspicious of the government after it downplayed the crisis for days before the pandemic spread in the country like wildfire.
“The virus is spreading and people are just dying off, and I think they are even less aware of the fact that there are other dangers around,” said Knut Erik Hovda, a clinical toxicologist in Oslo who studies methanol poisoning and fears Iran’s outbreak could be even worse than reported.
“When they keep drinking this, there’s going to be more people poisoned.”
So far, over 32,000 people have tested positive for the highly infectious virus and more than 2,300 people have died. As of now, there is no known cure for Covid-19.
Apart from the virus, the country is also struck down by fake news, that, as evidence suggests is as devastating as a plague. A fake story was widely circulated in Farsi that suggested a British school teacher and others cured themselves of the disease with whiskey and honey, based on a tabloid news story from early February.