During Janata Curfew on Sunday, as Indians came out on their balconies and lawns, banging utensils, ringing bells and clapping meant to be for the essential service workers, a WhatsApp message started circulating claiming that the sound was making coronavirus retreat.
The message appears to have gained faith of many who forwarded the same. The message in detail says, "NASA satellite videos LIVE telecast have shown that the Coronavirus is retreating in India thanks to the people's efforts at 5PM on 22 Mar."
This message is fake and it was possibly spread by a prankster. But it also poses risk to public health as India grapples with rising cases of coronavirus; people must practice caution and stay home because the virus threat is real and no loud sound is going to make it go away.
The fake message goes on to say: "The cosmic level sound waves generated have been detected by NASA's SD13 wave detector," the WhatsApp message continues, "and a recently made bio-satellite has shown COVID-19 strain diminishing and weakening!!!"
Firstly, there is no evidence of a NASA SD13 wave detector. There is also no confirmation from NASA to show that the 5 pm noise had any effect on coronavirus or anything else. Basically, NASA doesn't mention either on its social media or website anything about the clapping effect.
Secondly, a bio-satellite is not meant for tracking developments or spread of a virus, which is a microbe and cannot be tracked by any satellite stationed in the outer space. Further, bio-satellites assess the effects of spaceflight on biological systems.
In his address to the nation on Thursday, PM Modi had lauded the hard work of medical professionals, sanitation staff, airline crews, delivery persons and media personnel among others. He had asked people to express gratitude to them by giving them a five-minute standing ovation at 5 pm on Sunday by clapping hands, beating plates or ringing out bells.
The PM's suggestion comes as people across the globe, especially in Europe, have started taking to their balconies while being in quarantine, and clapping or singing to keep each others' spirits up and laud the ones participating in essential and emergency services.
Fake news around the coronavirus epidemic, like the one about the clapping effect, has caused panic and misunderstanding across the world, including India.
The Indian government has written to top social media companies including Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, ShareChat and Twitter, to control the spread of misinformation on Covid 19, popularly known as Coronavirus.
In an advisory sent on March 20, the government asked social media platforms to start awareness campaigns, remove misinformation from the platform and promote authentic information on the virus, the Economic Times reported.