The Covid-19 outbreak has triggered an unprecedented hunt for a vaccine. Though it seems a little far off before we have one, it has not stopped politicians and leaders across the world from recommending rather unusual and bizarre remedies ‘to keep the virus in check.’
From injecting disinfectant, drinking alcohol to consuming ‘gau mutra’ and gobar, politicians of all hues have come up with their own version of “cures”, albeit without any scientific basis.
With the number of infections surpassing 14 million, the World Health Organisation has initiated a global awareness campaign named “Stop The Spread”. The campaign aims to bust myths about the spread, diagnostic and treatment of the disease. Here are some of the examples when leaders were found spreading misinformation.
US President Donald Trump had come under fire after suggesting the medial community to inject disinfectant as a treatment for coronavirus. He also proposed the idea of exposing patients to UV light. The US has reported over 3.5 million Covid-19 cases and over one lakh deaths.
“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” the president told Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response co-ordinator.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? “So it’d be interesting to check that.” According to a BBC report, both ideas were dismissed by the doctors at the press briefing.
In Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko suggested bizarre methods such as driving a “tractor” and drinking alcohol to prevent contracting the novel coronavirus.
According to a local report, Lukashenko said that “there shouldn’t be any panic” over the virus. “It’s nice watching television: people are working in tractors, no one is talking about the virus,” Lukashenko said. “There, the tractor will heal everyone. The fields heal everyone,” he added.
A CNBC report also stated that the authoritarian president urged people to drink vodka, go to saunas and return to work while other nations implemented a lockdown to prevent the spread.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan too made headlines for undermining the gravity of the situation when he suggested that Covid-19 was a common “flu” and 90 per cent can be cured in a few days.
In another statement, Khan also urged people to stay at home and observe their own symptoms for days instead of going to the hospital. Pakistan has reported over 2 lakh cases with 5568 confirmed deaths.
Later, Khan blamed the people of Pakistan for the spike in cases. “People are not taking this virus seriously. Commoners are thinking this is a flu,” he said during a press conference.
John Pombe Magufuli
In June, Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli declared the country Covid-19 free thanks to “prayers by citizens”, the BBC reported. Earlier, Magufuli had refused to close down religious places over the pandemic, claiming that the virus was “Satanic” and can’t survive in the body of Christ.
He further said that the health crisis was exaggerated and encouraged people to attend services in churches and mosques, stating that prayers “can vanquish” the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) had expressed concern over the government’s strategy on tacking Covid-19.
During the inauguration of the week-long International Yog Festival in Rishikesh, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath stated that regular practice of Yoga could help fight many diseases including Coronavirus.
“Indian tradition needs to be deeply understood and it has great things to offer through yoga. The world is fighting a battle against physical and mental illnesses. With the help of yoga, diseases like blood pressure, heart attack, kidney failure, liver failure and even coronavirus can be dealt with,” Adityanath said.
Luis Miguel Barbosa Huerta
In Mexico, Puebla Governor Luis Miguel Barbosa Huerta kicked off a row when he said that the poor were immune to the virus. “If you are rich you are at risk, if you are poor, no, the poor are immune,” Huerta said during a press conference. Later, he also claimed that Turkey mass is a cure for the virus.
Suman Haripriya, a BJP legislator in Assam, had amused many when she claimed that ‘gaumutra’ (cow urine) and ‘gobar’ (cow dung) could cure coronavirus. She also claimed that cow urine and cow dung could help in curing diseases like cancer.
“We all know that cow dung is very helpful. Likewise, when cow urine is sprayed, it purifies an area… I believe something similar could be done with ‘gaumutra’ and ‘gobar’ to cure coronavirus (disease),” she said during a discussion on smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh.