Old Video of Doctor Spreading Covid-19 Misinformation Revived
BOOM found that the video is from October 2020, and is from a panel organised by Covid-19 conspiracy theorists in Berlin.
An old video of Dr Dolores Cahill, former professor of Immunology at the University College Dublin has been revived online amid new Covid-19 restrictions being brought back in India and some other countries.
A three-minute video from the ACU 2020 conference in Berlin shows a panel discussion on 10 October, 2020. The original video is about 18 minutes long, where different members of the panel are speaking about Covid-19. Dr Cahill is also on the panel, and is heard talking about Covid-19 and downplaying its severity in the name of freedom of speech.
"We are here to say that there is good news. The coronavirus is a seasonal virus that causes symptoms from December to April. And for people who have symptoms there are treatments like inhaled steroids, hydroxychloroquine, and zinc. So there is no need for the lockdown. There is no need for fear, there is no need for masks or social distancing, or for quarantining people. They are locking people in their homes for last year's flu for which there is an effective treatment. So we want to communicate this message to the people that there is no need for fear."
This viral clip is circulating on Facebook with the caption, "Now what is this--- Breaking News: WHO accepted its mistake and took a complete U-turn, saying that Corona is a seasonal virus, it is a cough, cold and sore throat that occurs during the change of weather, there is a need to panic. WHO now says that the corona patient neither needs to be isolated nor does the public need social distancing. It is also not transmitted from one patient to another. See WHO's press conference. .... Pls share it maximum. (sic)"
(Original text in Hindi: "अब ये क्या है : ब्रेकिंग न्यूज़: डबल्यू.एच.ओ ने अपनी गलती मानी पूरी तरह से यू-टर्न लेते हुए कहा है कि कोरोना एक सीजननल वायरस है यह मौसम बदलाव के दौरान होने वाला खांसी जुकाम गला दर्द है इससे घबराने की जरूरत नहीं। डब्ल्यू.एच.ओ अब कहता है कि कोरोना रोगी को न तो अलग रहने की जरूरत है और न ही जनता को सोशल डिस्टेंसिंग की जरूरत है।यह एक मरीज से दुसरे व्यक्ति में भी संचारित नहीं होता। देखिये WHO की प्रैस कांफ्रेंस..... Pls share it maximum.")
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We also received this video on our WhatsApp tipline (7700906588).
BOOM had previously debunked these conspiracy theories around Covid-19 in 2020. Read them here.
We were able to debunk other statements made by this panel, including claims of false results appearing in RT-PCR tests and 5G technology being responsible for the outbreak of this virus.
For this video, we were able to debunk these claims by first using reverse image search on Yandex and finding out who the woman was. One of the results showed a page of the Brand New Tube website, a video streaming platform, which mentioned in its heading that the woman was Dr Dolores Cahill. The page has now been taken down.
We ran a Google search for Dr Cahill and found out that she had been called out by several organisations and even her own students for spreading misinformation around the pandemic. Following her controversial statements, she was even asked to step down from her role as President of the Irish Freedom Party and later resigned as professor of immunology at UCD.
Among the major claims made by Dr Cahill in this clip, is one that claims how masks, social distancing, isolating is not necessary. Official guidelines on the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC)'s website however, have recommended exactly these things in order to ensure proper prevention and treatment against the virus.
We also looked up the World Doctors Alliance, the organisation that Dr Cahill was chairing, and found several reports of them being accused of spreading misinformation related to the pandemic. Read them here and here.
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