A viral message pointing out symptoms to identify different respiratory diseases including Coronavirus is being shared, falsely attributed to India's leading public hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. The message is also misleading as there are no certain symptoms to identify the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and many people who are asymptomatic are also testing positive.
This message claiming that a person exhibiting a certain set of symptoms will be suffering from either air pollution, common cold, flu, or coronavirus is attributed to the Pathology Department of AIIMS. BOOM checked the COVID website and bulletin and did not find any such bifurcations on their website.
BOOM also found that this message has been circulating on social media since 2020, since the onset of the first lockdown. The message reads, "*Please note the differences* (1) dry cough + sneeze = air pollution (2) cough + mucus + sneeze + runny nose = common cold (3) Cough + mucus + sneeze + runny nose + body ache + weakness + light fever = flu (4) Dry cough + sneeze + body pain + weakness + high fever + difficulty breathing = coronavirus, Pathology department AIIMS, Delhi
BOOM received this message on its WhatsApp helpline requesting verification
This message is viral on Facebook since 2020.
BOOM searched through the websites, bulletins, and social media pages of AIIMS, Delhi and did not find any messages discussing the differentiation of symptoms between any of these diseases. BOOM also reached out to the media cell at AIIMS but they were not available.
Furthermore, this message which is in circulation since early 2020 defines a certain set of symptoms that could be identified as certain respiratory illnesses. They have highlighted symptoms for air pollution, common cold, flu, and coronavirus. However, since the advent of the virus, doctors have stated that the symptoms of every patient have varied.
Another unique facet of COVID is that people who are testing positive are also asymptomatic. They do not exhibit symptoms but still transmit the virus. The message fails to capture this large chunk of population. Currently, in Mumbai about 84 per cent of the newly reported cases are asymptomatic.
Even for the other diseases, it is not mandatory that a person suffering the ill-effects of the disease will only exhibit those specific symptoms. If a person's health is affected by air pollution it is not necessary that they will only have a dry cough or sneeze. While flu and coronavirus symptoms are similar, India tests for Coronavirus but doctors do not always ask for tests for reporting influenza.
Currently, people who are testing positive for COVID-19 are losing sense of smell and taste, suffering body fatigue and are also having issues with their memory.
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