False: No Vegetarian Has Contracted COVID-19 According To WHO Report

Posts falsely claim that a WHO report states that no vegetarian has contracted COVID-19.

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared hundreds of times claim the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that no vegetarian has contracted the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the WHO denied issuing the report; as of May 2020, health experts have said there is no scientific evidence to suggest that a vegetarian diet prevents infection from COVID-19.

The claim was made in a text graphic published on Facebook here on March 14, 2020.

The Hindi text translates to English as: "Not a single vegetarian has contracted coronavirus in the entire world: WHO Report. Amazing Sanatana Dharma. Hail Hindutva."

Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post

The terms "Sanatana Dharma" and "Hindutva" both refer to aspects of Hinduism, which promotes a vegetarian diet.

Similar claims were also shared on Facebook here, here, here and here; and on Twitter here, here, here and here.

ALSO READ: Fake News In The Time Of Coronavirus: A BOOM Study

However, the claim is false.

"The WHO has not made such a statement," Supriya Bezbaruah, the WHO's India representative, told AFP via WhatsApp on May 2, 2020.

Dr R.V. Asokan, the secretary-general of the Indian Medical Association, also refuted the claim about vegetarians being protected against COVID-19.

"There is absolutely no truth in this claim. There is no medical evidence that non-vegetarian food is in any way related to COVID death susceptibility," he told AFP by phone on May 5, 2020.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak first emerged in early 2020, health experts have stressed that people should maintain a healthy diet to avoid a weakened immune system due to poor nutrition.

The WHO states here and here that meat, if properly prepared, can be consumed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated On: 2020-05-08T13:08:27+05:30
Claim Review :   No vegetarian has contracted COVID-19.
Claimed By :  Facebook, Twitter
Fact Check :  False
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