FactCheck Social Media

Claim of no COVID-19 pandemic ignores basic facts

2020-06-30 17:47:24

The Statement

A widely circulated Facebook post claims that there is no COVID-19 pandemic.

The post reads, “There is NO pandemic. There is a virus less deadly than the flu, fake prediction models, recommended treatments that are killing people, unreliable and contaminated test kits, ridiculously inflated death counts, and media-induced hysteria to push an agenda whereby the end goal is to enslave humanity with forced vaccines, microchips, and police state surveillance. There is NO pandemic. This is Agenda 21 being played out in real life.”

There are numerous examples of the post by overseas groups here, here, here and here and in Australia by chef Pete Evans among others – here and here. Mr Evans’ June 27 post has generated more than 1000 shares, 6500 reactions and more than 365,000 views.

A Facebook post from June 27, 2000
 A Facebook post claims that there is no COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Analysis

The Facebook post’s primary claim is that the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused nearly 500,000 deaths globally does not exist. As at June 30,  the US had recorded highest number fatalities followed by Brazil, the UK, Italy and France, according to a COVID-19 map by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

In December 2019 a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was first reported in Wuhan, China. In January, the UN agency for public health, the World Health Organization (WHO), determined that the outbreak was caused by a novel coronavirus and issued a statement saying there was evidence to suggest human-to-human transmission in Wuhan.

In February, WHO announced that the disease caused by the novel coronavirus would be named COVID-19.

On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. At the media briefing to make the announcement, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do. We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.”

In a 2010 article titled, ‘What is a pandemic?”,  the World Health Organization defined it as “the worldwide spread of a new disease”. To illustrate the spread of COVID-19, the US public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listed on June 26 at least 215 countries and territories with confirmed cases of the virus based on regions defined by the World Health Organization.

WHO also outlines the phases of a pandemic in a 2009 guidance document.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization
 WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. 

The Verdict

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the Facebook to be false. The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. WHO defines a pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease and cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in more than 200 countries and territories.

False – The primary claims of the content are factually incorrect.

* AAP FactCheck is accredited by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, which promotes best practice through a stringent and transparent Code of Principles. https://aap.com.au/