From toddlers to aged, many have become victims of the deadly novel Coronavirus, which has turned the world upside down. Ever since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, it has claimed the lives of 270,740 people globally.
Now, the latest claim that is doing the rounds on social media suggests that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that so far no vegetarian has contracted the virus in the world. The message has surfaced online since March 2020 and is being widely shared by Indians, who are apparently promoting a vegetarian diet among the people.
"The Hindi text of the viral message can be translated as: "Not a single vegetarian has contracted coronavirus in the entire world: WHO Report. Amazing Sanatana Dharma. Hail Hindutva."
The claim has been going viral especially since the COVID-19 is believed to have emerged from a wet market in Wuhan. Though its exact source is still unknown, many people are under the impression that it can be transmitted from many animals.
However, the viral claim suggesting that Coronavirus will not affect vegetarians is false as there exists no scientific evidence to prove it. Even a representative of the WHO has denied issuing this statement. "The WHO has not made such a statement," Supriya Bezbaruah, the WHO's India representative, told AFP.
It has to be noted that the netizens, who have been sharing this message are taking the opportunity to promote the Hindutva ideology seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus and the Hindu way of life.
Similar hoax messages related to food
Of late, many netizens were also seen sharing a warning by the WHO against eating cabbage and bakery products amid the coronavirus outbreak. Similarly, a claim warning people to avoid eating vegetable salads amid Coronavirus scare had also gone viral on social media. The message was said to have been issued by a medical lab in Hong Kong as the novel virus can stay active on fruits and vegetables for 12 hours.
However, all such claims were proved to be a hoax as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have earlier said there is no evidence to prove that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.