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Recirculated WhatsApp message makes spurious claims about COVID-19 – all false

Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims the Italian Ministry of Health has discovered that COIVD-19 is not a virus but a bacteria among several other claims.

Most of the claims were found to be false.

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Italy recorded its first two cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) at the end of January 2020 but as of January 7, 2021, Italy had recorded roughly 2.2 million cases of the virus with 571, 055 active cases. 

A viral WhatsApp message claims that the Italian Ministry of Health has discovered Coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a bacterium reacting to the 5G radiation not a virus and that it can be treated with antibiotics. The message claims this was discovered when Italy’s Ministry of Health violated the World Health Organization’s law against autopsies on COVID-19 victims.

This bacterium is said to cause thrombosis i.e. blood clots in the veins and nerves which leads to death.

“Doctors in Italy have violated World Health Organization (WHO) law, which does not authorize autopsies (postmortem) on the bodies of people who have died from the coronavirus in order to find out after some kind of scientific discovery.  It cannot be assumed that it is not a virus, but a bacterium that causes death, which causes blood clots to form in the veins, i.e. blood clots in the veins and nerves due to this bacterium and this is the patient cause of death.”

Excerpt of the Viral message.

Screenshot of viral WhatsApp message.


Dubawa conducted a keyword search on this claim which led to some fact checks done in 2020 by politifact, poynter etc. Dubawa also studied different documents on COVID-19 by WHO.

Claim 1: “COVID-19 a bacteria  not a virus”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 is a virus that has an ecological origin in bats populations. 

Italy’s ministry of health also identified COVID-19 as a virus. 

Screenshot of Italy’s FAQs

Claim 2: They violated WHO law against autopsy

The claim  that Italy violated the WHO law against autopsy is false as there is no instruction or law by the WHO against autopsy on COVID-19 victims.

Contrary to this, the WHO released a guideline for conducting an autopsy.

Screenshot of WHO’s guideline for autopsy.

Claim 3: Covid-19 causes thrombosis

Thrombosis occurs when a thrombus, or blood clot, develops in a blood vessel and reduces the flow of blood through the vessel. The development of a thrombus is what is described as thrombosis.

Studies have shown that thrombosis can occur in COVID-19 patients of different age groups. A study titled “Incidence on thrombotic complications in critically ill ICU patients with COVID-19” shows that 31% incidence of thrombotic complications in ICU patients with COVID-19 infections is high. Another study on “Thrombotic Neurovascular disease in COVID-19” patients also suggests this. 

Claim 4: COVID-19 can be treated with antibiotics

Since COVID-19 has been identified as a virus not a bacterium, antibiotics can not be used to  treat it. This is supported by WHO which noted that the only reason you might receive antibiotics during a COVID-19 treatment is if  there is a bacterial co-infection.

Screenshot of WHO document on COVID-19 and antibiotics.

Claim 5: COVID-19 is a bacteria reacting to the 5G radiation

COVID-19 has no link with the 5G radiation as the WHO organisation has clearly stated that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted via waves/mobile networks and the virus has spread to countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

Screenshot of WHO document on 5G and COVID-19.


Claims in the viral WhatsApp message are false and misleading as none of the claims could be linked to Italy’s Ministry of Health. C0VID-19 has also been identified as a virus and there is no WHO law or guideline against autopsy. There is also no link between 5G and COVID-19, neither does antibiotics cure COVID-19.

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