Tuesday, December 6, 2022
HomeHealthAmitabh Bachchan tweets, then deletes fake information on COVID-19

Amitabh Bachchan tweets, then deletes fake information on COVID-19

Amitabh Bachchan said viruses are potent during the new moon, and making noise destroys them. The tweet was almost wholly factually incorrect.

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Bengaluru: Bollywood mega star Amitabh Bachchan Monday tweeted scientific misinformation about the purported effects of the new moon on bacteria and viruses. He then deleted the tweet.

Bachchan’s full tweet read: “T 3479 – AN OPINION GIVEN : 5 pm ; 22nd Mar, ‘amavasya’, darkest day of month ;virus, bacteria evil force at max potential & power ! Clapping shankh vibrations reduce/ destroy virus potency. Moon passing to new ‘nakshatra’ Revati. cumulative vibration betters blood circulation”.

The tweet was almost entirely factually incorrect.

Also read: Coronavirus is travelling to countries and so is misinformation around it. It’s an infodemic

Microbes are good nor evil, aren’t affected by moonlight

Bachchan’s first assertion, that ‘amavasya’ was on 22 March, the day Indian citizens clapped during the ‘janata curfew’ called by PM Narendra Modi, is false. The new moon day this month is Tuesday, 24 March.

Bachchan stated that virus and bacteria are an evil force at their maximum potential and power during a new moon. Further, clapping or vibrations from a shankh (conch shell) reduce or destroy the virus’s potency. This is also incorrect in its entirety.

Bacteria and viruses do not have agency, and only colonise where they can. Bacteria are the largest pumpers of oxygen into the atmosphere, and the provider of a healthy microbiome for the human body, but also spread diseases. Microbes are neither good nor evil.

Repeatedly cited studies of microbes being affected by eclipses have been debunked repeatedly all over the world, but crop up repeatedly, especially among the Indian public’s consciousness.

The microbes’ power to infect is not affected by the presence of moonlight. The ongoing pandemic COVID-19, for example, is being spread because the SARS-CoV-2 spreads through respiratory droplets, irrespective of the phase of the moon. Even indoor quarantine can sometimes spread the virus among occupants of a house.

There is also no scientific basis to suggest that clapping or blowing a conch or any vibrations are good at destroying the virus. People around the world are clapping and banging vessels in quarantine to denote a variety of things, from supporting healthcare workers to protesting government response to the epidemic.

Bachchan’s tweet also said “cumulative vibration betters blood circulation”. He seemed to imply that the neighbourhood banging and clapping improve our blood circulation, but this is also incorrect. While mechanical and muscle vibrations do indeed improve blood flow — a key mechanism used in physiotherapy — the clapping and banging of vessels is more likely to cause deafness than induce any effect in blood circulation.

Also read: Google is scrubbing coronavirus misinformation on search and YouTube

Twitter’s new policy

In the wake of several key figures followed by millions of people tweeting scientific misinformation, Twitter has announced that it will take extra steps to remove coronavirus-related misinformation from its network.

The new policy bans tweets that “deny expert guidance, encourage fake or ineffective treatments, preventions and diagnostic techniques, and misleading content purporting to be from experts or authorities.”

But the platform will take into consideration further context like history and relevance of the account before enforcing that users remove tweets.

Also read: On his ‘death bed’, Amar Singh seeks forgiveness from Amitabh Bachchan and family


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