According to a survey by Ipsos, a shockingly high number of Indians believe myths surrounding the coronavirus. Out of nine myths presented to respondents, Indians were the most likely to believe six of them, among them twisted statements like “Eating garlic prevents COVID-19” and “5G mobile technology spreads COVID-19”. India has experienced surges of fake news circulating on social media and in Whats App groups on major news topics ranging from elections to minority politics and the COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception to the rule.
Indians were also the most likely out of 16 countries surveyed to say that COVID-19 could spread through parcels from affected countries (54 percent believing this false statement), that hydroxychloroquine was a “cure” for coronavirus (37 percent exaggerating the role of this mere treatment), that exposure to the sun could prevent COVID-19 (35 percent agreeing with this unproven claim) and that a positive antibody test/exposure to COVID-19 meant that a person could not get infected a second time (around 28 percent in India and in Germany believing this).
Indians were the second most likely to believe pets could transmit COVID-19 after China and that children could not get COVID-19 behind Mexico.
On the topic of how long COVID-19 could survive on surfaces, Indians were quite knowledgeable. A low 26 percent of Indians agreed with the false statement that it was up to three days. Only respondents in Italy, Germany and South Korea were more successful in spotting this myth.