CoronaMyths: June 19-26

Karine Ghazaryan

Journalist, semiotician-to-be

Although the main topic of the past week was the developments around the Constitutional Court, the press and social networks continued to spread Coronamyths about masks, Pashinyan’s canceled visit and the registering of false causes of death at morgues.

The “broken telephone” rang again

During a public poll conducted by Kentron TV on June 20, one of the citizens stated, “One of our acquaintances died the other day, they said, ‘Let’s write, that you are sick with the coronavirus.'”

According to the citizen, the incident took place in the South-Western district of Yerevan (known as Bangladesh) and the death had nothing to do with the coronavirus. The citizen did not provide more detailed information on the air.

❌ This is not the first time that news is spread about the relatives of the deceased having been offered to write the coronavirus as a cause of death.

❌ In all of the cases, those who spread the news could not provide detailed information about the incident. The “broken telephone” effect was at play.

This part of the “Kentron” report was spread on Facebook, whether it is necessary to follow in the footsteps of the citizen’s statement or “allow” to spread false information with a question.

The Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan responded to the discussion, noting that they will find out the identity of the citizen and will get an explanation.

Why didn’t Pashinyan go to Moscow?

On June 19, it became known that Nikol Pashinyan had canceled his visit to Moscow. Hraparak newspaper wrote that Pashinyan’s visit was canceled due to the demands of the Russian side.

According to the newspaper, Russia “had doubts about his infection and his speedy recovery.” The newspaper referred to its sources and did not bring any other evidence.

168.am also referred to the cancellation of the visit and listed several versions. No agreement was reached on the Pashinyan-Putin meeting, the Russian side demanded that Pashinyan take a test, and the Russian side canceled the visit.

The newspaper did not provide any evidence for any of these hypotheses. Instead, he spoke with an expert from the Russian Defense Ministry, who complained that the Russian business in Armenia was under pressure, and Pashinyan did not allow Russian specialists to visit the “Pentagon-funded biolaboratories in Armenia.”

The Russian expert’s remarks refer to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which is often targeted by Russian propaganda. These propaganda theses have been refuted many times.

Azerbaijan has not funded the coronavirus epidemic in Armenia

On June 22, Livenews.am website published Doctors’ Marina Khachatryan and Ruben Hovhannisyan’s “State Betrayal: Is Azerbaijan Paying Pashinyan for Death?”

Many of the claims made by doctors during the one-hour conversation were false or manipulative.

❌ The Coronavirus does not contain “elements of AIDS.” The similarities between the two viruses cannot be the basis to suggest that the diseases branching from them are similar.

❌ Wearing a mask does not harm your health.

❌ Azerbaijan has not financed the coronavirus epidemic in Armenia.

Marina Khachatryan has been spreading the claim that Azerbaijan is “financing” deaths in Armenia for the past few days. She says Azerbaijan paid $10 million to the World Health Organization and “ordered these Armenian deaths.”

Each member state of the WTO pays an annual fee, the amount of which depends on the population of the country and the economic situation. Armenia also pays money to the organization every year. Azerbaijan’s last payment was about $574,000, Armenia’s $57,000.

The urges not to wear a mask

Marina Khachatryan and Ruben Hovhannisyan were not the only doctors who spread false rumors about the Covid-19 virus.

Urologist Gevorg Grigoryan, who recently came to the attention of the international press due to the creation of a website spreading false news about the coronavirus with US funding, also made manipulative allegations.

Grigoryan posted a series of Facebook live videos accusing the government of “bringing” the coronavirus to Armenia.

In another video message, Grigoryan urged viewers not to wear a mask in the open air.

Anna Kostanyan, a member of the “Bright Armenia” faction of the National Assembly, wrote on Facebook about the need to stop wearing the mask while walking alone in the open air.

Ordinary medical masks, however, are safe and do not harm health.

❌ Masks do not cause oxygen starvation.

❌ Masks do not cause the possibility of breathing carbon dioxide in dangerous doses.

Only N-95 masks can increase the level of carbon dioxide in the blood for a long time. However, this problem can be solved by simply removing the mask. Therefore, if a person does not have any contraindications to wearing a mask, there is no reason to believe that masks can cause health problems.

Karine Ghazaryan

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