Social Media Claims on Black Fungus: Debunks and Fact-files by Ekta

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit India between April-May 2021has been more fatal and faced more complexities than the first wave. Even as the country was struggling to control daily infections and deaths, yet another deadly infection, Mucormycosis (black fungus) in patients treated for COVID-19, created a real scare among people.

Messages of caution, false claims and claims that haven’t been backed by science or medicine were all doing rounds on social media and adding to the scare. Amidst the panic, members of Ekta addressed the various claims and gathered as much evidence and expert voices to address the information gap around the infection. In this blogpost, we bring you debunks and fact-files by the consortium. 

  1. Fact-check reports debunking a morphed BBC article linking black fungus to cow urine. 

A morphed screenshot of a BBC article was used to claim scientists have found a link between the black fungus infection and cow urine consumption. Fact-checkers did not find any such report by the BBC and also pointed to BBC journalist Soutik Biswas’s tweet calling out the misinformation. 

This screenshot of a ‘BBC News’ article linking the Black Fungus infections to cow urine is a morphed one, by Factly 

Morphed BBC Article Used to Link Black Fungus Cases to Cow Urine, by WebQoof

No, BBC Did Not Link Black Fungus To Cow Urine; Viral Image Is Fake, by BOOM

  1. Debunks of viral claims that  'black fungus' causing mucormycosis is found on onions and on the insides of your refrigerator.

India Today’s fact-check team spoke to experts who confirmed that the fungus which forms a black mold inside a refrigerator and the one that forms a black layer over onions are totally different from the fungus that causes mucormycosis.

Fact Check: Fungi inside refrigerators and on onions are not the ones causing mucormycosis

  1. False messages and image claiming black fungus spreads through farm chicken

India Today’s fact-check team presented quotes from experts who said that there is no scientific evidence to prove that black fungus can be transmitted to human beings by consumption of chicken. Vishvas News also reached out to experts who confirmed that the infection does not spread via chicken or from  infected patients.

Fact Check: Don’t chicken out on poultry dishes over black fungus fears, by India Today Fact-check 

Fact Check: फार्म चिकन से ब्लैक फंगस फैलने का दावा झूठा, मॉर्फ्ड स्क्रीनशॉट किया जा रहा वायरल, by Vishvas News

  1. Explainers and fact-files on black fungus infection

In BOOM’s explainer video by Govindraj Ethiraj experts shed light on how secondary fungal infections like black fungus can be caused by excessive and prolonged use of steroids to treat COVID-19, which suppress natural immunity. Another explainer video points out that patients with uncontrolled diabetes are at a greater risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19 as well as mucormycosis.

COVID-19: Excessive Use Of Steroids Can Cause Black Fungus Infection

Explained: Why Patients With Uncontrolled Diabetes Can Contract Severe COVID-19

BOOM’s explainer article addressses questions around white fungus and black fungus. 

White Fungus Is Not Deadlier Than Black Fungus, Say Experts

Meedan’s Health Desk, a team of public health experts, provides scientific information on a range of claims and questions around the infection. 

What is mucormycosis and is it related to COVID-19?

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