Russia keeps lying about COVID-19 being harmless

12.06.2020 Off By Polyanska
Russia keeps lying about COVID-19 being harmless

There have been numerous narratives spread in social media by the Kremlin about COVID-19. These include conspiracy theories concerning the plans of big companies to implant chips among the public via the vaccine, cartoons and mock articles laughing about the global commotion caused by the virus because it is one big joke (the flu kills more people) and other similar statements that really have no basis or credible sources behind them.

Instead, pro-Kremlin journalists and those who share their views stick to what they know best and often cite some “comprehensive” expert from Russia or persons with ties to Russian institutions. These people spread certain narratives or comment on the false and immoral reports by the “lying” Western journalists and present this as a trustworthy and wise opinion that sheds light on the attempts of the West to sabotage the caring and concerned Kremlin. In March, on of such people was Professor at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (RAMS) and Head of the Moscow Scientific Association of Therapists Pavel Vorobyov (Павел Воробьев) who stated that COVID-19 is basically used to deceive people.

There are plenty of these wisemen, but the public is also to blame for this – I don’t mean exclusively Russian-speakers who blindly believe these fake experts and help in spreading such information, thus creating a chain of information that affects the mood of the public and can ultimately pose real threats to the physical and mental health of citizens.

According to euvsdisinfo.eu, almost a quarter of Russians (23.2%) believe that COVID-19 was made up by some “interested parties”. In addition, 9% of Russians think that the dangers of the pandemic are exaggerated. And they have a reason to believe this: the Kremlin’s lie agency Sputnik reported that thanks to the “Soviet miracle” (Cоветское чудо), i.e. the BCG vaccine (used against tuberculosis) former Soviet Union countries have twice as less deaths than in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy. Head doctor at the Moscow Zhadkevich Clinical Hospital and representative of the Information Center for Monitoring the Coronavirus Aleksandr Myasnikov(Александр Мясников) is certain that this Soviet miracle is the real cure, and people who have received this vaccine have nothing to worry about.

Certainly, we cannot deny that BCG boosts the immune response to other viruses affecting the lungs and the respiratory system, but currently there is no evidence that the said vaccine would reduce the risk of falling ill with COVID-19. This is also the opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO) which confirmed that scientists are currently engaged in extensive research to look for any possible cure for the virus, and that there is no clinical proof that the BCG vaccine would protect people against the coronavirus. The WHO also does not recommend getting any unnecessary vaccines during the pandemic because it may increase the risk of falling ill with COVID-19.

Moreover, according to data by the BCG World Atlas the BCG vaccine was mandatory for everyone in France until 2007 and in the UK until 2005. This means that those who have not received the vaccine are currently between the ages of 13 and 15. Since children don’t become as sick as adults when infected with COVID-19, the statements by the aforementioned doctor regarding the magic properties of the Soviet miracle cure are more than questionable. What concerns Belgium and Italy, mandatory vaccination is recommended and provided for people in risk groups. This is where the magic disappears, and the explanation for the discrepancies in the death toll among different countries – 14% in Italy and the UK, 15% in France, 16% in Belgium and up to 4.23% in former Soviet nations – lies somewhere else.

To strengthen the Kremlin’s narratives, Myasnikovconvincingly expressed the opinion that the virus becomes weaker after each case and therefore is no longer dangerous.

It is possible Aleksandr Myasnikov lied to you: “When a new virus is transmitted from an animal to a human, it is aggressive, unknown and kills people. But after each infection it becomes weaker – you inhale a certain virus, but you exhale its grandson which is ten times weaker. The virus then transmits to another person and this too weakens it. The larger the number of people infected with the coronavirus, the weaker it becomes and is no longer capable of infecting others. Therefore, the second wave of the virus will not be as severe as the first.”

We know that viruses tend to mutate, it is a part of their lifecycle – to reproduce and adapt. But this doesn’t always mean that the virus becomes weaker. Indeed, in some cases mutations can cause the virus to weaken, but mostly these changes are so minuscule that they do not significantly affect the rate of transmission or the death toll. Mark Schleiss, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and investigator with the Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Minnesota, explained that SARS-CoV-2 is no exception and that the virus has indeed mutated in the recent months. But this has happened very slowly and the new versions of the virus are not that different from the original virus.

This means people must remain careful and continue caring for their health. The implemented safety measures have to be followed, and we shouldn’t trust the statements by some mad doctor that everything is fine, that the virus has mutated and become much weaker and that the BCG vaccine is the answer to all question.

Baiba Zile specifically for the International Center for Countering Russian Propaganda