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Fact check: COVID-19 is not a hoax, it can cause pneumonia and the vaccine will not contain a microchip

A Facebook video filmed live on Dec. 1 and viewed over 6,000 times shows the speaker alleging that the coronavirus pandemic is a scam, that pneumonia is not linked to COVID-19 and that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus will deliver a microchip to the recipient. These statements are false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The video (here) is over an hour long and includes a mixture of claims, anecdotes and opinions. This article addresses some of the primary claims, but others made by the speaker are outside the scope of this check.

Claim one: COVID-19 is a scam

The man repeatedly tells viewers that the coronavirus pandemic is not real. He says: “this is a scam, everybody’s being scammed” (12:10) and “This is all wrong. I know I keep going over old ground, but it needs to be said. This is a hoax; this is a scam” (15:22).

Reuters Fact Check has repeatedly debunked false claims that COVID-19 is a hoax. More than 63 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 1 million deaths have been reported to the World Health Organisation as of Dec. 2 (covid19.who.int/).

Claim two: pneumonia not linked to COVID-19

The speaker says: “Somebody said to me the other day my uncle has covid pneumonia. Straight away she’s labelled that. I mean, I’m very sorry to hear that her uncle is in hospital with pneumonia, but it isn’t covid pneumonia. I said to her, if your uncle broke his leg would you call it covid broken leg?” (skip to 17:48).

This is not an accurate statement. COVID-19 can cause pneumonia; it cannot cause a broken leg.

The NHS website defines pneumonia as “swelling (inflammation) of the tissue in one or both lungs. It's usually caused by a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by a virus, such as coronavirus (COVID-19)” (here).

John Hopkins University, based in the north-eastern U.S. state of Maryland, explains: “COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, can cause lung complications such as pneumonia.

“In pneumonia, the lungs become filled with fluid and inflamed, leading to breathing difficulties. For some people, breathing problems can become severe enough to require treatment at the hospital with oxygen or even a ventilator” (here)

Claim three: the coronavirus vaccine will include a microchip

Discussing the vaccine for COVID-19, the man tells the camera: “It’s like a chip basically to control us and that’s round the corner, that’s what’s going to be in the vaccine, they’re going to chip us” (19:15).

There is no evidence to support this claim. Vaccines are the most effective way to way prevent infectious diseases (here), they are not used to control people via microchip.

There are many different COVID-19 vaccines in final stage trials across the world, including those produced by AstraZeneca and Pfizer (here). None mention the inclusion of microchips.

Reuters has debunked similar false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine here, here and here .

Claim four: Scientists have not isolated the novel coronavirus

At the end of the video, the speaker adds that: “People are scared on this virus that don’t even exist. People keep saying it’s been isolated through freedom of information requests. No, it’s not, no one has proven that this exists” (54:52).

This claim is false: The SARS-CoV2-2 virus has been identified and studied by scientists globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 (here ). The virus was identified by Chinese authorities on Jan. 7, 2020 (here). It has since been studied by numerous researchers globally, just some of which are referred to here .

Reuters has addressed this false claim previously here .

VERDICT

False. The virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified and the pandemic is real. The disease can cause pneumonia. There is no evidence a vaccine against the virus will contain a microchip.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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