Are helicopters being used to spray disinfectants into the air to eradicate the coronavirus? No, that's not true: This is a false rumor spreading around the world on social media, as well as through popular messaging services. The hoax has prompted authorities in several countries to issue denials.
Tonight from 11:40 pm nobody should be on the street. Doors and windows should remain closed as 5 helicopters spray disinfectants into the air to eradicate the coranavirus. Please process this information to all of your contacts
Users on social media only saw this:
The posts have been copied and pasted countless times, and many of them featured the same misspelling of coronavirus (spelled in the posts as coranavirus).
Here is just a sampling of countries and territories in which the posts and text messages have appeared (and the links to official denials in the country's media or on official government websites): Switzerland, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Nepal, and Puerto Rico.
A spokesperson for the Department of State of Puerto Rico denied the authenticity of a WhatsApp message that has been widely divulged among residents. According to the message, whose origin has not been confirmed, the government had scheduled a mass disinfecting spree tonight by aerial means in order to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) "Tonight as of 11:00 p.m.
It took a few days, but the false rumor has made its way to the United States, prompting the New York City Emergency Management to issue a tweet:
NYC is aware of a rumor circulating regarding the spraying of disinfectant from helicopters in parts of Brooklyn, including Williamsburg and Borough Park. This rumor is FALSE. Trust Notify NYC for verified information about COVID-19 in NYC.-- NYCEM - Notify NYC (@NotifyNYC) March 22, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the best way to prevent illness is to avoid close contact with others. The CDC also suggests cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.
Still, spraying disinfectants from helicopters would be a highly inefficient exercise and defies common sense. The claim is a hoax.
Concerns about the novel coronavirus pandemic have generated an onslaught of misinformation. Hoaxers are capitalizing on this moment of international concern to spread falsehoods and create unnecessary panic. This is just one of the latest false rumors to circulate online.
Other fact checks by Lead Stories concerning coronavirus misinformation include:
- Fact Check: Tanks NOT Arriving In San Diego, NO Martial Law
- Fact Check: Massachusetts State Police DO Warn Of Possible Scam Related To Coronavirus
- Fact Check: NOT A Photo Of Hundreds Of Coronavirus Dead In Italy
- Fact Check: Coronavirus Cases In U.S. NOT Linked To 5G Rollout
- Fact Check: Joe Biden Did NOT Test Positive For Coronavirus, As African Hoax Website Claims
- Fact Check: Homeland Security Is NOT Preparing To Mobilize The National Guard To Combat Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Italy Has NOT Mandated No Treatment Of All Elderly With Coronavirus
- Fact Check: A Banana A Day Does NOT Keep The Coronavirus Away
- Fact Check: 15 Minutes In Sauna Will NOT Kill The Coronavirus
- Fact Check: A Dog Vaccine Can NOT Be Used To Inoculate People Against Coronavirus
- Fact Check: The CDC Is NOT Warning People The Morel Mushroom Increases Coronavirus Risk By 200%
- Fact Check: Baby Formula NOT Necessarily Being Shipped For Free During Coronavirus Outbreak
- Fact Check: Train Was NOT Marked With "COVID-19" On Its Side
- Fact Check: NOT 10,000 Deaths In Virus Outbreak in Michigan, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi
- Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Recommend Men Shave Their Beards To Protect Against Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Florida Man NOT Arrested For Robbery Using Cough As A Weapon
- Fact Check: Lysol Products Can Kill Older Strains Of Coronavirus, But Tests Have NOT Scientifically Proven They Kill Novel Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Hair Weaves And Lace Front Wigs Made In China NOT Likely To Contain Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Scientists Did NOT Discover That Cocaine Kills Coronavirus
- Fact Check: NO Evidence Coronavirus Is Bioweapon Leaked From Wuhan Lab
- Fake News: Six Coronavirus Cases NOT Confirmed In Wichita, Kansas (Or Several Other U.S. Cities)
- Fake News: 20 Million Chinese Did NOT Convert To Islam, And It Was NOT Proven That Coronavirus Epidemic Did Not Afflict Muslims
- Fake News: NO Evidence To Support Claim From Bioweapons Expert Who Says Coronavirus Is Biological Warfare Weapon
- Fake News: Popping Bubble Wrap Does NOT Expose People To Coronavirus
- Fake News: Data From Windy.com Does NOT Show Massive Release Of Sulfur Dioxide Gas Near Wuhan
- Fake News: Latest Research Published By Chinese Scientists Did NOT Say Coronavirus Will Render Most Male Patients Infertile
- Fake News: NO Proof That High-Rise Buildings Have Become Human Incinerators To Combat Coronavirus
- Fake News: Residential Building NOT In Wuhan, NOT Set Ablaze To Control Coronavirus Spread