A letter being distributed on WhatsApp attributed to Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery, in which he seemingly shares his thoughts on the novel coronavirus, was not written by him nor intended for his employees.
In fact, the “letter” is an article written by Dr Christoforos Anagnostopoulos, an honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College London. It was first published on his Facebook page.
When News24 contacted a former public relations officer at Discovery, the letter was debunked as being falsely attributed to Gore.
On LinkedIn, Gore wrote on Monday: “There is a note on the coronavirus – erroneously in my name – doing the rounds on social media. I would like to correctly attribute the article to its author, Dr Christoforos Anagnostopoulos.
The article was published on the website Ekathimerini on 13 March.
The article starts: “The next two months will be critical. We will remember them for the rest of our lives.”
’20 times worse that the flu’
It further states that the novel coronavirus is “at least 20 times worse than the flu”.
It claims the belief that “the flu kills more people every year” will soon be proven wrong. The related belief that “maybe most of us have caught it already and didn’t realise” it, is also unlikely to be proven right, it continues.
READ | Check before you send: Debunking the hoaxes and lies around the novel coronavirus
Hoaxes and false information about the novel coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, have been spreading almost as rapidly as the virus itself.
And to make things worse, people are readily sharing false information without first fact-checking.
News24 has been inundated with calls and messages from well-meaning members of the public who have “information” about government cover-ups and outbreaks of the coronavirus at local hospitals. None turned out to be true.
In addition, Dettol, bleach and garlic, among other things, were touted as “cures” for the novel coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2, since the outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night invoked sweeping emergency powers as he announced a range of extraordinary interventions by his government to try and curb the spread of the outbreak, News24 reported.
Declaring the outbreak of Covid-19 a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, he said South Africa has the “knowledge, means and resources” to defeat the virus.
“We must appreciate the extent of the threat that this disease presents, we must accept the anxiety that it causes, but we cannot allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by fear and panic,” he said.