People wearing face shields and masks amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic visit a popular shopping market hours before Christmas eve in Manila on December 24, 2020. (AFP / Str)

'Vitamins, sunlight and alkaline foods': false list of purported Covid-19 treatments recirculates online

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As the Philippines struggled to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases, a list of purported home remedies to treat the disease recirculated on social media. The posts claimed the purported treatments were endorsed by a director at a Manila hospital. This is false. In 2020, health experts told AFP the purported coronavirus remedies were not cures for Covid-19. The Manila hospital cited in the recent social media posts said the list was not issued by any of its doctors.

The photo was shared in a Facebook post published here on March 18, 2021. 

It purports to show a list of home treatments recommended “from inside isolation hospitals” that can treat Covid-19. These include drinking vitamins, exposure to sunlight and consuming alkaline foods. 

“(My) mother and I follow everything (in this list) except taking Vitamin E. I’ll buy some so that we can complete [the list],” the Tagalog-language caption reads.

The text superimposed on the image claims the list is “FROM A DIRECTOR AT ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL”.

Screenshot of false post taken on April 10, 2021

The photo surfaced on social media as the Philippines struggled with surging Covid-19 cases, with hospitals in several regions at full capacity. 

Similar claims were shared here, here, here and here as early as August 2020.

The claims are false. 

In this June 2020 report, health experts explained that sunlight exposure, taking vitamins, getting seven to eight hours of sleep and drinking litres of water are “generic recommendations for overall health.” They added these practices “do not kill the (novel) coronavirus”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends precautions such as social distancing, wearing a mask and regular handwashing to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Dexamethasone, a commonly used steroid, is currently the only treatment it recommends for patients with severe or critical Covid-19 disease as of April 12, 2021, according to the WHO.

Another AFP article published in April 2020 quoted health experts as saying that while eating a healthy, balanced diet was important for general health, there is no evidence that consuming alkaline foods, such as fruit, can prevent or cure Covid-19. 

The superimposed text claims the purported list came from “St.Luke’s Hospital”. This is also untrue, according to the hospital.

St. Luke’s Medical Center, a private hospital located in the Philippine capital Manila, posted on Facebook urging the public “to be cautious of circulating posts on social media about treatments for COVID-19 purportedly advised by SLMC doctors”. 

The hospital shared a copy of the list on their official Facebook page, labelling it false. It added that the medical center “continued to provide treatments” in line with standards set by the Philippine’s health department and the World Health Organization. 

Screenshot of St. Luke’s Medical Center’s public advisory taken on April 10, 2021