Viral post overstates global COVID-19 death toll by over 1M


A viral post published in multiple Facebook accounts wrongly claims that the novel coronavirus disease has left 1.6 million people dead worldwide.

The later version like this June 22 post reads:

COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God

A similar version posted as early as June 2 in groups such as this one urges readers to spend five, instead of 10 seconds to thank God:

COVID has killed 1.6M people in the world and you are alive, just use 5s to Thank God

Data from the World Health Organization show the global death tally claimed in the post is wrong: There are 473,061 recorded COVID-19 deaths worldwide as of June 24. The number of confirmed cases is 8,993,659.

WHO has been tracking the pandemic in six regions--Africa, Americas, East Mediterranean, Europe, Southeast Asia and Western Pacific-- since it announced the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30. WHO declared a pandemic on March 11.

Based on the WHO Situation Report No. 155, the region with the most number of fatalities is the Americas, 224,207 deaths, followed by Europe, 193,794. The death toll in the Philippines is 1,186, according to the Department of Health.

As of June 24, the erroneous post has been published in at least 121 Facebook groups, both from the Philippines and elsewhere, with a combined following of 23.8 million, based on the social media monitoring tool Crowdtangle. It has generated 105,849 interactions, including 56,482 likes, 28,736 comments and 1,708 shares.

The post has appeared in several Facebook groups administered by Filipinos like 2 0's Official, BGY. EMMANUEL OPINION PAGE, Catholic prayers group, Laguna vs. Cavite Trashtalkan, Mobile Legends Philippines, Mga Nilandi pero di Jinowa, PINOY JOKES & HUGOT, PINOY OFW SA GITNANG SILANGAN, RAFFY TULFO IN ACTION ADMINS GROUP S MEMBER, Ranz Kyle Niana Guerrero and Natalia Guerrero, TAGALOG JOKES, LOGIC, KATATAWANAN & PALAISIPAN, and Wattpad Love Story (Readers & Writers).

It is also popular in religious community groups and pages such as Truly Blessed Daily, which was created on Jan. 24, 2017 and has 79,576 page likes and 87,035 followers. Truly Blessed Daily’s status update has gained 16,769 reactions, 2,400 comments, and 32,000 shares as of writing.

On May 31, several Facebook users were sharing a similarly worded post that placed the death toll at 400,000.

COVID has killed 400k people in the world and you are alive. don't forget to thank God

At the time, WHO reported 367,166 deaths globally. (NH)

References

2 0's Official. (2020, June 2). COVID has killed 1.6M people in the world and you are alive, just use 5s to Thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/441257213314034/permalink/715829032523516

BGY. EMMANUEL OPINION PAGE. (2020, June 24). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/248433759190344/permalink/578451369521913

Catholic prayers group. (2020, June 23). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/1677740712470220/permalink/2752906431620304

Department of Health. (2020, June 24). Updates on novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/2019-nCoV?page=1

Jaligue, F. [Freland Jaligue]. (2020, May 31). COVID has killed 400k people in the world and you are alive.don't forget to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/100027444544709/posts/574972580094222/

Mobile Legends Philippines. (2020, June 19). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/299479574324569/permalink/616546532617870

Mga Nilandi pero di Jinowa. (2020, June 12). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/637882316718560/permalink/867250043781785

Laguna vs. Cavite Trashtalkan. (2020, June 19). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/808112613014819/permalink/922469348245811

PINOY JOKES & HUGOT. (2020, June 2). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/2161986250505431/permalink/2933629356674446

PINOY OFW SA GITNANG SILANGAN. (2020, June 24). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/287825851682530/permalink/983798682085240

RAFFY TULFO IN ACTION ADMINS GROUP S MEMBER. (2020, June 24). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/2245051202219783/permalink/3223492771042283

Ranz Kyle Niana Guerrero and Natalia Guerrero. (2020, June 19). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/1159625164188590/permalink/1637815183036250/

TAGALOG JOKES, LOGIC, KATATAWANAN & PALAISIPAN. (2020, June 19). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/359311534671147/permalink/639471133321851

Truly Blessed Daily. (2020, June 22). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/trulyblesseddaily/posts/1233340733530633

Wattpad Love Story (Readers & Writers). (2020, June 20). COVID has killed 1.6 million people in the world and you are alive, just use 10 second to thank God [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/238726023593054/permalink/731935650938753

World Health Organization. (2020, June 24). WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Retrieved from https://covid19.who.int/

World Health Organization. (2020, May 31). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Situation Report - 132. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200531-covid-19-sitrep-132.pdf?sfvrsn=d9c2eaef_2

World Health Organization. (2020, June 23). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Situation Report - 155. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200623-covid-19-sitrep-155.pdf?sfvrsn=ca01ebe_2

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