The coronavirus lockdown has led to the masses migrating to TikTok shitposting. But while most videos are just generic, lip-synced versions of people jamming to “Bored in the House”, TikTok has quickly become a breeding ground for the ‘misinfodemic’. The misinformation being propagated is so much that even the World Health Organization (WHO) felt the need to download the app so they could keep tabs on the situation and bust myths. Now, in an ironic punchline of reality hitting hard, a TikTok user from the state of Madhya Pradesh in India who went viral for dismissing face masks, has tested positive for coronavirus.
The 25-year-old who became one of the first few people to test positive from Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district had uploaded a video soon after the COVID-19 outbreak began to spread in India. In the video, when asked to wear a face mask, he shrugged it off saying that instead of putting our trust in a piece of cloth, we should simply trust god. He tested positive for the novel virus last week, but is reportedly in a stable condition and can currently be seen in his videos wearing a face mask in his hospital bed.
However, while it's easy to point fingers at someone for their nonchalant callousness, it’s important to understand that this boy, like many others on the internet, is a warning sign of what happens when fake news and unverified information is allowed to run amok. While many are quick to call him out for dismissing face masks, it’s equally noteworthy that even the WHO’s stance on face masks has been largely unclear. In fact, many health experts still believe that face masks didn’t help anyone who didn’t already have symptoms and advised that people avoid using them so that stocks don’t run short for medical workers. So this uneasy incident shouldn’t just be seen as a warning sign for flouting pandemic advisories, but also the scary effects of what being misinformed can lead to.
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