Coronavirus outbreak: 65 scientists join hands to fight rumours

Updated: Apr 08, 2020, 07:18 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

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The ISRC's myth-busting slides
The ISRC's myth-busting slides

Clapping hands or lighting lamps can help stop the spread of Coronavirus', 'air-conditioners lead to faster spread, 'high temperature in India is a major deterrent for the spread of Coronavirus, 'the spread in India is lesser than in other countries' — statements like these have been spreading like wildfire ever since the outbreak of COVID-19. As such, 65 Indian scientists have banded together to bust rumours and clarify your Corona doubts.

The group uploaded its first lot of 18 digital slides that bust various rumours in 17 languages on their website and social media accounts. Each slide states a rumour as true or false, followed by a scientific explanation. The group also comprises graphic designers and translators under the umbrella of Indian Scientists' Response to COViD-19 (ISRC).

The scientists have begun working on the next lot wherein they will deal with misconceptions about the virus and how it spreads, what makes one vulnerable to the infection, and precautions to be taken. It will be released next Saturday.

Aniket Sule, astrophysicist and science educator at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, who worked on coordinating the translations, said that volunteers came forward from across the country. Academics from outside India also contributed. "We had a talented team of scientists, including astronomers from IUCAA and IIT Bombay who worked to automate the generation of images in all languages. We had to ensure that the translated texts are devoid of errors. Our team worked on more than 250 images in a very short time," Sule said.

The slides, designed in collaboration with the Association of Designers of India, are available for free download and sharing. The website also hosts detailed responses with additional references to scientific evidence and technical manuscripts. The scientists have requested every media platform and citizens to spread the word of reason, counter pseudoscientific proclamations and dispel superstitious beliefs.

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