This image does not show the throat of a person infected with COVID-19

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A photograph showing a person’s throat with white spots is going around, claiming that it is the image of the throat of a COVID-19 positive patient.

It has been circulated with captions in many different languages, all stating the same thing. Some warn people to stay in and the others request people to do their best to keep themselves and others safe.




Translation: An exclusive picture of a patient’s throat infected with #corona, showing the extent of inflammation that affects the throat and entrance to the lungs and is caused by the virus in the first days of infection.


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Translation: This is a picture inside the throat of a patient infected with coronavirus. The patient’s airways become almost blocked, resulting in severe respiratory distress. At the same time the lungs begin to lose function. One patient said that a person with corona has the same feeling as a person who cannot breathe underwater.
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After performing a reverse image search, the results showed many posts carrying the coronavirus false context. Only one usage of this image led to the original post by a user called I_am_trendy to a Reddit forum, AskMedical where users can post medical queries to get answers from the user community.

Is this normal looking strep throat? Lots of white spots on tonsils and even on the back of my throat. from AskMedical


The user posted the image one year ago, and commented shortly after that they were diagnosed with MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). MRSA is contagious bacterial infection, which is resistant to most antibiotics.

The first recorded case of coronavirus was in November 2019 in Wuhan, long after this image was posted.

Throat ache and discomfort are symptoms of the novel coronavirus but the infection in this image is bacterial in nature, not viral.

This image is old and has been circulated with false context, and is therefore fake.




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Aishwarya Varma

Avid reader, decent baker. Lifelong student. Better with animals than people.