It has been well over a year since the COVID-19 virus hit the world and health experts, doctors and scientists are still trying hard to figure out a way to put an end to this pandemic. Even with the vaccines' phased rollout, coronavirus cases continue to rise, especially in India, where new cases are spiking once again. Amidst all this, there's panic as people still haven't fully understood the virus' complexity.
Face masks, social distancing, personal hygiene are all mandatory precautions recommended by WHO and health experts globally. But there have been reports since the pandemic broke last year about farts could be spreading coronavirus across the globe. What makes this claim believable is that it came from doctors and it has been debated since.
There might be social media chatter about farts spreading COVID-19 virus globally, but the claim has been around since last year. In April 2020, a British tabloid had shared an article on "Coronavirus 'could be spreading across the globe through farts' claim doctors," which triggered a debate on the internet. In the story, it was one Australian doctor Andy Tagg who was cited for the claim.
In a series of tweets, Tagg had said farts have the power to spray talc long distances and a particle of talcum powder is 5 times bigger than a 5-micron aerosol droplet. Dr. Tagg gave some references of how farts can spread bacteria, but with one's pants on - the chances are next to zero. That said, Tagg also noted that there is no great deal of research to come to a firm conclusion in the matter of farts spreading coronavirus. Tagg, who is the co-founder of the medical education site Don't Forget the Bubbles, suggests not to completely disregard the possibility of coronavirus spreading through a fart.
Social media quickly jumped to conclusions based on what was presented and as information passed on, the facts got blurry. Finally, it reached a point where netizens flat-out concluded that COVID-19 could be spreading through farts.
International Business Times reviewed the claims made on social media based on the articles shared on the topic. But there is no evidence to support this claim about farts spreading coronavirus. Doctors and health experts have dismissed the claim saying it is "highly unlikely" and not theoretically possible.
The fact that the alarming claim went viral based on just a headline goes on to prove why netizens mustn't panic before reading the whole article. The British tabloid even issued a clarification in the article saying "while a doctor believes the virus could be spread through faeces in farts - it's not been proven. And another expert claims it's 'high unlikely'."
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and infectious diseases professor at Vanderbilt University, Dr William Schaffner had said the transmission of coronavirus through passing of gas has "never been demonstrated" and it's "very unlikely," reported USA Today.
CDC has also not reported any evidence of COVID-19 spreading by sewage. Moreover, experts pointed out that pants act as a filter, so even if there was any possibility, one needn't worry. WHO even puts the risk of contamination from feces as low.