A 13-point opinion piece on COVID-19 lockdown and prognosis in South Africa doing the rounds on WhatsApp this week and supposedly written by Prof Andrew Nicol, Head of Trauma at Groote Schuur Hospital, has been dismissed as fake by the Western Cape Health Department.
In a report on the statement released by the department on the Cape Talk radio station today, it was confirmed that the “supposed message by the Head of Trauma at Groote Schuur Hospital doing the rounds on WhatsApp is untrue”.
Prof Nicol has since confirmed that the message, claimed to have been prompted by “a few outcomes of the discussion on the pandemic with some doc friends of mine in the school group”, was not authored by him.
Acknowledging that this was the latest example of fake information attributed to health experts in a bid to give some sort of credibility to the message, the station also drew attention to a voice note on WhatsApp last month claiming to be from Prof Diana Hardie, head of the diagnostic virology laboratory at Groote Schuur.
“The top doctor denied that the voice note was from her or any other virologist at the hospital,” it noted.