Osaka Governor Causes Panic Buying Over Covid-19 Prevention Claims

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Yesterday, Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura claimed that gargling with diluted povidone-iodine solution prevents patients with mild covid-19 symptoms from getting seriously ill. Experts do not agree.

According to the Governor, an Osaka study found that gargling four times a day with the solution resulted in reduced positive covid-19 tests in 41 patients to just 9.5% after four days. This study seems rather thin. But during the press conference, the Governor had an array of these gargle disinfectant products lined up for a photo opportunity.

These claims, which have not been corroborated, inevitably caused panic buying and the solutions to sell out at drugstores in Japan. As you can see below, popular gargle disinfection brands like Isojin have been cleared from shelves.

Jerks have been selling the gargle solution marked up online, with $US4.50 ($6) bottles going for three or four (or more!) times higher than their original prices.

However, as Bloomberg reports, the Japan Medical Association said there was not enough evidence to support Yoshimura’s claims.

“I understand that the governor must be very concerned about the sudden growth of cases in his region and is looking for some positive news,” said Association president Toshio Nakagawa. “I don’t intend to attack the claim as being inappropriate, but the position of our organisation is that we should keep calm and research it.”

In Japan, the WHO tweeted out an image stating claims that iodine gargle solution worked against covid-19 had no basis in science. The WHO also included a “#Mythbusters” tag.

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