Can a medicinal tea ‘help with’ COVID-19?

CLAIM: Online articles continue to circulate with claims of the curing properties of tea. Basile ‘G-Star’ Sery told a newspaper reporter that “Coronavirus is mucus blocking the oxygen supply and [his] tea can flush out the mucus” and “help with coronavirus”.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. There is no evidence of tea curing or alleviating the symptoms of COVID-19. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, there are no medicines that have yet been shown to prevent or cure COVID-19.  Continue reading Can a medicinal tea ‘help with’ COVID-19?

Can you generate a positive result for COVID-19 from an RT-PCR test?

CLAIMS:

    1. A high number of amplification cycles used in an RT-PCR test will lead to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19
    2. Kary Mullis, inventor of the PCR technique, said that the RT-PCR “can not be used to diagnose infectious diseases at all”
    3. Kary Mullis was opposed to RT-PCR testing being used to test for COVID-19 before his death

CONCLUSION: All of these claims are INACCURATE. Continue reading Can you generate a positive result for COVID-19 from an RT-PCR test?

Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

CLAIM: About 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast are HMOs. 

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. FactCheckNI has estimated that 45% of properties in the Holylands are licensed as HMOs, and Belfast City Council report a figure of 40% for the larger Botanic, Holylands and Rugby policy area. Continue reading Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?

CLAIM: At a Northern Ireland Policing Board meeting, the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said that there was 90% compliance with people wearing face coverings in retail settings.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. Constable Alan Todd has clarified that this figure was an estimate.

Continue reading Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?

What’s the accuracy of claims regarding COVID-19 featured in a leaflet distributed in parts of Lagan Valley constituency?

CLAIMS: 

    1. Covid-19 was downgraded from high-consequence infectious disease (HCID) status by the UK government on 19th March, 2020.
    2. Death rates are no higher this year than in a bad flu season.
    3. Covid-19 is being put on death certificates fraudulently, without a test having been carried out and when the patient died of something else.

CONCLUSION: A mixture of ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION, UNSUBSTANTIATED, and INACCURATE claims that use non-specific phrases, missing context, and words that provoke an emotional reaction to the claims rather than a rational, evidence-based one. Continue reading What’s the accuracy of claims regarding COVID-19 featured in a leaflet distributed in parts of Lagan Valley constituency?

Does the tech sector employ 26% of the workforce in Belfast?

CLAIM: In Belfast, the digital sector employs 26 per cent of the workforce.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The newspaper article misinterprets the Tech Nation “Jobs and Skills Report 2020”, which states that for Belfast, from June to August 2020, 26% of job adverts at the online search site Adzuna were in the category of IT and engineering jobs. Using the most recent figures available from NISRA, we estimate that 8% of the workforce in Belfast is employed in jobs that fall into this category.

UPDATE: The Times corrected its article, in response to our request. Its updated article states that in Belfast, the tech sector makes up 26 per cent of vacancies, not overall employment.

Continue reading Does the tech sector employ 26% of the workforce in Belfast?