With a second wave of COVID-19 sweeping through India, some, especially in rural areas, are resorting to the use of age-old customs, like cow dung and urine as disinfectants.
Even as the federal government led by the BJP is facing flak for not taking concrete steps to check the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, a video by an MP from the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly, Surendra Singh, has since emerged on Twitter, where he is seen advising to use cow urine to defeat the virus.
"If you drink 50 ml cow urine on an empty stomach in the morning and then have turmeric five or 10 times a day, corona will go away", he says in the video.
There are reports of some people smearing themselves with cow dung and urine in the hopes of fighting coronavirus. In the state of Gujarat, it's been reported that villagers are smearing themselves with cow urine then washing it off with buttermilk after it dries.
India is fighting a deadly second wave of COVID-19. Some 329,942 new infections and 3,876 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours.
Allopathic doctors remain sceptical of all such practices, warning of several other diseases that can spread from animals to humans.
"There is no scientific evidence available which confirm the benefits of consuming these things in any form. Rather there are risks involved in smearing or consuming these products, a number of other diseases can spread from the animals to humans", Dr Vijay Singhal, Senior Consultant, Dermatology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in New Delhi told Sputnik.
"The use of cow dung can cause a rash, skin infections, and if a person already has sensitive skin then it can bring bigger risks as well. We are living in unprecedented times and uncertainty is causing so much of stress but at the same time we should not lose our ability to differentiate between wrong and right", he emphasised.
The cow is sacred to Hindus in India and is believed to be the representative of divine and natural beneficence.
Dr Rajesh Dhir, former president of Indian Medical Association (Chandigarh Chapter) and a medical practitioner speaking to Sputnik said, "Cow dung has been used in India since ancient times as a natural disinfectant. Even today in villages floors are paved and smeared with cow dung, specially in the kitchens, to keep the place disinfected and free of insects. But there are no scientific studies to back the belief that it can cure coronavirus".
The increasing daily load of newly infected patients, crossing over 400,000 in the past week, has put overwhelming pressure on the healthcare infrastructure in the country. The Indian Medical Association, the largest association of doctors in the country has pleaded with the government to announce an immediate lockdown to check the alarming spread of infection.
Several people have taken to Twitter to share how some people in villages are resorting to the use of cow dung as a treatment for coronavirus.
A new phenomenon is sweeping thro India, there’s a belief that applying cow dung on your body is the cure to COVID-19.— Kenya West© (@KinyanBoy) May 11, 2021
In Hinduism, the cow is a sacred symbol of life and the earth, & for centuries Hindus have used cow dung believing it has therapeutic &antiseptic properties. pic.twitter.com/nF2zhV5bF5
Actually it would ward off COVID-19 because nobody would even want to be that close to you in order to catch it😷 pic.twitter.com/RFrwTu7YSu— DR CEM 🩺 (@thegreatdrcem) May 11, 2021
A white president can suggest injecting bleach. But you wouldn’t see such images. These are tribal indigenous traditions which have been going on for 1000 of years. Nobody is being harmed by these practices, yet the white western media thinks it has the right to mock it.— Overdosing on Secularism🧪 (@ODonSecularism) May 11, 2021
Similar to a white president, suggesting inject bleach??— TheGordyEffect (@TheGordyEffect) May 11, 2021