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March 06, 2020

Etsy removes coronavirus products claiming to protect against the illness

Health News Coronavirus
Etsy Coronavirus listings Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins/CDC

Etsy, an online marketplace known for its handmade and vintage items, has removed thousands of coronavirus-themed listings from its site. Many of these items claimed to protect against COVID-19. There is currently no approved treatment or vaccine for the virus. Above, a graphic of the coronavirus created by the CDC.

Etsy is taking efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus misinformation, which has spread rapidly on the online marketplace in recent weeks.  

Etsy removed thousands of coronavirus-related items that included unverified claims in the post, according to BuzzfeedThe marketplace, best known for its handmade and vintage items, targeted listings that contained coronavirus keywords in the post or tags. 

Additionally, hundreds of items making light of the outbreak were removed, including t-shirts that reportedly read "I Survived Coronavirus 2020" and "Straight Outta Wuhan." But it wasn't the comedic items that Etsy was most concerned about — it was the listings that posted unverified claims about COVID-19.

“In order to keep our marketplace safe, our team is prioritizing taking down any listings that claim to protect against coronavirus," an Etsy spokesperson said to Buzzfeed. "In the past few days alone, we have removed thousands of items that make such medical claims. We have also taken down hundreds of items that attempt to exploit the developing coronavirus situation. Our teams continue to automatically and manually review and remove items that violate our policies."

There is currently no medication or vaccine that has been approved to treat the virus.

Still, certain homeopathic "remedies" or alternative "treatments" have been posted on social media, but these claims are not supported by scientific evidence. 

Some of these claims include eating garlic, sesame oil and regularly using a saline nose rinse, according to the World Health OrganizationThe National Institutes of Health noted there is no evidence that any alternative remedies can prevent or cure the virus. 

The disease's mortality rate increased from 2% to 3.4%, WHO announced earlier this week. More than 101,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide and more than 3,400 people have died from the illness. 

The United States had 164 cases, including 11 deaths, in 19 states through Thursday afternoon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Pennsylvania announced its first two cases on Friday, including one in Delaware County. New Jersey announced a third – in Camden County

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