New York (CNN Business)CVS mistakenly sent false information to its staff about how to combat the coronavirus, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to CNN Business on Tuesday.
The email, sent Monday by CVS Chief Medical Officer Troy Brennan, falsely suggested that the virus could be killed by drinking warm water.
Details of the email were first reported by Mother Jones.
“Drinking warm water is an effective way to wash the virus into your stomach, where it is killed. Stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep,” the email falsely stated.
Dr. Robert Legare Atmar, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN that there is no evidence that this approach works.
“Even if it worked at all, which it doesn’t, people still breathe in from their nose, not just their mouths,” Atmar said. “This would still only protect the mouth and not the nose.”
The false claim has been circulating widely online and through text messages over the past week as part of a viral “simple self-check test,” which medical experts say is completely inaccurate.
A spokesperson for CVS did not say how the false information ended up in a CVS staff email or if it came from the viral online post. “How it happened is being addressed internally,” TJ Crawford, vice president for external affairs at CVS Health, said.
“We strive for accuracy in any communication. If a mistake is made we make a quick correction, as was the case here. At the risk of stating the obvious, employees should not rely on that suggestion,” Crawford added.
The viral post was falsely credited to a member of the “Stanford Hospital board.” Stanford Health Care spokeswoman Lisa Kim said the “dangerous” post is not affiliated with Stanford Medicine and “contains inaccurate information.”
Crawford said a new version of the CVS memo, with the correct information, has been posted on the company’s intranet, that team managers had been notified of the updated memo, and that a company-wide morning email also directed people to the updated memo.
CNN’s Alaa Elassar contributed reporting