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Holy Man Who Offered COVID Exorcisms Has Died

Coronavirus particle, illustration. Different strains of coronavirus are responsible for diseases such as the common cold, gastroenteritis and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). A new coronavirus (2019-CoV) emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The virus causes a mild respiratory illness that can develop into pneumonia and be fatal in some cases. The coronaviruses take their name from their crown (corona) of surface proteins, which are used to attach and penetrate their host cells. Once inside the cells, the particles use the cells' machinery to make more copies of the virus.

An Indian holy man who offered “COVID exorcisms” — which he performed by kissing people’s hands — has died of the contagion after first infecting at least 20 others, according to reports. Aslam Baba told followers in Ratlam that his “kiss-cure” would make all their ailments disappear — even the deadly new coronavirus that western medicine has thus far made little progress in fighting. The Baba — a common term for a wise elder — then tested positive for the bug on June 3rd and died the following day, the report says. Officials then tested at least 40 people who had been in contact with him. “Twenty of them, including seven of his family, have tested positive,” the health department’s Ruchika Chouhan told a local newspaper, stressing that other tests were still awaiting results. Officials also said they’ve found at least 29 other holy men offering similar so-called coronavirus cures, forcing them all into quarantine.

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