Can garlic, tomatoes, and mops save the world from coronavirus?

Getty Images, United States Department of Health and Human Services
Amid news of the coronavirus outbreak, Russian classified ad sites have started selling amulets and charms to ward off the illness. We’ve compiled a list of the most ridiculous and expensive.

1. Enchanted garlic

Enchanted garlic

This garlic is lovingly homegrown and personally charmed by a village healer. Although the garlic is a “pagan Slavic amulet to protect against unclean spirits,” it can be worn by anyone. It has its own directions for use: prick the unpeeled clove seven times with a thick needle, and then carry it everywhere with you. Also included is an “innovative” garlic case, reminiscent of a Kinder Surprise egg. The price is an affordable 300 rubles ($5) per clove.

2. Coronavirus mop 

Coronavirus mop

“Cleanliness is the key to health,” states the seller in their online ad for a mop that guards against the new infection (handle not included). For total protection against coronavirus, the seller recommends replacing your home mop on a regular basis. The magical device costs 500 rubles ($8).

3. Coronavirus garage light

Coronavirus garage light

The ominous appearance of this light is enough to frighten not only passers-by, but dangerous diseases too, including coronavirus, claims the seller. The protective charm is made of "budget" materials: iron reinforcement, metal sheeting, mesh, and barbed wire. Hence the low price of the miraculous item — 990 rubles ($15). 

4. Magic flower

Magic flower

Agafya, a self-styled sorceress from Bryansk (393 km from Moscow), made and charmed this amulet all by herself. According to Evgeny, who wrote the online ad, the flower wards off the evil eye and viruses. Such extensive functionality doesn’t come cheap — 50,000 rubles ($780). Note that the amulet works only on the territory of Russia. 

5. Syzran tomato in anti-coronavirus brine

Syzran tomato in anti-coronavirus brine (Seller removed the ad from the site)

“Our homemade tomatoes cure everything. Even coronavirus doesn’t stand a chance,” announces the proud seller.

Caveat emptor: there is no accompanying certificate to back up the claim (would you believe). On the first day of posting the ad, the anonymous seller says that several people called, but as yet no one has coughed up (in a non-coronavirus sense) the asking price of 600,000 rubles ($9,350). But what if it really works?

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