One thing that has spread faster than the coronavirus itself, is false information or myths around it. Whether they’re regarding the spread of the disease, preventing it, or even curing it, they range from ridiculous to outright harmful and have even led to racist attacks on Asians. Just as it’s important to keep yourself safe and healthy, it’s as important to debunk false information surrounding the virus.  

Also read: A Coronavirus travel advisory and guide of things you need to know

So, Let’s Take A Look At Some Of These Coronavirus Myths

Photo by Rodolpho Zanardo from Pexels

Myth: The virus comes from Corona beers

Fact: Nope. Even though they sound kind of similar, the beer has nothing to do with the virus (despite a spike in internet searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus.”).

Myth: Cold weather can kill the new coronavirus

Fact: 2019-nCoV has spread to countries with both hot and humid climates, as well as cold and dry ones. There is no reason to believe that warm or cool climates can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases, as normal human body temperature remains at a constant 36.5-37°C, regardless of the external temperature.

Myth: Heat can kill the virus

Fact: Heat from hot baths or hand dryers cannot kill the virus, according to the WHO. And, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can actually be harmful, as it can burn you. UV lamps also shouldn’t be used to sterilize the body because the radiation can irritate the skin. There is also little evidence that warm weather can slow down the virus. 

Myth: It can be transmitted through mosquito bites

Fact: The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus and it spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also infect people through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose, but not through blood and thus cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.

Myth: Your pets can also spread the COVID-19

Fact: While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. Currently, there is no evidence that house pets can spread the virus. There is, however, one confirmed case of a dog with the virus in China; so it is a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with your pets. BUT, if you’re already sick with COVID-19, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.

Myth: Drinking water every 15 minutes will wash away the virus

Fact: The claim that drinking water every 15 minutes will wash the coronavirus down through your throat and into the stomach where acid will kill all the virus is false and has been debunked multiple times. Similarly, gargling mouthwash or rinsing your nose with saline will also not kill the virus. However, drinking water and staying hydrated is important in other ways, as it helps with all bodily functions.

Myth: You must buy a mask to protect yourself

Fact: This has become of the most debated coronavirus myths. But, in general, the WHO advises that you to avoid unnecessary wastage; as masks are essential for healthcare providers. Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19 (see the WHO’s advice on the use of masks).

Myth: Packages from any area where COVID-19 has been reported will spread the virus

Fact: The new coronavirus can stay on surfaces anywhere between a few hours to several days. BUT, it is VERY UNLIKELY that the virus will remain on any packages after being moved, having travelled, and been exposed to different conditions and temperatures. If you still think a surface might be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it; and wash your hands after touching it. 

Myth: People are just panicking by cancelling plans and closing offices

Fact: Even if the personal risk of death is very low, cancelling travel plans or closing public areas like schools and workplaces are a good measure to slow the spread of this swift-moving disease which can quickly overburden national and global healthcare services. 

Myth: The coronavirus is man-made

Fact: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Coronaviruses have been around for a while and usually originate in animals. While experts are still trying to figure out the source, COVID-19 may have originated in bats like the SARS epidemic in 2003. 

Myth: Taking antibiotics will stop you from getting it

Fact: Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. As the new coronavirus is a virus, antibiotics (which work against only bacteria) should not be used for either prevention or treatment. However, those hospitalised my be given antibiotics to fight bacterial co-infection. 

Myth: Pneumonia vaccines will also protect you

Fact: Vaccines against pneumonia won’t provide protection against COVID-19 as the virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine but there is still no information on when this will be available. However, please remember that this can take months.  

Myth: Home remedies will prevent/cure the virus

Fact: There have been many misleading statements that traditional medicine and remedies like eating garlic and onion will keep the virus away or even cure you. While they do have some antimicrobial properties, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that they will protect people from COVID-19. Additionally, the assertion by Indian politician, Suman Haripriya, that cow dung and urine can cure coronavirus is also false.

Myth: Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body can kill the virus

Fact: Unfortunately no. Alcohol and chlorine can be used to disinfect surfaces, but they cannot kill viruses that have already entered your body (nor can drinking alcohol). This may also be harmful to clothes, skin, eyes, etc. And this should go without saying, but PLEASE DON’T INGEST BLEACH AND OTHER CHEMICAL DISINFECTANTS EITHER. 

Myth: You can test for COVID-19 by holding your breath

Fact: Some sources have claimed that holding your breath for 10 seconds. It says that if you complete it successfully without coughing, discomfort, stuffiness or tightness it proves there is no fibrosis in the lungs, basically indicating no infection. However, experts have said that this is NOT a reliable way to determine whether someone has the virus.

Myth: Only old people get sick, young people don’t have to worry

Fact: While most of the more serious cases and even deaths have been elderly or middle-aged people, who more vulnerable to such infections, people of all ages can get infected with the virus. The WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves.

Myth: If you’re young and healthy, you can go about your life as usual; even if you’ve tested positive/you’re showing symptoms for the new coronavirus

Fact: Those who are generally healthy, under the age of 65, and don’t have any preexisting conditions, it’s likely that you’ll only experience mild symptoms (very like seasonal flu). But, even if you don’t suffer, you’re more likely to pass it along to members of your community who are more at risk, so avoid crowds, and stay at home as much as possible (this includes working from home) to stop it spreading. Remember, you can spread it before you even know you have it; since the symptoms take many days or weeks to show up after you’ve been infected.

Myth: Everyone who gets it will die

Fact: The fatality rate of COVID-19 was first estimated to be around 2% in China, but this number is expected to fall. (While the WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, spoke of the rate being 3.4%, this figure was based on officially confirmed cases and did not take into account the more mild cases that did not get to the hospital.) 

Many people who get the new coronavirus will only have mild symptoms (like a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and a headache lasting a few days) that will go away on their own. Deaths are highest amongst the elderly, those with a weakened immune system, and the very young. But remember, with over 120,000 people infected and authorities still struggling to contain the virus, even a 2% mortality rate is worrisome.

Here Are Some Basic Dos And Don’ts 

Coronavirus 2019-nCoV infographic: symptoms and prevention tips

We recommend that you follow the guidelines and advice given by trusted sources on how to deal with it, including:

Be careful of the sources you get information from, especially outside these sources. As always, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, and verify your facts before spreading any new coronavirus myths. 

If you believe you may have symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus or feel you may have been exposed to the virus, speak to a doctor and/or contact your local health officials for further guidance.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Now all over the world, people suffer from one single enemy coronavirus. Now, this is time to create our unity to fight this enemy. I just read your blog. Some information you shared really helpful and informative. Great post, thanks for sharing.

  2. here I find honest and information about the coronavirus myths and many other things which help me to prevent fro COVID-19. keep sharing more information.

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