The deadly Coronavirus disease — known as COVID-19 — after its outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China has recorded over 346,964 deaths as of today, Monday, May 25th, 2020 with over 5,517,708 infections, and 2,310,480 recoveries worldwide.
And as the COVID-19 virus keeps spreading from one country to the other with no vaccine in sight, so does misinformation about it.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has enumerated 15 of such myths (fake news, wrong perceptions, untruth) that should be disregarded
And Yours Truly, BieGyaNation.Com presents them to you.
- Myth #1: Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.
- Myth #2: Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
- Myth #3: Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?
- Myth #4: Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease
- Myth #5: The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 cases.
- Myth #6: The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.
- Myth #7: Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?
- Myth #8: How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?
- Myth #9: Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?
- Myth #10: Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
- Myth #11: Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?
- Myth #12: Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
- Myth #13: Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
- Myth #14: Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
- Myth #15: Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
- Coronavirus is a bioweapon engineered by the Chinese government (or the CIA) to wage war on America (or China)
- Coronavirus originated with Chinese people eating bats
Myth #1: Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.
There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.
Myth #2: Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
Myth #3: Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?
No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.
Myth #4: Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease
Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that coud occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Myth #5: The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 cases.
Even though the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after being moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures.
If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Myth #6: The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.
To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
Myth #7: Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?
Nope! UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
Myth #8: How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?
Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.
However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.
Myth #9: Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?
No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.
Myth #10: Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.
Myth #11: Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.
The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.
Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.
Myth #12: Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
Myth #13: Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
Myth #14: Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Myth #15: Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.
Check out the rest of Coronavirus conspiracy theories presented by Rolling Stone:
Coronavirus is a bioweapon engineered by the Chinese government (or the CIA) to wage war on America (or China)
Due to the recent history of strained diplomatic relations between the two countries, it makes sense that some would speculate that coronavirus was covertly engineered in a lab as part of an extended campaign to weaken the opposing country.
Senator Tom Cotton (R – Ark.) has publicly endorsed this idea on Fox News last month, “We don’t know where it originated, and we have to get to the bottom of that,” Cotton said.
“We also know that just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level 4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases.” (British tabloid the Daily Mail also published a story on the existence of this lab, heavily implying that it was responsible for the spread of the virus.)
Unfortunately for conspiracy theory-mongers, there’s “absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered,” Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Washington Post, adding that “the possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.” But that certainly hasn’t stopped even government officials from continuing to sow the seeds of this theory, with congressional candidate Joanne Wright tweeting on February 28th about Gates potentially funding the development of the disease in the Wuhan lab. (Twitter has added a link to the website for the Centers for Disease Control at the top of search results for Wright and coronavirus, in part to curb such misinformation without explicitly banning it.)
Coronavirus originated with Chinese people eating bats
Because most coronaviruses originate among mammals, and because the current working theory is that COVID-19 originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, many on social media have jumped to the conclusion that some Chinese people’s predilection for eating bats is putting global health at risk.
This assumption has been bolstered by a number of viral videos purporting to show people eating bats or bat soup: “Does this thing look like death in your bowl?,” one tweet in Mandarin with more than 2,000 likes reads.
The videos were immediately picked up by tabloids and conservative blogs, which ran such non-judgmental, non-Eurocentric headlines as, “Is this objectively disgusting soup what’s causing the coronavirus outbreak?” And social media users reacted in kind, professing their horror at the clips. “Y’all Chinese people eat this shit and expect to be fine? Cmon,” one tweet said.
Of course, while eating small mammals like bats isn’t unheard of in some parts of China, it’s also not exactly commonplace, and that claiming otherwise about a country of more than 1.3 billion people is a massive generalization, to say the least.
Survey data of Chinese diners from 2006 suggests that the practice of eating exotic animals became even less common following the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, the source of which was believed to be bats (though researchers that the virus was actually passed to humans via palm civets, a type of large cat).
More to the point, there is no evidence that eating bats was the source of the coronavirus outbreak; authorities have stated that many people who tested positive for COVID-19 did not have any contact with live animals prior to contracting the illness, and a report from the Journal of Medical Virology actually suggests that snakes may have been the cause of the infection.
In summation, we don’t know exactly how COVID-19 is transmitted, but it’s safe to say that characterizing the virus as a product of an entire country’s eating habits feels both inaccurate and wildly offensive. “It’s not simply a matter of the consumption of exotic animals per se,” says Adam Kamradt-Scott, associate professor specializing in global health security at the University of Sydney, told Time. “So we need to be mindful of picking on or condemning cultural practices.”
That’s especially true considering the practice of eating exotic animals stems from a collective national memory of famine and food shortages, as political economist Hu Xingdou told the New Zealand Herald. “Chinese people view food as their primary need because starving is a big threat and an unforgettable part of the national memory,” Hu said. “While feeding themselves is not a problem to many Chinese nowadays, eating novel food or meat, organs or parts from rare animals or plants has become a measure of identity to some people.”