Major Myth-Busting facts for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
There is a lot of information and misinformation related to the latest epidemic caused by the novel Coronavirus which has been termed as SARS-CoV-2. Those people who have been consistently updating their knowledge about the virus through news or reports are often misinformed. The chain continues and in the present circumstances, it has become difficult to separate the truth from lies. Based on the latest public announcements issued by the World Health Organization, here we are listing some major myth-busting facts for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a respiratory infection caused by the CoV-2 virus.
The main purpose of this blog is to filter out the facts from rumours that are fueling false news reports and augmenting public disturbances.
Following information has been declared to be a plain hoax by the World Health Organization. The fact about the so-called myths is also given along with some insight on the origin of those rumours.
Myth #1: Coronavirus is a failed biological weapon!
Authorities of Wuhan and the level 4 research laboratory from where the virus was suspected to have escaped, have provided enumerable claims with evidence of their non-involvement. Virologists, studying especially Coronavirus strongly suggest that the origin of the novel strain of CoV is purely natural. This discards any such speculations of the virus being the mutated form of common cold, lab creation or meddled bioweapon.
SARS-CoV-2, the name given to the novel strain, belongs to a family of Coronaviruses that infect humans as their primary hosts. It was found that nCoV shares 90% of its genetic material with Coronaviruses that infect bats. This shed some light on the origin of the virus, which was definitely not some lab. The truth of its origin is yet to be confirmed, but it is a fact that it came from nature and is not man-made.
Myth #2: Bathing regularly with hot water can make you immune to the virus
CoV-2 is not an ectoparasite or bacteria that remain intact to a viable host body surface. It is a virus that can not be killed by any means if it enters your body. Your body under normal circumstances maintains its core temperature at 37°C no matter how much you submerge yourself in hot water tubs. Anyhow, heat is unlikely to kill the virus but it is capable of scalding you instead! Hence, torturing yourself with hot water baths is not gonna solve anything.
Solution: The most effective measure that is suggested by all medical centres is to wash your hands regularly with a strong cleanser, use 95% alcohol-based hand sanitizers and clean exposed surfaces in your house with Sodium Hypochlorite based disinfectants.
Myth #3: Wearing masks will avoid 100% chances of contracting the virus
Wearing masks is not advised as the best preventive fix for an average healthy person. You will remain exposed to CoV-2 even with your mask on. In fact, in some cases, masks have increased the risk of infection when not properly sanitized or disposed of.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention does not encourage the inhabitants of an infection-free zone to wear masks specially designed for the infected. Washing your hands properly, following sanitation practices and opting to healthy nutrition are the only effective protective measures that you should take. For medical practitioners or those tending the infected, surgical masks and special respirators called N95 respirators have been proven to be effective against the virus spread. But the respirators are not prescribed for the general public due to various reasons. For one, they are intricately designed which may not be suitable for people with persisting respiratory and cardiac problems.
Myth #4: COVID-19 can adversely affect everybody
Everyone is indeed at risk of contracting the virus but the level of morbidity depends upon certain factors such as low immune system, age, people already under treatment for other sickness, pneumonia or long term medical care. These people are at high risk of getting adversely affected by the virus. Precautions still needs to be taken by everyone amid the accelerating spreading rate of the infection.
Myth #5: Your pets are potential virus carriers
Such rumours got hyped up when a local dog in china was found to be tested positive for CoV. It was found to have contracted a very low level of the virus probably from its owner who was infected with CoV-2. There is no evidence so far that the dog has spread the infection to other humans, meaning they have no such capability to transmit the virus. Many other pets were also tested negative as carrier hosts of the virus, thus negating the hypothesis of them being the culprits.
Still, it is advised by the CDC to take proper care of your pets and wash your hands properly after touching them. If you are sick, let someone trusted to take care of your pet for a while.
Myth #6: Do not receive any Chinese product or package dispatched from China
It has been proved that there is no way CoV-2 can survive on paper-based products for that long! The virus needs certain favorable conditions to thrive without a live host. International delivery routes and temperature factors are often way too extreme for the virus to stay viable. Plastic, metal or glass products which are properly enclosed in wrapping materials also lose their tendency to carry the virus. Hence, it is safe to accept goods from China as long as you disinfect them post-arrival and clean your hands thoroughly.
Myth #7: Coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites
Until now, no proofs have been provided that are supporting this hypothesis. Mostly because CoV-2 is a respiratory viral strain that is spread through infected air droplets of an infected person. Moreover, mosquitoes do not seem to have the favourable genetic makeup for acting as virus’s carriers. So, no you won’t get infected through a mosquito bite but do keep them away for protection against other diseases they are capable of causing.
Myth #8: UV lamps can be used to disinfect your hands
Not by any mean should you use UV rays on yourself! It is extremely dangerous and a foolish attempt at fighting CoV-2. This idea has originated from the fact that Coronavirus is sensitive to UV radiations and many industries opt to indoor disinfection via UV lights. Any incomplete information is dangerous and in this case hazardous. Those indoor UV treatments that you have heard of, requires certain guidelines to follow. The intensity of the UV radiations should be set at 1.5 Watts per square meter. The treatment should not last for more than half an hour and the room should be well ventilated afterwards. Treating UV lamp as your regular sanitizer will end you up in the hospital for all the wrong reasons!
Myth #9: Taking vitamin C supplements is equivalent to getting vaccinated
First of all, there is no vaccine yet made to cure COVID-19. People who suggest getting anti-pneumonia shots are the ones who have little knowledge of the newly discovered virus. CoV-2 is a completely new virus with different virulence factors. Its very own vaccine creation is under process as many labs all over the world are waiting to get ready for the human trials of their prototype vaccines. A vaccine is soon underway until then it is important to understand the basic facts. Any sort of food supplement or nutrient is not potent enough to fight a viral disease that gets genetically bonded to its host. Hence, such ideas should not be encouraged in this context.
You might have read somewhere that garlic is the superfood with a strong tendency to fight CoV-2, a claim that is baseless and blown out of proportion. However, taking it or any vitamin source is great for building immunity which should be taken by all means. Just don’t confuse prevention with the cure.
Myth #10: Taking antibiotics is enough to treat COVID-19
COVID-19 is the disease that is caused by the novel strain of Coronavirus -SARS-CoV-2. It is a viral disease that is completely different than a bacterial disease. Mixing both is like apples and oranges. It is imperative to spread awareness about viral and bacterial infections.
When you catch flu, you are most likely affected by a virus which can not be killed by taking antibacterial drugs. Even the antiviral medications that your doctor put you through, can only subside the symptoms and help you recover. If you are still wondering why your doctor prescribes you antibiotics when you catch flu, that’s because you probably had developed bacterial infections along with viral and those antibiotics are for taking care of those bacteria.
Please, do spread the word as taking wrong medication can elevate your problems instead of getting rid of them.
Myth #11: Abstain from having animal products as they will transmit the virus into your system
As mentioned before, CoV-2 is a respiratory virus that transmits through infected bodily droplets that an infected person produces while sneezing or coughing. There is no evidence of contracting CoV-2 after consuming animal meat or eggs.
For being on the safer side, it is recommended to properly cook the food before consuming. Raw food products are never a smart choice, especially raw meat or eggs. There are greater risks of contracting other infections (for example, parasitic infections) through animal products, but CoV-2 is not one of them yet.
Myth #12: Colder regions such as Antarctica are infection-free because of cold weather, hence by dropping your room temperature you can be safe from the infection
Antarctica is infection-free because the virus has not spread there yet. If the virus has already entered your body, changing your external temperature to low or high won’t make any difference. CoV-2 is affected by temperature and other factors such as humidity, UV radiation, etc only when it lies dormant on a susceptible surface. When it enters a living host, it doesn’t matter how much changes are brought upon the external environment. It is false to assume that Coronavirus can be killed with heat either. The only best measure is to take precautionary steps to keep your self infection-free.
Talking about the precautionary measures, let me summarize them real quick:
WHO have issued certain measures to be taken against the novel Coronavirus strain. For the sake of simplicity, let’s divide them into two categories based on preventive and post-exposure measures:
Wash you hands thoroughly before eating and after coming from outside, using bathroom and touching your pets.
Quarantine yourself from others to prevent spread of infection.
Avoid touching your face especially eyes, nose and mouth.
Limit your usage of shared spaces.
Use properly sanitized tissues for blowing your nose or sneezing. Discard it properly after use.
Do not share your towels with others.
Clean any exposed surface or frequently touched objects at home on regular basis with strong disinfectant composed of bleach or sodium hypochlorite.
Keep away from your pets until you recover completely.
Keep yourself away from people showing symptoms of flu.
Do not take public transports. If possible limit your outings.
Properly wash any raw animal food product and thoroughly cook it before consuming.
Work from home.
Keep your pets clean. Spend time with your pet but thoroughly wash your hands with a strong cleansing agent afterwards.
Wear CDC approved masks to prevent further spreading.
If you feel any symptoms of flu such as fever, shortness of breath, coughing or sneezing, contact your doctor immediately.
Keep your area disinfected to avoid spreading.
In conclusion, as the world is facing the current crisis, there are two kinds of people that have also emerged.
Like in most catastrophic events, those people can be characterized as the ones who- seemingly enjoy the chaos and like to add on to the pile. Such people create hoaxes and tend to fuel false rumours.
The other category is the ones who study and analyse the facts and reach a conclusion. For world peace, the least we all can do is to become a part of the second category. It won’t solve the problem or find any possible cure for CoV-2, but it will maintain the decorum and stability amongst mankind that is utterly needed in the times of chaos.
It is up to you to choose which side you are on.