Myths about Covid 19

The new coronavirus, Covid-19, was first recognised in December 2019 in China and now has been reported in over 183 countries and territories throughout the world – and likely to infect many more in the days ahead. Many of the more sensible commentators have outlined that the risk of contracting Covid-19 is small and, in most cases, the disease it is not life-threatening. However, social media is overflowing with advice regarding Covid-19, and the facts which we should be trusting are often diluted by the mass of misinformation and doing the rounds. Because of this, we have decided to put together this blog of Coronavirus facts and myths.

Should you lock yourself away from humanity until the virus is controlled or can you, with sensible precautions, get on with your life? Are these the ‘final days’ and is humanity doomed? The travel industry has taken a massive knock and one main concern affecting this is, to misquote Shakespeare, “To Travel or Not to Travel? That is the question.”

So, let’s try to dispel some of the more common myths which are circulating and see can we get a bit of perspective to the situation…

Myth – Getting Covid-19 is a death sentence
Current information shows that only very few of those who contract this disease will die. This is mainly in the more vulnerable people – those who have an underlying health condition or are in older age. For the majority of those infected, the virus will result in typical Flu symptoms and should be fine with treatment.

Myth – Covid-19 is more contagious than the Flu or Measles
The latest information shows that it is more contagious than Flu, but a lot less than Measles. Remember, annually the Flu infects about 1 billion people with over ½ million deaths worldwide.

Myth – If one person on a plane or in a train has the disease everybody will be infected
The risk is extremely high for those within 1m of an infected person who is coughing or sneezing openly. However, if an individual uses tissues or coughs/sneezes into the elbow region, the risk will be considerably lowered.

Myth – Hand gels are the best means of protecting myself
While good quality hand-gels are helpful, careful washing of your hands, avoiding touching your face and staying away from those with obvious symptoms (flu like illness, coughing, runny eyes, fever etc) is the best way to avoid contracting the illness.

Please Note: hand gels are not effective if your hands are visibly soiled or very dirty.

Myth – Face masks will protect me from contracting Covid-19
Unless you are using a very specialised face mask, the air surrounding you will leak in around the edges of the mask and it is just as though you were not using the mask at all. Masks are helpful to catch some of the virus particles from those who already have the disease and are coughing but they need to be changed regularly and very carefully, otherwise they are a risk factor. If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected Covid-19 infection.

Myth – If I buy food in the supermarket and then boil or cook it for our meals that should kill any virus that might be lurking
This is true but, the problem may be from you handling the food before it is heated. Take care and wash your own hands regularly after touching anything which could have been contaminated. This hand washing advice is hugely recommended after using public transport or after being on an escalator.

Myth – There is a homeopathy vaccine available
Currently, there is absolutely no vaccine available against coronavirus Covid-19 at this time and there is not likely to be one available for some time.

Myth – All vaccines are useless against Covid-19
Technically at this time that is perfectly correct. However, we do know that most of the serious cases with this respiratory viral disease are among those with an underlying health issue. For example, in many of the more serious cases of Flu it may not be the virus itself which kills the individual but, rather an associated or secondary bacterial infection. The illness associated with Covid-19 may leave that individual more at risk of other infectious diseases. On that basis it is wise for those at a particular risk to ensure they are up to date with the yearly Flu vaccine but also to consider having vaccination cover against Pneumococcal disease which is a serious bacterial infection affecting the respiratory system

Myth – International travel is a huge risk and should always be avoided
At this time, the risk of contracting the disease from undertaking flights or visiting most countries of the world is known to be minimal. It is wise to avoid regions where there is a very significant amount of cases being reported but, for most destinations, the risk remains very small.

Myth – Covid-19 is the most deadly disease to hit mankind
While Covid-19 is spreading quickly in some regions of the world and has a mortality rate of 2-3%, it is still not by any means as deadly as other diseases. For example, SARS killed 10% of those who became infected and MERS is responsible for between 30% to 40% of deaths among those who get the disease.

Myth – The new coronavirus can be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting Covid-19 cases
Even though Covid-19 can last on surfaces from a few hours up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is highly 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 – Coronavirus Covid-19 can be transmitted through mosquito bites
Coronavirus Covid-19 cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites. To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that it could be transmitted by mosquitoes. Covid-19 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.

Myth – Eating garlic can help prevent infection of the new coronavirus
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak to suggest that eating garlic has protected people from coronavirus Covid-19.

Myth – Cocaine can protect against a coronavirus
Cocaine cannot protect against any coronavirus or other infective diseases. It is an addictive, dangerous drug that should not be used under any circumstances.

Fact: Drinking alcohol does not protect you against Covid-19, and can in fact be dangerous. The harmful use of alcohol increases your risk of health problems, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

  1. Myth: Thermal scanners can detect coronavirus
    Fact: Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have a fever. However, they cannot detect people who are infected with Covid-19. There are many causes of fever.
  2. Myth: Hydroxychloroquine, Gilead’s remdesivir, and other drugs can cure coronavirus
    Fact: While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that either hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent Covid-19.
  3. Myth: Adding pepper to meals prevents/cures coronavirus
    Fact: While pepper in soups and other meals can enhance their taste, it cannot prevent or cure coronavirus. Practise social distancing, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, use hand sanitisers, and face masks to avoid coming in contact with the virus.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus LIVE Updates

  1. Myth: Coronavirus is spread through house flies and mosquitos
    Fact: So far, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus can be transmitted through houseflies and mosquitoes.
  2. Myth: Spraying disinfectant into your body or drinking methanol, ethanol will protect you from Covid 19
    Fact: DO NOT, under any circumstances, spray or introduce bleach or any other disinfectant into your body. These substances can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes. Bleach and disinfectant can be used to disinfect surfaces only. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are poisons.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus vaccine update: Importance of Covid-19 drug, current status

  1. Myth: Mobile networks spread coronavirus
    Fact: Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. Coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface.
  2. Myth: Exposing yourself to the sun prevents Covid-19
    Fact: Countries with hot weather, including India, have reported Covid-19 cases in large numbers. That should put an end to the claims that the virus cannot survive under the sun.
  3. Myth: Cold weather and snow can kill coronavirus
    Fact: According to WHO, the normal human body temperature remains around 36.5 degrees Celcius to 37 degrees C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. Hence, there’s no reason to believe than snow or cold weather can kill coronavirus.
  4. Myth: Taking bath with hot water prevents coronavirus
    Fact: Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching the virus. The normal body temperature remains 36.5 degrees C to 37 degrees C, regardless of the temperature of shower.
  5. Myth: Ordering or buying products shipped from overseas will give you coronavirus
    Fact: WHO says that the likelihood of becoming infected with Covid-19 from a commercial package is low since it has likely travelled over several days and been exposed to different temperatures and conditions during transit.
  6. Myth: This novel coronavirus is not new, I’ve heard of it before
    Fact: The term novel coronavirus means it’s a new type of coronavirus, which hasn’t been previously detected. ‘Coronavirus’ is a family of viruses and the reason people may have seen ‘Human Coronavirus’ on labels is that this refers to previous strains of the virus.

There are several names being used for this novel coronavirus. WHO has called the disease Covid-19 but the virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2.

  1. Myth: Healthy food can prevent/cure coronavirus
    Fact: People cannot prevent Covid-19 infection through diet. However, a healthy lifestyle, including balanced diet, has a positive significance in maintaining an immune system against virus attack.
  2. Myth: Drink water every 15 minutes to avoid corona
    Fact: To date, no cure for the deadly infection has been found and we can very safely say, water alone won’t solve the problem. It can only hydrate the body and lower the risk of infection by cutting outside effects. Water can’t kill the virus.

Fact: The term novel coronavirus means it’s a new type of coronavirus, which hasn’t been previously detected. ‘Coronavirus’ is a family of viruses and the reason people may have seen ‘Human Coronavirus’ on labels is that this refers to previous strains of the virus.

There are several names being used for this novel coronavirus. WHO has called the disease Covid-19 but the virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2.

  1. Myth: Healthy food can prevent/cure coronavirus
    Fact: People cannot prevent Covid-19 infection through diet. However, a healthy lifestyle, including balanced diet, has a positive significance in maintaining an immune system against virus attack.
  2. Myth: Drink water every 15 minutes to avoid corona
    Fact: To date, no cure for the deadly infection has been found and we can very safely say, water alone won’t solve the problem. It can only hydrate the body and lower the risk of infection by cutting outside effects. Water can’t kill the virus.

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