Myths Surrounding the Coronavirus Debunked
With the continued spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, unfortunately, there’s been a simultaneous rise in misinformation surrounding the disease. In a world rife with fake news, it seems something as serious as a global pandemic is not enough to stop people from spreading false rumors across social media and other online platforms.
Myths surrounding the coronavirus
This article will clear up the most popular myths surrounding COVID-19, correcting a lot of the distortion and half-truths circulating in seemingly more significant numbers each day.
Myth #1: Heat and Humidity Will Kill Off the Coronavirus
From all available evidence so far, the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued apace no matter the climate of the country, as shown by the rapid increase in cases in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and the Arab Peninsula.
Temperatures in those countries rarely drop below 30 degrees Celsius (85+ degrees Fahrenheit), and at this time of year (spring), they are already well in excess of those figures.
Furthermore, cases have spread just as rapidly in tropical locations such as Central America, parts of South-East Asia, and the Northern half of Australasia.
Regardless of temperature, it would be best if you took all of the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the disease, namely by frequently washing your hands.
Myth #2: Wearing a Face Mask Will Protect You from Contracting COVID-19
For only certain types of professional, tight-fitting respirators (such as the N-95) can protect health workers as they look after patients. But even these masks cannot fully protect individuals since possible entry points for the virus include the eyes – making full facial protection necessary.
For the general public, wearing thin and lightweight surgical face masks is not recommended. Firstly, they do not fight tightly enough, which means tiny infected droplets can still reach the nasal passage, mouth, and eyes. Secondly, those who touch their face below the mask may still become infected.
While it’s true that professional facial mask equipment can lessen the chances of infecting others if you have respiratory symptoms, they cannot prevent someone from contracting the disease on their own.
Myth #3: People Deliberately Released the Virus
Several conspiracy theorists are suggesting that the virus was somehow deliberately released by high-level authorities with various theories circulating about what they would look to gain from doing so.
First of all, this is an animal disease that has mutated to human-to-human transmission. Just as with swine flu and bird flu, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal undergoes sufficient changes that allow for it to pass into humans.
This virus did not exist before late last year (which is why we know so little about it), making the idea that humans deliberately released it extremely unlikely.
Myth #4: We Have a Vaccine for COVID-19
As mentioned in the point above, very little is known about this disease. That is changing rapidly. The genetic sequence for COVID-19 was only discovered and released to the wider world for study in January 2020.
Vaccines usually take years of lab testing, clinical trials, and regulatory approval before being able to be administered. Even if those processes were expedited up to the maximum possible speed, the vaccine would not be ready for widespread dissemination until at least the beginning of 2021, if not mid-way through next year.
As said though, this is changing rapidly.
Myth #5: Drinking Water Will Flush COVID-19 Out of Your System
While drinking water and staying hydrated may help to ease some of the symptoms associated with mild cases of COVID-19, there is no evidence to suggest that you can flush the virus out of your system.
The same is true of any virus. Water helps your cells to function at optimal capacity, but it’s your immune system producing antibodies that defeat the virus. Therefore, feel free to drink water regularly, but don’t expect it to cure you in any way.
Myth #6: Holding Your Breath for 10 Seconds Without Any Pain Indicates You Don’t Have COVID-19
A slightly bizarre rumor doing the rounds is that if you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without feeling any discomfort, then you don’t have the respiratory systems (fibrosis) associated with COVID-19.
However, fibrosis caused by the novel coronavirus is caused by scarring on the lungs, and there is no such barometer to suggest you do or don’t have it.
Proper diagnosis requires a full battery of tests, and CT scans are best for revealing the extend of scarred lung tissue if there is any.
Myth #7: Young People and School Children Are Immune to COVID-19
With many countries, states, and local counties keeping their schools open, it has been suggested that children and young adults have some immunity to COVID-19. But this is simply not the case. Plenty of children have tested positive for the disease, and they show many of the same symptoms as adults.
What is not as of yet understood by scientists is why children and young adults don’t seem to be as severely affected as older adults, with many children only exhibiting mild symptoms.
While that is still under investigation, it’s important to remember that no age group within society has immunity.
Remember, that the best way to limit your chances of catching coronavirus is by frequently washing your hands, disinfecting household and workplace surfaces, as well as removing yourself from society through self-isolation.
Self-isolation is also vital if you start displaying any symptoms to prevent the continued spread of the disease.
With rumor and misinformation rife, it’s essential only to trust medical information from reputable news sources, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or from the World Health Organization.
Corona virus images via Dreamstime.com.