The coronavirus outbreak which started from Wuhan, China has now its grip over almost every part of the world. The novel coronavirus has been responsible for millions of infections globally. In mere six months, the coronavirus has infected more than 5,695,290 people and more than 355,000 people have died because of the infection. On March 11, 2020, the world health organization officially changed its classification of the situation of a public health emergency of international concern to a pandemic because of which the people became fearful and anxious about the situation. Ever since the virus has come into existence several scientific as well as medical researches are going on to find out its nature, vaccination and how does it spreads but till now no such concrete solutions or studies have been found out, rather different researches and the fear of the people all around the world has given birth to various misinformation and rumors about the novel coronavirus.
Some common myths or rumors that are currently circulating on social media and beyond:
- Spraying chlorine or alcohol on the skin kills viruses in the body:
It is believed that spraying chlorine and alcohol on the skin can kill the virus in the body which is not true as applying alcohol or chlorine to the body can cause harm, especially if it enters the eyes or mouth. Although people can use these chemicals to disinfect surfaces or PPE kits but using them on your skin will not provide you protection against the infection and will not kill the virus that has entered inside your body.
- Only older people are at risk of getting infected from coronavirus:
SARS-CoV-2, like other coronaviruses, can infect people of any age; recently news got viral about a Spanish lady with the age of 133 survived the coronavirus. However, older adults and individuals with preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, are more likely to become severely ill rather the severity of the illness totally depends upon one’s immunity and what all precautions you are taking.
- Animals cannot have coronavirus infection:
This statement is untrue as animals can get infected by COVID-19. There is evidence from real-world cases as well as laboratory experiments that both cats and dogs can become infected with the coronavirus. In Hong Kong, health officials have tested 17 dogs and eight cats living with COVID-19 patients for the coronavirus, and out of 17 dogs and 8 cats, 15 dogs, and 2 cats tested positive from the coronavirus.
- Thermal scanners can diagnose coronavirus:
Thermal scanners can detect whether or not someone has a fever. However, other conditions, such as seasonal flu, can also produce a fever. In addition, symptoms of COVID-19 can appear in 2–14 days after getting an infection, which means that someone who has the virus could have a normal temperature for a few days before a fever begins.
- Everyone who has COVID-19 dies:
It has been believed that every person suffering from the coronavirus infection dies and until now it has been considered as the deadliest disease. This is a myth and a misconception as COVID-19 is only fatal for a small percentage of people. In a recent report, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that 80.9% of COVID-19 cases were mild. The WHO has also reported that around 80% of people will experience a relatively mild form of the disease, which will not require special treatment in a hospital. Although SARS-CoV-2 does appear to be more serious than influenza, it is not the deadliest virus that people have faced. Others, such as Ebola, Malaria, and HIV, have higher mortality rates.
- Flu and pneumonia vaccines can protect against COVID-19:
As SARS-CoV-2 is different from other viruses, no existing vaccines can provide a protection against the infection. As mentioned before that many medical studies and scientific researches are going on to discover the vaccination of the virus but till now no such concrete solutions have been found out and in one of our previous articles we have also explained that developing a vaccine for coronavirus is next to impossible as the virus has a high level of mutating power and it is difficult to control a virus with a vaccine which mutates so rapidly.
- Drinking alcohol reduces the risk of infection:
In response to a series of myths surrounding alcohol and COVID-19, the WHO released a statement. In it, they explain that although alcohol can disinfect the skin and the surface, it does not work the same way inside the body. They explain that “consuming any alcohol poses health risks, but consuming high-strength ethyl alcohol (ethanol), particularly if it has been adulterated with methanol, can result in severe health consequences, including death.” In fact, “Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and thus reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases.” Because alcohol is associated with a number of other diseases, it may make people more vulnerable to COVID-19.
- The virus will die off when temperatures rise in the spring:
It was reported that the coronavirus will die off automatically when the temperature rises in the spring, but this assumption or information has become a myth. Some viruses, such as cold and flu viruses, do spread more easily in the colder months, but that does not mean that they stop entirely when conditions become milder. As the hotter places like Africa and India still have coronavirus cases and the numbers are increasing day by day. So warm climate has nothing to do with the spread or cure of the virus.
- Garlic protects against coronavirus:
Some research suggests that garlic might slow the growth of some species of bacteria. However, COVID-19 is caused by a virus, and there is no such evidence to suggest that consuming garlic can protect people against COVID-19.
- Home remedies and antibiotics can cure and protect against COVID-19:
No home remedies can protect against COVID-19. This goes for vitamin C, essential oils, silver colloid, sesame oil, garlic, fish tank cleaner, burning sage, and sipping water every 15 minutes. And if we talk about antibiotics then antibiotics only protect and cure diseases that are caused by bacteria and coronavirus is an infection that is caused by a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. So the best approach is to adopt a good hand-washing regimen and to avoid places where there may be sick people.
It is somewhat true that the spread of the coronavirus has become unstoppable, as day by day the situation of the whole is getting worse. But rather than becoming anxious and believing in these rumors and myths that are being circulated on social media. We should focus on adopting various safety measures such as sanitation and physical distancing which will actually keep us disinfected and safe from the havoc.