01/16 Most rampant myths about COVID-1

The World Health Organization has already declared the COVID-19 as a global health emergency and the outbreak of this deadly infection is causing a lot of panic and fear. As of now, more than 1,52,700 people are under-observation worldwide and scientists are racing to track the spread and virulence of this virus.

What is the COVID-19

COVID-19, initially known as a novel coronavirus (CoV), is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It first originated in Wuhan, China. The epicenter of the outbreak remains in a state of lockdown as the virus is spreading fast, with over 76,200 infection cases and more than 2,360 deaths recorded in China itself.

While the government agencies, scientists and health experts are working round the clock to prevent the spreading of this deadly virus, the state of panic and confusion is giving birth to several misconceptions. From novel methods of using surgical masks to prevent infection to certain home remedies that claim to “kill” the virus altogether, the social media platforms and WhatsApp forwards are filled with disastrous misinformation and myths.

We shed light on some of the most rampant myths about COVID-19:


Myth number 1: Eating garlic can treat deadly coronavirus

Fact: If you have received a WhatsApp forward explaining how the consumption of garlic can nip the novel coronavirus infection in the bud, you are not alone. A WhatsApp message is doing rounds that claim that drinking a glass of freshly boiled garlic water can treat the viral infection. While garlic is loaded with antimicrobial properties, there is no research or scientific report which points to the fact that it can kill the nCoV 19. 

Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, as of now there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).


Myth number 2: You can catch the nCoV 2019 if you eat Chinese food

Fact: There is so much misinformation spreading rampantly, thanks to the internet and hyperactive social media platforms, that it has become really difficult to filter the truth. One such myth that is being propagated is that we should strictly avoid Chinese restaurants and Chinese food. The World Health Organization has not listed Chinese food as a risk for catching the novel coronavirus. So, it is safe to assume that you cannot catch the infectious virus by indulging in your favorite plate of noodles.


Myth number 3: Eating ice creams and frozen food items can spread the nCoV 2019

Fact: Another misinformation that is being rapidly circulated on social media and messaging platforms is that coronavirus spreads through frozen food items including ice creams, kulfi, and cold drinks. To be precise the message read, “Do not eat or drink anything that is frozen, like Ice creams, Kulfi, cold drinks. Cooked food past 48 hours should not be eaten.”

The message further stated that cold or preserved foods and drinks, such as ice cream and milkshakes should be strictly avoided for “at least 90 days”. It is important to understand that the claims of these viral messages have not been backed by the WHO (World Health Organization) or even CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention). Moreover, no government advisory has been released which claims that the Wuhan virus is being spread through frozen food items.


​Myth number 4: Rinsing your mouth with salt water can cure coronavirus

Fact: Several posts are doing rounds on various social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, which claim that rinsing your mouth with saltwater can treat the novel coronavirus and even help in preventing the deadly infection.

All of these claims are false and medically inaccurate as the Wuhan Union Hospital and Academician Zhong’s team has officially refuted the rumor that saline water can help in treating the Wuhan virus. Additionally, the World Health Organization has also stated that there is no evidence to suggest that rinsing the mouth with saline solution is effective in preventing infection. It further states that there is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.


Myth number 5: Applying cow dung and consuming cow urine can cure nCoV 19

Fact: Continuing with the slew of medically-inaccurate (and in this case absolutely bizarre) myths, according to Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, president of Hindu Mahasabha, the urine and dung of cows can be used for treating coronavirus infections. He further elaborated that a person who chants Om Namah Shivay and applies cow dung on the body will be saved. A special yagna ritual will soon be performed to kill coronavirus. 

So, before you go searching for cow dung and urine, be rest assured that this information is false as WHO and CDC have not listed down ‘cow dung’ as the cure for the novel coronavirus.


Myth number 6: You can catch coronavirus if you receive a package from China

Fact: According to the WHO, from previous analysis, we know that coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages. So, you can still order anything from China without losing your peace of mind.


Myth number 7: Pets (including cats and dogs) can spread the deadly novel coronavirus

Fact: It is important to understand that as of now, there is no research or conclusive proof that pets including dogs and cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. As of now, there is no known case of dogs and cats transmitting the virus to humans. However, as a rule of thumb, it is strongly advisable to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water as it is known to provide protection against commonly spread bacteria.


Myth number 8: Common antibiotics can treat the new coronavirus

Fact: According to the WHO, antibiotics do not work against viruses as they only treat bacterial infections. Since the novel coronavirus is a virus, antibiotics will not be an effective means of treatment.


​Myth number 9: A cure for novel coronavirus has been found

Fact: As of now, there is no known treatment for nCoV 19 and a lot of treatments are currently under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials.


​Myth number 10: Bat soups and snakes are responsible for the new coronavirus outbreak

Fact: In the absence of any definitive cure, there are several medically-inaccurate “cures” floating on the internet. While many theories are doing rounds about how bat soup and snake eaters have been responsible for the jump of this new virus strain into humans, there is no conclusive proof. More researches and clinical trials are underway to find the exact cause.


Myth number 11: Getting coronavirus means a death sentence

Fact: Coronavirus is a fatal disease, but not every person who gets infected with this virus dies. Several people have been cured until now. As per the scientists, coronavirus is a mild type of virus infection with only a 2 percent fatality rate. This is a new strain of the virus and still, there is a lot more to know about it.


​Myth number 12: Coronavirus is the most dangerous virus

Fact: There are a plethora of different kinds of viruses out there in the world, which is more deadlier than COVID-19. For example, the fatality rate of the Ebola virus is much higher than the new coronavirus.


Myth number 13: Wearing the mask will protect from the virus

Fact: Mask gives a person a sense of security, but the problem is most people don’t know how to use it properly. There are two kinds of masks- surgical mask and the one used in hospitals (N95) mask. The N95 mask can filter particles that are airborne with 95 percent efficacy. The one that healthcare workers wear, have to go through a fit test first to make sure they have a perfect seal. General people who wear an N95 mask have a fit issue. Moreover, masks are for people infected with the virus, not for a healthy individual.


Myth number 14: The virus only affects older people

Fact: That is half true. It affects everybody, even children. Though, older and sick people more likely to have the severe disease as compared to healthy people.


Myth number 15: Coronavirus was deliberately created or released

Fact: These diseases can be caused due to several different things. They are naturally present in the environment. It could be due to climate change, ecological factors, agricultural factors or human behaviors. Outbreaks are inevitable and cannot be deliberately done.

(With inputs from timesofindia)