Coronavirus is a virus group that includes several viruses which cause the common cold, but also includes SARS and MERS, two recent emerging infectious diseases. As the world watches the spread of COVID-19, rumors and myths have been popping up about the virus and causing worry. Everything from 5G and online shopping are being blamed for infections. Social media newsfeeds are full of outrageous claims and people are panic buying toilet paper. So, what is the truth amid the myths? Here are a few Corona virus myths busted for our readers:
The coronavirus 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. You can protect yourself from the virus by cleaning your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash them with soap and water. Don’t forget to avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
In fact, spraying such substances can be harmful to your clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). It is important to remember that, even though both alcohol and chlorine can be used to disinfect surfaces, they need to be used under appropriate recommendations. Vaccines against pneumonia such as pneumococcal vaccine, and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new corona virus. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts. However, it is recommended that you keep your respiratory health in good shape to guard against the new virus.
This is a false statement. However, garlic has antimicrobial properties, and can be taken nonetheless.
Antibiotics are not effective in preventing and treating the new corona virus, since the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus, and not a bacteria.
This is not true. Viruses can get transmitted through the eyes. Tiny viral particles, known as aerosols, can penetrate masks. However, masks are essentially effective in capturing droplets, which is the main transmission route of corona virus.
This is not true on many levels. Even though all viruses undergo mutation over time, viruses that kill people rapidly or make them so sick that they are incapacitated, may be less likely to be transmitted. Hence there is no cause for unnecessary panic.
The mortality rate for this disease looks grim. Current estimates of a roughly 1% fatality rate are accurate, making Covid-19 about 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu. It is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.
For flu, some hospital guidelines define exposure as being within six feet of an infected person who sneezes or coughs for 10 minutes or longer. However, it is possible to be infected during shorter interactions or even by picking the virus up from contaminated surfaces.
Taking a hot bath, sterilizing your hands with an ultraviolet disinfection lamp or drying your hands using an air dryer are not effective ways of killing corona virus.
In fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) said that engaging in these behaviours puts you at risk in other ways. You could risk burning yourself if your bath water is too hot. UV radiation can also cause skin irritation.
Even though initial reports suggested fewer cases in children compared with adults, it doesn’t mean that children cannot contract the disease (COVID-19). For example, a Chinese study from Hubei province released in February found that, among more than 44,000 cases of COVID-19, only about 2.2% involved children under age 19. In a study reported March 5, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,500 people in Shenzhen, and found that children potentially exposed to the virus were just as likely to become infected as adults were, according to Nature News.
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