Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) is taking the world by storm, in the truest sense of the phrase. Most people are already a little perturbed by the virus, and it doesn't help that there are some persistent myths going around that could make the situation worse.
Here we have gathered some of the most common ones being shared around that you really need to ignore.
What are some myths about the Coronavirus (SAR-COV2)?
So, without further ado, here are some persistent myths about the SARS-CoV-2 doing the rounds. Sadly, misinformation at times like this is, well, chronic.
This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. Hot and humid climates do not increase the transmission of COVID-19
Despite some claims to the contrary, COVID-19's transmission is not affected by climate or weather. According to the World Health Organisation, viral transmission has been seen in all climes and parts of the world so far.
Since the virus is primarily transmitted person-to-person, the best thing you can do is practice social distancing and frequent cleaning of your hands.
2. Likewise cold weather, like snow, will kill the virus
For exactly the same reason as above, cold weather and snow have little to no impact on SARS-CoV-2 transmission. As the virus requires human beings to propagate, and we are endothermic, your body stays at between 36.5 and 37 degrees centigrade regardless of the external temperature.
3. Packages from China can infect you
This is yet another common myth about the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). While the virus can survive on surfaces for several days, you are still safe to receive post and packages from China.
In fact, the World Health Organization has studied this exact issue from post received from China and has concluded that they pose no risk whatsoever.
4. Garlic and vitamin C can help protect from the virus
While it might certainly put off the odd passing vampire, eating garlic will not stave off the virus. There is currently no evidence that eating garlic offers any benefits against the virus, according to the WHO.
But, don't let that put you off eating it -- it has many other great health benefits!
Since we are on the subject of diet, the same is true for vitamin C supplements. While they also offer some great health benefits in general, they will not decrease your likelihood of contracting the virus.
Interesting fact though about vitamin C -- it is actually nearly impossible to overdose on it! Don't take that as a challenge though, please.
5. The Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) will mutate and become airborne
2/10: Can Coronavirus mutate and become airborne?— Faheem Younus, MD (@FaheemYounus) March 18, 2020
No. Even when viruses mutate, their mode of transmission does not change. Influenza virus has mutated many times, but it remains a droplet infection.
According to many medical professionals, this is a myth. While viruses can, and often will mutate, their mode of transmission has never changed.
Influenza, for example, has mutated many times but is still transmitted via droplets.
6. Apparently some people think the virus is spread by mosquitoes and dogs
You've probably already worked out that this a myth, but, sadly, there are some people spreading this ridiculous claim. Since the virus is a respiratory disease, it spreads primarily through droplets created when infected individuals cough or sneeze.
Mosquitoes are off the hook for this one -- but they are still little flying devils incarnate.
The same also goes for your pets, like dogs. So don't fret about hugging, petting, or generally enjoying your pet's company during lock-down.
7. Since the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) thrives on cold sinuses, you should blow-dry your nose with warm air!
8/10: I’ve heard that coronavirus thrives in cold sinuses. So if you blow-dry your nose with warm air, it kills the virus. True?— Faheem Younus, MD (@FaheemYounus) March 18, 2020
False! Please don’t. Our nose carries bacteria, as part of normal flora. Those bacteria may get confused:)
If this sounds ridiculous, that's because it is. This is most definitely a myth -- and please do not try it at home.
Not only will it have absolutely no effect, but you could risk inadvertently damaging the delicate mucous membranes of your nose.
8. UV lamps are just perfect for disinfecting your hands
While it is certainly true that certain types of UV-light do kill many pathogens, it is not advisable to use UV lamps to sterilize your hands or other parts of your skin.
Just like sunbathing without suncream, this can, and usually will cause skin irritation. You also run the risk of damaging your skin both short-term and long-term.
9. Regular rinsing of your nose prevents infection from the virus
To date, there is absolutely no evidence that this practice will actually protect you from getting infected -- after all, it only really affects the nasal cavity. However, there is some evidence that regularly irrigating your nose with saline solution can speed up recovery from things like the common cold.
10. The virus only affects older people, right?
This is most definitely a myth. The virus has been shown to infect people of all ages.
But, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease) do appear to be hit more severely by SARS-CoV-2.
The World Health Organization has advised that people of all ages take the appropriate preventative actions to reduce the risk of infection to a minimum.
11. DIY masks will stop me from getting infected
Funnily enough, masks that you've made yourself are highly unlikely to be effective. Some examples have included full-face masks made from old water bottles to plastic bags.
Most of these are highly unlikely to prevent airflow around the mask as you breathe and are, as such, practically useless. If you really want to wear a mask, consider getting a half-face or full-face mask with special FFP3 filters akin to those worn by asbestos workers.
Things like plastic bags also have the added problem of being a potential suffocation risk.
Even many surgical masks may not protect you either on their own. They are, however, useful for trapping liquid droplets as you exhale and are effective.
12. My coworker's dad has COVID-19, which means I'm infected right?
4/10: My coworker’s dad developed COVID-19. Am I at risk?— Faheem Younus, MD (@FaheemYounus) March 18, 2020
No. If you’re exposed to someone who was exposed to someone with COVID, you’re fine. CDC recommends no testing on family members of those who were exposed to a COVID patient https://t.co/p7UIVTRBmv
Just because you have been exposed to someone who, in turn, has been near someone who does have the virus, doesn't mean you are also infected. In fact, the CDC does not recommend testing on family members of those who have been exposed to a COVID patient.
13. If I get COVID-19 I need antibiotics, right?
But, if you do become infected by 2019-nCoV, it is quite likely you will also be prescribed antibacterials to prevent co-infections from pathogenic bacteria.
14. Any hand sanitizer will do, won't it?
Not all hand sanitizers are made equal. While very handy (pun intended) when traveling or commuting, they are not 100% effective. In fact, most are less than 60% alcohol content or worse none.
The PHE and WHO recommend that for hand sanitizers to be effective they must contain at least 60% or above to be truly effective.
15. Vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the Coronavirus
There is currently no vaccine against Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), for this reason, any other vaccines are completely ineffectual. For example, vaccines designed for Pneumococcus or Haemophilusinfluenza type B (Hib) will not immunize you against COVID-19.
While other vaccines won't help, you really should get them to protect you against the myriad other nasty diseases out there.