By Hana Young
Currently, there is a pandemic happening across the globe. The novel infectious disease, COVID-19, has infected millions upon millions of people and killed several hundred thousand so far. It can be contracted through droplets created when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Their saliva or discharge from the nose can also transmit the disease.
However, along with the increasing panic and fear comes misinformation about this unfamiliar virus. These dangerous myths can not only incite more fear but also bring about more harm. Thus, here are 10 of the most widespread misconceptions about the coronavirus and we will debunk them.
1. Children are not susceptible to COVID-19 First of all, EVERYONE IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE VIRUS. Although most cases are from adults, children are at as much risk as them. Humans are vulnerable to the disease regardless of their ages. There is a low mortality rate amongst children, but multisystem inflammatory syndrome has been linked to COVID-19 amongst children. This could possibly mean that schools and day-cares would not reopen for a while.
2. Injecting disinfectant kills the virus in our bodies
This myth stems from Donald Trump, President of the US. During a White House briefing, he suggested that the coronavirus could be cured by injecting disinfectant into the body. This misconception can be fatal. Although a disinfectant can kill viruses on surfaces, injecting it can lead to poisoning and death.
3. Exposing yourself to the sun prevents COVID-19 Many believe that this virus is not able to transmit in hot and humid countries and that by exposing yourself to UV rays will disinfect your skin and clothing. This misbelief was even perpetuated by the US President. However, these UV rays will simply make you sunburnt. To prevent COVID-19, wash your hands thoroughly and avoid touching your face.
4. 5G mobile networks spread the virus The world is rife with conspiracy theories dictating that 5G is responsible for spreading the virus across the globe. This comes from the fact that Wuhan was one of the first cities in China to trial 5G. Some believe that 5G helps viruses communicate due to a study conducted stating that bacteria communicate via electromagnetic signals. Having said that, COVID-19 is a virus not a bacterium.
5. Antibiotics kills the virus This is not true as antibiotics only kill bacteria, not viruses.
6. COVID-19 is like the flu COVID-19 does cause some flu-like symptoms. However, since this is a new disease, the majority of people are not immune to it and a vaccine has not been made. At present, it is thought that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is higher that most strains of the flu.
7. Cats and Dogs spreads the virus So far, there has been little evidence to suggest that this virus can spread through cats and dogs. There have been a few cases of humans spreading it to animals but no evidence of the contrary.
8. Drinking alcohol reduces the risk of infection Drinking alcohol has no effect on the risk of infection. In fact, drinking an excess amount of alcohol weakens the immune system which increases the risk of infection and our ability to cope with the virus.
9. Packages from abroad can spread the virus From research conducted into such viruses, it has been concluded that viruses do not survive on packages for an extended amount of time. Therefore, there is a very low risk of the virus spreading from packages.
10. Thermal scanners can detect coronavirus Thermal scanners detect those who have a fever. There are many other causes of fever and it is not an indicator for the virus.
Overall, there is still much more to uncover about this novel virus. Instead of listening to the rumours and conspiracies surrounding the virus, we need to listen to the scientific evidence we have on hand. Stay safe, stay at home.
References: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth- busters https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/coronavirus-myths-explored#What-should-we- do? https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/2019-novel- coronavirus-myth-versus-fact https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2020/05/14/5-harmful-but-untrue-myths-about- the-novel-coronavirus/#719791ac6863 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52407177 https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200327-can-you-kill-coronavirus-with-uv-light https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus- disease-2019-vs-the-flu https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html