Sunday, March 29, 2020

Novel Coronavirus outbreak: Myths about Covid-19 from around the world, debunked

Novel Coronavirus outbreak: Myths about Covid-19 from around the world, debunked

The infection which originated from a market in Wuhan city in the Chinese province of Hubei has claimed more than 27,800 lives.

As of March 28, less than three months after the world was made aware of the novel coronavirus, 600,000 people across 177 countries/regions have been infected with it. The infection which reportedly originated from a market in Wuhan city in the Chinese province of Hubei, has claimed more than 27,800 lives.

With nations entering lockdown in an effort to 'flatten the curve' of social interactions by means of social distancing, it is very important to refrain from placing one's beliefs in any miraculous cures or conspiracy theories about COVID-19. Here are some widely shared myths about the novel coronavirus that stand nowhere on the scale of scientific relevance.

Temperature, humidity could affect transmission rate of Covid-19

This is a myth. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has observed that this infection can be transmitted in any and all areas regardless of climate.

Wearing a mask can prevent transmission of Covid-19

This is not true. While wearing a mask in a crowded place is advisable, the mask cannot prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus. In some cases where the person wearing the mask touches an infected surface before touching his/her face to re-adjust the mask, this protective gear could lead to infection, said the Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Dr Randeep Guleria.

Taking a hot bath can prevent infection

This is a myth. The normal body temperature remains stable between 36.5°C to 37°C despite the temperature of one's bath, says the WHO.

Drinking alcohol can cure Covid-19

There is no evidence whatsoever to prove this claim. While alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a recommended precaution against any virus, drinking alcohol while seeking to cure Covid-19 is the same as drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizer and expecting it to taste like a pint of beer.

Non-vegetarian food (meat) consumption can lead to infection

It has been established that the novel coronavirus jumped species from an animal to a man and is originally a zoonotic disease. However, no known animal species has been known to carry this virus as of yet and medical experts have asked people not to believe in rumours and eat non-vegetarian meals as long as they are prepared with utmost care for hygiene.

Holding breath for 10 seconds acts as test for Covid-19

This is a myth. Dr Faheem Younus, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland says that a person infected with the novel coronavirus can also hold his/her breath for longer than 10 seconds. On the other hand, the elderly will not be able to accomplish this task but it does not in any way mean that they are infected.

Visit a hospital if you are experiencing cough, high fever

Director of AIIMS, Dr Randeep Guleria says that one should not visit a hospital during a pandemic since it increases the chances of a healthy person catching the virus. One should consult a doctor over the phone if he/she is experiencing any symptoms at all and seek future course of action.

Garlic boosts the immunity system

This is a myth. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the consumption of garlic boosts the immunity system or safeguards one from being infected with Covid-19.

Donating blood can result in Covid-19 testing

This is untrue. One should not donate blood at a time like this unless and until one is absolutely sure that he/she is not infected.

Mosquito bites can fast track transmission

This is a myth. No study or research has shown that mosquitoes can act as carriers of the novel coronavirus. "The new 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," says WHO.

Hand dryers/ ultraviolet disinfection lamp can kill the virus

These are myths. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one should regularly wash one's hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Apart from this, neither a hand dryer nor an ultraviolet disinfection lamp can kill the virus.

Vaccines against pneumonia protect against novel coronavirus

This is a myth. Pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine cannot protect anyone from Covid-19 since the vaccine for the new coronavirus is yet to be discovered.

Parcels from China can spread Covid-19

This is untrue. While some preliminary research has shown that the novel coronavirus remains on certain surfaces such as cardboard for some time, it cannot spread through parcels received from China.

Thermal scanners can detect novel coronavirus

This is not entirely true. A thermal scanner detects body temperature and is great for identifying someone with a high fever, however, medical experts and doctors treating Covid-19 patients have said that initial research shows how people who display no symptoms can also be infected with the virus.

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