Given the massive scale of the rise in cases and deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is only natural for misinformation and myths to circulate and overpower facts and information. Myths only serve the purpose of creating panic and chaos.
In this article, we will help you differentiate between myths and accurate facts to promote awareness and help you understand the coronavirus pandemic.
Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Face masks are not as effective as they seem
Even though face masks have rapidly emerged as the first line of defense between a person and the coronavirus, there is very little evidence to prove that they are actually useful. Their effectiveness is undermined by the loose coverage, which fails to cover the eyes. Moreover, these masks cannot be worn for longer periods, and a person is bound to take them off, hence, breaking down the defenses.
Since face masks tend to get sweaty, they have to be changed regularly in order to really protect oneself against contamination. In order to protect oneself against the coronavirus, there are many other more effective prevention measures.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these measures are effective:
- Dispose tissues in a closed bin.
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
- Frequently use a sanitizer to keep hands clean.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow or a tissue while sneezing.
- Maintain at least one meter distance with people who are sneezing and coughing.
Many believe that eating garlic, rinsing the nose with saline solutions, using mouthwash or dabbing the nose with sesame oil are effective remedies to prevent the virus. However, the WHO has clarified that none of these remedies will protect against contamination.
2. You can’t catch the virus from pets
During the last few weeks, our furry friends have come under fire for being a possible source of contamination. However, research by the WHO has put this on record: dogs and cats cannot spread the coronavirus. It is not possible to get this virus from one’s pets as there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim.
This particular myth has gained momentum after a dog from Hong Kong repetitively tested positive for the coronavirus. This created a panic amongst people who have pets at home. British experts advise people to learn to differentiate between detecting the presence of a virus and diagnosing an actual infection. It is important to understand that this global pandemic is powered by human-to-human contact and transmission, and a dog testing positive for the virus is not relevant to human contamination.
Experts believe that it is crucial to avoid panic and focus on learning more about the disease. However, it is highly advisable to frequently wash your hands with water and soap after touching dogs and cats. Our furry friends are likely carriers of various other bacteria and bugs, such as salmonella and E.coli, which can spread between humans and their pets.
The coronavirus, which leads to the disease COVID-19, is reported to have been generated in wildlife and it passed onto the human community from a live animal market in China’s Wuhan region. Many experts have deduced that it is likely that the virus went undetected in animals before entering humans, which is how many viruses have evolved in the past, including Ebola, and the Avian flu.
Experts maintain that is highly unlikely for the virus to make strides towards infecting another species, such as cats or dogs. For instance, during the SARS epidemic of 2003, a small group of dogs and cats tested positive. However, these animals did not spread the virus amongst other animals or humans.
3. Understanding the Symptoms of Coronavirus
The new coronavirus hails from the same family of MERS, SARS and the common cold. It causes very few cases with severe symptoms that can lead to death. Majority of the patients suffer from mild symptoms, such as high temperature, and dry cough, and they boost high chances of recover.
However, amongst certain patients, the virus exhibits severe symptoms, such as breathing challenges, and pneumonia. It has also led to deaths caused by severe lung complications. However, the deaths remain significantly less than the recovered patients.
Research reveals that men are a greater risk of developing a serious condition, alongside the elderly and those who are already combatting against diseases. On the other hand, young adults, teenagers and children have a stronger immunity and develop milder symptoms. But patients suffering from weakened immune health and severe asthma can suffer life-threatening symptoms.
The progression and symptoms of the coronavirus can be likened with those of the seasonal flu that remerges each winter and kills hundreds and thousands of patients across the world. Experts strongly recommend strong personal hygiene with strict measures to regularly wash hands. Good hand hygiene is highly effective at preventing the coronavirus and flu.
Experts are still unclear about the exact origination of the coronavirus and how it has spread, however, it has revealed itself to be highly infectious and contagious. All it takes is a few droplets from coughing or breathing.
Scientists still don’t know exactly how the new virus is spread but it does seem to be very infectious. All it takes is a few small droplets from breathing or coughing to allow the virus to spread. Therefore, patients with mild symptoms are being encouraged to self-isolate for at least a week to reduce the risk factors of spreading the virus.
It is highly advisable for everyone to self-isolate, or at least, limit contact with people, especially those who are combatting illnesses. Many health experts also advise getting a flu vaccine.
4. How deadly is the pandemic?
It is important to understand that presently, there is no cure for the coronavirus. There is no specific vaccine or medications to fight off the new pandemic or treat its symptoms. And while antibiotics are effective in treating bacteria-related ailments, they are not effective at fighting off viruses.
There are certain options for treatments, but majority of the patients are recovering on their own. The global scientific community is striving to design a vaccine, but it will take time to materialize as it has to be tested in trials and research processes.
People who are older and those who are combatting other chronic ailments, such as diabetes, cancer, heart ailments, or asthma, are at a great risk for contracting the coronavirus. It can spread amongst humans of any age, and has the power of spreading across 80% of the population, as seen in worst case scenarios.
5. Eating Chinese food will do no harm
Many people have started to avoid their local Chinese takeout meals or stopped purchasing Chinese food items or beverages. These are merely myths circulated around social media to spread fear and panic. There is no reality in such claims, and eating Chinese food is completely harmless.
According to the experts at the WHO, it is safe to receive letters and packages from countries that are one of the hotspots of the coronavirus. You see, the virus is unable to survive on such surfaces for longer periods of time.
On the other hand, it can survive on surfaces such as mobile moneys, door handles and cups for several days. This is why it is important to frequently wash hands with soap and water. In order to be at risk for the COVID-19 disease, you have to make close contact with an infected individual for 15 minutes or more.
Experts believe that the chances of being infected from close family members and friends is much higher than attending large social gatherings or events. However, the virus has spread across the world at an alarming speed and health advisers across the world are advising against social contact.
People are widely encouraged to reduce their social interaction and initiate self-isolation by working from home, avoiding public transport and commuting, and ordering stuff online instead of visiting supermarkets. Presently, limiting social contact and self-isolation are the most effective preventive measures to prevent the virus from further escalation.