’Scared’ isn’t a strong enough word to describe the anxiety now gripping the country because of Coronavirus (COVID-19). People are terrified and it’s clear for all to see in the images of grocery store isles at major wholesalers being bare from panic buys.
You can see the fear in the distressed eyes of people in public transport when someone coughs or the looks of suspicions given to people of Asian descent that have become the unofficial face of death in 2020. Fear makes people paranoid, and paranoia gives birth to misinformation. Fake news at the moment is as dangerous as the disease itself and thousands could die because of misinformation that causes the virus to spread.
We have compiled a list of the most common myths about COVID-19 and debunked them.
“A patent for the coronavirus spreading in Wuhan was not applied for in 2015”
This is something that is behind a lot of the misinformation and misunderstanding that is going around about this outbreak. When the outbreak started, it was just called ‘coronavirus’ and a lot of people don’t understand that coronavirus is not the name of this virus, it’s the name of a wide family of viruses. So yes, there was a patent applied for in 2015, but it was for a different coronavirus and it was concerned with research into vaccines. The assumption most people have based on this is that there was prior warning of this particular outbreak, which is false.
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“Coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan studying bat coronaviruses and spread to the public.”
There was a paper published by 2 Chinese scientists that raised this possibility. There is a research facility in Wuhan that studies bats and it is believed that bats may be the source of this particular strain of coronavirus, although it probably passed through a different animal to infect humans. However, the paper only laid this out as a possibility, it didn't present any evidence for it being the case. It is still not believed that this is the most plausible origin of this disease.
“5G mobile internet is responsible for the spreading of the coronavirus”
There is no evidence that 5G adversely affects the health of humans. A paper published in 2005 by the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety concluded that the radio frequencies commonly used for 5G transmission posed “no adverse health effects” aside from the heat produced by wireless devices.
“Black people are immune to the coronavirus.”
No, dark skin colour won’t protect you against COVID-19. In the past two days, Idris Elba, the perfect specimen of a black man, tested positive for COVID-19, puncturing any theory that black is immune to the disease. This a dangerous belief to spread in a majority-black country. Having the majority of the population walking around with the mistaken belief that they are immune to the virus will lead carelessness and is almost certain to have disastrous for the country.
“If you have a runny nose and sputum, you have a common cold and not COVID-19”
A runny nose is indeed a less common symptom of COVID-19 than it is for a common cold but it does not rule out COVID-19. Some people who have had COVID-19 have had runny noses as a symptom and studies show that about a third of patients have had sputum.
“Children cannot get COVID-19”
So far, children seem to be less affected by the virus. Their symptoms seem to be a lot milder, however, it is not true that they can't get it. In China, hundreds of children have been infected by it. What is crucial to remember is that while they may not die from it, children can still pass it on to others. So, the idea that children are somehow safe from this is not true.
“Dettol kills the coronavirus”
Yes, Dettol bottles do claim that they are effective against human coronavirus. That is because they WERE effective against the human coronavirus that existed previously. That doesn't mean that it kills this strain. This is a new virus for which we have very limited information. The fact that it is on a Dettol bottle doesn’t mean that Dettol was tipped off about the disease in advance.
“Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort.”
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus-producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.
A final word before we go
Always make sure that you check and verify all news you read on any social media or digital platform before you believe it or reshare. We have a list of credible resources which you can trust, check them out here. Stay safe, stay home and follow the basic guidelines like good hygiene and social distancing.