The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the virus SARS-CoV2 causing the condition named COVID-19. As the Novel Coronavirus continues to infect people around the world, news articles and social media posts about the outbreak continue to spread online. Unfortunately, this relentless flood of information can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction — and during a viral outbreak, rumours and misinformation can be dangerous.
Misinformation, confusion and conspiracies make it difficult to know how to confront the coronavirus that has caused illness in more than 100,000 people worldwide. With COVID-19 spreading throughout the world, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. With so much information coming at you about the COVID-19 coronavirus, it can be hard to determine fact from myth.
To clear up some of the confusion, here are some important facts to know and myths to avoid, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Also read: COVID-19
MYTH VS FACTS
MYTH: COVID-19 can be transmitted through mosquito bites.
To date, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted by mosquitoes. The primary form of transmission is through droplets generated when infected people cough or sneeze, or through droplets of discharge from the nose.
To prevent the spread of the illness, frequently wash hands thoroughly and avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
FACT: Disease doesn’t target specific races or ethnicities.
COVID-19 does not target any specific race more than another. For example, being of Chinese descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.
MYTH : A vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available.
There is no vaccine for the new coronavirus right now. Scientists have already begun working on one, but developing a vaccine that is safe and effective in human beings will take many months.
FACT: You can reduce your risk of getting COVID-19!
Washing your hands as frequently as possible with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can help reduce risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and stay home from work if you feel sick. Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and immediately throwing away that tissue will help reduce spread of the virus.
MYTH : You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by swallowing or gargling with bleach, salt water, taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances.
None of these recommendations protects you from getting COVID-19, and some of these practices may be dangerous.
FACT: Antibiotics are not effective in preventing and treating COVID-19.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacterial infections. Since COVID-19 is a virus, antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat the illness.
MYTH: It’s necessary to wear a mask in public at all times.
It is not necessary to wear a mask at all times while in public.
General mask-wearing guidelines:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of someone suspected to have COVID-19
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing
- In order for a mask to be effective, you should also wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
- If you wear a mask, be sure to use and dispose of it properly
For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don’t fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected.
People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others. Bear in mind that stocking up on masks makes fewer available for sick patients and health care workers who need them.
FACT : People of all ages can be infected with COVID-19.
It appears that children may be less susceptible to being infected with COVID-19. Their exposure to a wide variety of different respiratory viruses circulating in daycare centers and schools may have a protective effect. Older individuals and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be more vulnerable to this virus. To protect yourself and others against the virus, follow good hand and respiratory hygiene.
These are the reasons we put people in quarantine. To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimised supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range of partners to help ease this pandemic.
Talk to our doctors if you are feeling unwell and practise good hygiene!