10 Major Misconceptions About The Coronavirus Outbreak

By Ivan Pesut on March 21 2020 in Society

Spread the right information and not rumours.
Spread the right information and not rumours.
  • Misconceptions about the coronavirus are currently spreading very fast.
  • It is important to rely on the information coming from trustful sources.
  • Remember that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is primarily transmitted by droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze.

The coronavirus outbreak is, unfortunately, still on the rise throughout the world. Over 200,000 people have been infected so far which includes the population of all the world's continents. The outbreak has been classified as pandemic but because of many false information and misconceptions, the outbreak has also been called "infodemic". False news and misinformation are spreading even faster than the virus itself. Social networks, messaging apps, and other platforms are dealing with an incredible amount of information and sometimes, it is not easy to detect a trustful source. It is important to clarify these ten misconceptions so we could effectively prevent the further spread of the virus. 

10. The virus cannot spread in warm climate

This belief has been spread in discussions on how will the coronavirus outbreak end with many hoping that the warm weather in Spring and Summer will put the end on it. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) is clarifying that the virus is spreading and can be transmitted regardless of the climate. The numbers of people infected go in line with this - more and more countries that are currently having the warmer weather are still seeing the rise of those infected. The discussion on whether the virus spreads more easily in the colder environment is still ongoing and there has not been any proof behind it. 

9. Taking a hot bath can prevent the infection

Another misconception floating around on social networks and some news sites is that a hot bath can help you prevent infection from COVID-19. This is absolutely not true - the normal human body temperature ranges from 36.5°C to 37°C. No matter how hot the temperature of the bath is, it will not affect your immunity's ability to combat the virus. As a matter of fact, these types of measures can be harmful. 

8. Garlic can help prevent the infection

Although garlic has several medical benefits, its effect on COVID-19 management has no scientific proof. Image credit: Donovan Govan/Wikimedia.org
Although garlic has several medical benefits, its effect on COVID-19 management has no scientific proof. Image credit: Donovan Govan/Wikimedia.org

There is no doubt that garlic is a powerful good with many nutrients. Among others, it has antimicrobial properties and can certainly boost your immunity to a certain extent. However, there has been no evidence that consuming garlic can protect you from being infected with coronavirus. Still, if you are currently in isolation or working from home, there is no reason you should treat yourself and enjoy some extra garlic. 

7. You can get the virus from products shipped from China

Image credit: Public.Resource.Org/Flickr.com
Image credit: Public.Resource.Org/Flickr.com

This misconception has been spreading around like crazy at the beginning of the outbreak as China was then dealing with the largest outbreak. Still, the virus is still often associated only with China. Because of that, a lot of people still believe they can somehow get the virus if handling the package shipped from China. This has been refuted: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that there is no evidence of any products (or animals) imported from China presenting a risk from spreading the virus in the U.S. Even though it is possible that a person can get infected by touching an object or a surface, there has been no evidence linked to shipments imported from China. 

6. Flu or pneumococcal vaccines can help prevent COVID-19

A person being administered a flu vaccine. Image credit: Daniel Paquet/Wikimedia.org
A person being administered a flu vaccine. Image credit: Daniel Paquet/Wikimedia.org

Although the flu and pneumococcal diseases have similar symptoms as COVID-19, these vaccines cannot help in its prevention. These vaccines are designed to target the flu and streptococcal bacteria specifically so they cannot in any way contribute to preventing COVID-19. Still, you should know that it is highly recommended, regardless of the COVID-19, that you receive these vaccines for your own health benefit in the future. Even more important, health care systems are currently overburdened with patients and the more people receive the vaccine the less of them will have to rely on health care during these times.

5. Facial masks can also help in prevention

Image credit: Orna Wachman from Pixabay
Image credit: Orna Wachman from Pixabay

A lot of people are using facial masks right now as a preventive measure. It is true that facial masks can help in prevention but there is no need for healthy people to wear them. People who are in direct contact with COVID-19 cases, such as healthcare workers, should definitely wear them. Since people can transmit the virus even though they are not experiencing any symptoms, wearing a mask is an adequate measure in this case. But for healthy people, it is more of a psychological trick as wearing the mask can help you feel protected. If it helps you feel safe or in case you have been in contact with a possibly infected person, go ahead and wear one.

4. Thermal scanners can help detecting infected people

A woman scanned by a thermal scanner. Image credit: Pxfuel.com
A woman scanned by a thermal scanner. Image credit: Pxfuel.com

Border control, especially in Europe, has been quite tricky in this period. Among other ways to control the travellers, there was a temporary idea of using thermal scanners to detect those who are infected. Even though this measure was never implemented, it was because of that the news about using scanners spread out. The truth is that the thermal scanner can only detect people who have a fever. But people who are infected can develop a fever as a symptom much later - from two to fourteen days after the infection. In these cases, the thermal scanner is absolutely ineffective. 

3. Snorting cocaine also helps in prevention

Cocaine is an extremely harmful drug that must be avoided at all costs. Image credit: Find Rehab Centers
Cocaine is an extremely harmful drug that must be avoided at all costs. Image credit: Find Rehab Centers

In Europe and some parts of Africa, false news has spread around about cocaine being helpful in prevention. The myth started out on Twitter with several people claiming that snorting cocaine will somehow sanitize the nostrils. The myth spread to the extent that the French Ministry of Health had to make a public statement of clarification. So, no - cocaine absolutely cannot help in the prevention of the coronavirus. It is a highly addictive and harmful drug. 

2. The coronavirus can be transmitted by mosquito bites

Mosquito bites cannot transmit COVID-19. Image credit :James Jordan/Flickr.com
Mosquito bites cannot transmit COVID-19. Image credit :James Jordan/Flickr.com

Transmitting a virus through the mosquito bite is associated with the Zika virus but it has been claimed that COVID-19 can be transmitted in the same way. No information or evidence has been gathered to suggest this is true. Remember that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is primarily transmitted by droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze. It can also be transmitted through saliva and nasal discharge. 

1. COVID-19 is a virus created intentionally for economic and political purposes

Among other wild conspiracy theories spreading around, this one probably takes the win. Some sources claim the virus has been artificially created and distributed among the population in China so that other countries can advance in economic and political power. It is certainly true that countries are always in global competition, but the virus was not bioengineered. Research has shown that the virus has a natural origin. 

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