To date, COVID-19 Coronavirus has been responsible for more than 722,196 infections globally, causing more than 33,976 deaths. In the U.S., the virus has affected 142,178 people and has so far caused 4,559 deaths. In Italy, the virus has affected 97,689 people and has so far caused 10,779 deaths.
As ever, when the word “pandemic” starts appearing in headlines, people become fearful, and with fear come misinformation and rumors. Here, we will dissect some of the most common myths that are currently circulating on social media and beyond.
Wearing masks can give a false sense of reassurance and might lead to other infection control practices being ignored, e.g., hand hygiene.
Healthcare workers use professional face masks, which fit tightly around the face, to protect them against infection. However, disposable face masks are unlikely to provide such protection. As these masks do not fit neatly against the face, droplets can still enter the mouth and nose. Also, tiny viral particles can penetrate directly through the material. There is very little evidence that wearing such masks protects the wearer from infection. However, if someone has a respiratory illness, wearing a mask can help protect others from becoming infected.
People who are caring for someone with suspected COVID-19 should wear a mask. In these cases, wearing a mask is only effective if the individual regularly washes their hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Also, when using a mask, it is important to use it and dispose of it properly.
Hand Dryers Kill Coronavirus
Hand dryers do not kill coronavirus. The best way to protect yourself and others from the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using disposable paper towels. For this reason, use of paper towels is already routine in health care settings. These types of hand dryers can increase the dispersion of particles and microorganisms into the air, contaminating the environment. Dryers may suck in bacteria from flushing toilets and spread it onto your hands.
Cloth roller towels are also not recommended as they become a general use towel when the roll comes to an end – and can be a source of pathogen transfer to clean hands. After drying your hands with a paper towel, try not to touch other used items when throwing the towel away in the garbage. When you are leaving the bathroom, use a paper towel to handle the door knob so that you don’t just re-contaminate your hands.
COVID-19 is Just a Mutated Form of The Common Cold
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, all of which have spiky proteins on their surface. Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that can be mild, such as some cases of the common cold (among other possible causes, predominantly rhinoviruses), and others that can be lethal, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Symptoms in other species vary: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory tract disease, while in cows and pigs they cause diarrhea.
Children Cannot Catch COVID-19
All age groups can become infected. Most cases, so far, have been in adults, but new data suggests that children aren’t immune to the new coronavirus. That could have huge implications for efforts to contain local outbreaks. In fact, preliminary evidence shows that children are just as likely to become infected, but their symptoms tend to be less severe.
Children do not seem to be catching the virus in the same numbers as adults, and if they do, they are not developing severe symptoms. Out of nearly 45,000 confirmed cases in China through February 11, there was only one death in someone younger than 20, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and no deaths among children younger than 10.Out of 731 confirmed and 1412 suspected cases of Covid-19 in children in China, one child, a 14-year-old boy, died and nearly 6% of cases were severe, compared with 18.5% of adults experiencing severe symptoms.
The biggest concern is that in small or large groups, children could still pass along the virus to those who are more susceptible — including the elderly in the community or older family members.
COVID-19 is Just Like The Flu
COVID-19 causes illness that does, indeed, have flu-like symptoms, such as aches, fever, and cough. Similarly, both COVID-19 and flu can be mild, severe, or, in rare cases, fatal. Both can also lead to pneumonia. However, the overall profile of COVID-19 is more serious. But the true danger of coronavirus is unlikely to be the death toll. Experts say health systems could easily become overwhelmed by the number of cases requiring hospitalization – and, often ventilation to support breathing. An analysis of 45,000 confirmed cases in China, where the epidemic originated, show that the vast majority of deaths were among the elderly (14.8 percent mortality among over 80s). Serious cases can also happen in relatively young people with no prior conditions.
Rinsing the Nose with Saline Protects Against Coronavirus
There is no evidence that a saline nose rinse protects against respiratory infections. Some research suggests that this technique might reduce the symptoms of acute upper respiratory tract infections, but scientists have not found that it can reduce the risk of infection. Some studies show that a saline solution restores moisture to dry nasal passages and sinuses, and curbs inflammation of mucous membranes.
You Can Protect Yourself by Gargling Bleach
There are no circumstances in which gargling bleach might benefit your health. Bleach is corrosive and can cause serious damage.
Thermal Scanners Can Diagnose Coronavirus
Thermal scanners can detect whether someone has a fever. However, other conditions, such as seasonal flu, can also produce fever. In addition, symptoms of COVID-19 can appear 2–14 days after infection, which means that someone infected with the virus could have a normal temperature for a few days before a fever begins.
Garlic Protects Against Coronaviruses
Some research suggests that garlic might slow the growth of some species of bacteria. However, COVID-19 is caused by a virus, and there is no evidence that garlic can protect people against COVID-19.
Garlic boosts immunity. In test tubes, garlic appears to kill cancer cells, and studies involving people show some of the same outcomes. Those who routinely ate garlic, fruits and vegetables had a 35 percent lower colon cancer risk. Benefits came from raw and cooked garlic – not supplements. Research has shown that garlic oil works as an anti-inflammatory.
Spraying Chlorine on Skin Kills COVID-19 in The Body
Applying chlorine to the body can cause harm, especially if it enters the eyes or mouth. Although people can use chlorine to disinfect surfaces, they should not use them on skin. Chlorine products cannot kill viruses within the body.
Taking Antibiotics Protect Against COVID-19 Virus
Covid-19 is a virus, and antibiotics do not work against viruses, only against bacteria. So far there are no specific medications recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus. However, if you are infected with the virus and need hospital attention, you should receive the care needed to relieve and treat symptoms.
Can COVID-19 Virus be Transmitted Through Mosquito Bites?
There is no evidence to suggest that it can be transmitted by mosquitoes.
Taking a Hot Bath Prevents the New Coronavirus Disease
Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower.
Dr. Magdy Badran