Mythbusting the coronavirus; dispelling myths and rumours surrounding the outbreak

The coronavirus has killed over 1,000 people to date and infected nearly 45,000 people around the world across 24 countries and territories.

As a result, there have been myths and urban legends surrounding the virus both in how it is spread and how to prevent it.

We’re here to bust some myths, courtesy of information from the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is NO specific medicine to prevent or treat the coronavirus

There is currently no vaccine or drug combination that has proven to prevent or treat the virus. However, that doesn’t mean patients should not seek appropriate care as medical professionals can still alleviate symptoms of the illness while your body fights against the virus.

This should also go without saying, but antibacterial medication is NOT effective against coronavirus or any other types of viruses. It is effective against bacteria.

That said, doctors may choose to prescribe you antibacterial medication if you are in hospital with symptoms of the virus because co-infections are possible.

According to the WHO, a global research initiative is underway to find a vaccine or cure for the virus.

“Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible. WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress.”

Coronavirus affects everyone, not just the old and young

People of all ages can be infected by the coronavirus but it is true that older and younger age groups and people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease appear to be more at risk of becoming severely ill as a result of the virus.

List of things that DO NOT prevent coronavirus infection.

  • Putting on sesame oil does not block the virus from entering the body
  • Eating garlic does not prevent infection either
  • Mouthwash does not kill the virus
  • Rinsing your nose with saline solution does not prevent infection
  • Hand dryers and UV lamps do not prevent or kill the virus

Thermal scanners at malls and airports are effective to a certain point

Thermal scanners at the airport are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever but there is no magic scanner that detects coronavirus.

They also cannot detect people who are infected but not yet sick with the fever. This is because it takes between two to ten days for people to develop symptoms.

You are probably safe receiving a package from China

From the WHO’s analysis, coronavirus does not survive long on objects such as letters or packages, so receiving a package from China is safe unless your mailman has the virus as well.

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