The first case of the new strain of coronavirus called COVID-19 was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. Since then it has spread to major parts of the globe at an alarming pace, forcing the WHO to brand it a ‘pandemic’. The whole world is jittery. And the anxiety is not unwarranted, because the case count is climbing every day. But in the midst of a concerted global effort to contain this outbreak, myths have started doing the rounds. So it is time to take a look at them and separate fact from fiction. Misconceptions can reverse much of what is being done to banish coronavirus.
Myth 1: Coronavirus in infected people can be killed with alcohol or chlorine
Fact: Alcohol and chlorine cannot help an infected person
If you have already contracted coronavirus i.e., if the viruses are multiplying in your body, cleaning yourself with alcohol or chlorine won’t do any good. Only if the virus is on your skin, can these substances kill it.
Myth 2: You may contract coronavirus from pets
Fact: There is no evidence that household pets can pass on COVID-19
The World Health Organization has said that there is no basis to the claim that people may get COVID-19 from their pets. But since you can never be safe enough, it is wise to ensure that your pets are fully vaccinated. If you touch any pet other than your own, then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Also, don’t forget to give your pets regular showers.
Myth 3: Receiving packages from China can give you coronavirus.
Fact: You can receive any letter or parcel from China without fearing an infection.
Coronavirus cannot survive for long on inanimate objects. So by the time any package arrives at your home from China, any virus that might have ended up on it due to being handled by an infected person, would have died.
Myth 4: Ultraviolet disinfection lamp can destroy the coronavirus
Fact: Ultraviolet disinfection lamp cannot kill coronavirus
Such a lamp can do nothing to kill or stop the spread of coronavirus. In fact, if you use them for prolonged periods of time can cause skin damage, allergies and irritation.
Myth 5: Hand dryers are an effective way of killing coronavirus
Fact: Hand dryers have no effect at all on coronavirus
Most office, movie theatre and shopping mall washrooms today have hand dryers that fire off blasts of warm air that can dry up wet hands. Many people believe that warm air from dryers can destroy coronavirus. But the fact is, hand dryers are no good in killing viruses. WHO has stated in no uncertain terms that the only true way of removing and killing coronavirus on your hands is by washing them with water and soap/hand wash. You can also apply alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Wipes and such will not help.
Myth 6: Masks can prevent coronavirus
Fact: Masks cannot prevent coronavirus
Perhaps the most widely circulated myth today is that wearing a mask can prevent coronavirus. And as a result, the price of these masks has shot up. But unfortunately, there are a few holes in this claim. Firstly, these masks can block particulate matter but are not equipped to strain air for viruses or any microbe. Secondly, there is a gap between the mask and your face through which unfiltered air can easily reach your nose and mouth.
However, N95 masks have been shown to be somewhat effective. But people need proper training to make it sit flush on their faces.
Myth 7: Coronavirus is man-made, a biological weapon
Fact: The Coronavirus wasn’t designed in a lab
COVID-19 is a new strain of a virus that is widely known to mankind. Coronavirus was behind two other outbreaks- SARS and MERS. This is actually a natural progression in the evolution of the virus.
Myth 8: Coronavirus means death
Fact: Coronavirus has high rates of survival
It is a disaster that thousands of people have lost their lives to COVID-19. But a closer case study shows that 81% of the total number of people who tested positive have only mild cases of the viral infection. So far the fatality percentage stands at 3.69%.
Myth 9: Chicken can give you coronavirus
Fact: Eating chicken will not cause a coronavirus infection
Coronavirus does not spread through poultry. You can consume chicken without any fear.
Protect Yourself from coronavirus
- Wash your hands repeatedly with soap and water, or hand sanitizers.
- Do not be part of a public gathering.
- Do not touch your face, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid people who look visibly sick.
- Always sneeze or cough into a disposable napkin so that you don’t pass the disease on to others.
Dispel the myths about coronavirus so that you and everyone understand this infection better. Only with clarity and proper knowledge do we stand a chance against this pandemic.