You can find more myths and fewer facts about recent COVID-19 everywhere on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Most of the information is not based on facts at all. Most people are unaware of the facts about COVID-19. And they can be often heard discussing myths about the pandemic.
People tend to forward this incorrect information to their near and dear ones. As a result, there are various misinformation and fear about this disease. It is important to have some facts clear about it.
So, I tried to gather facts and myths about COVID-19 and accurate information about this disease from various reliable sources.
So, lets see some of the facts and myths associated with COVID-19!
1. Can we believe in any information related to COVID-19?
Many people without correct information spread fake news related to COVID-19, cures, and false treatments.
Therefore, we should only believe and read the information provided by government websites.
For example, the government of India uses www.mygov.in/covid-19 (there are various websites by states and central government apart from this with domain-names ending with .in), WHO ( World Health Organization) uses www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Social media like Facebook has said that it will keep an eye on fake-news spreaders. but still, we should not believe on Facebook feed for authenticating information.
For instance, recently, Facebook and Twitter reportedly removed a video post of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro claiming hydroxychloroquine working on COVID-19 .
So, a big NO for online information other than government websites.
2. Can we protect ourselves from COVID-19 with external use of alcohol-based sanitizers/masks.
It was really disheartening to read the news in Iran (29th April 2020). About 700 people died drinking toxic methanol to cure COVID-19. The people thought that alcohol consumption could cure the disease.
Actually, there are no studies and pieces of evidence to suggest that swallowing bleach and other alcohol-based disinfectants can help in this epidemic. In fact, they will act as toxins and will damage the internal bodily organs. Therefore, We should only use sanitizers sanitize hands.
Moreover, the WHO has not found any evidence in favor or in against the use of masks.
The organization, however, provides guidelines on the use of masks. It , further advises the frequently washing hands, covering a cough, and maintaining a distance of about 1 meter cannot be substituted by wearing masks.
3. Is there any cure for COVID-19 yet?
No. No country has reported any cure in the form of medicine or treatment for COVID-19 as of now.
According to the WHO, several clinical trials are going on in various research laboratories. However, none of these are approved yet.
In a press conference on Friday (15th May 2020), Maria Van Kerkhove, a technical lead at WHO said,
There are hundreds of clinical trials that are underway, and the reason we need to wait for the results of these studies is that they are evaluating how these medicines, how these drugs work, in terms of either preventing infection, preventing someone from progressing to severe disease, preventing death and how safe they are, do they have any side effects
4. Does chloroquine work on COVID-19?
Jack Goodman and Christopher Giles reported in BBC reality check that WHO denied any evidence to this claim . It has said that various studies are going on to see if chloroquine works. Therefore, there is no evidence that this drug works. The drug, however, is used in malarial treatment to reduces fever and inflammation, can inhibit COVID-19.
On there other hand the use of this drug has the risk of side effects, such as renal and liver damage.
US Food and Drug Administration has allowed only ‘emergency use‘ of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.
It further warns that the unsupervised use of these drugs risk the patient with heart rhythm problems.
Similarly, India’s government has also said that the use of such drugs is only experimental and for emergencies
5. Is COVID-19 knowingly spread by some people ?
Many people on Facebook and twitter talk that this is knowingly spread by some people for selfish reasons.
People have been discussing that China has done it knowingly.
According to Dr. Paul Komesaroff ( Professor at Medicine at Monash University), Dr. Ian Kerridge (Professor of Bioethics & Medicine at University of Sydney) and Dr. Ross Upshur (Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto)
Yes, we need a global coronavirus inquiry, but not for petty political point-scoring
According to a recent article written by these professors at various universities, the scientific data collected so far shows that SARS-CoV-2 was not deliberately engineered. The article says that ,
It (COVID-19) did not originate in or escape from a laboratory, in Wuhan or anywhere. The first human cases of COVID-19 did not come from the Wuhan wet market but from elsewhere in China, possibly outside Hubei province altogether. The disease did not “originate” in a market at all, although an essential spreading event linked to the Wuhan market did occur that brought it to the attention of Chinese public health authorities.
Therefore, the answer is ‘NO.‘ So, it proves that it is not spread knowingly.
But yes, how it has covered in humans from animals is an essential issue to research so that we may be prepared for the new pandemics and can prevent them.
6.Can we identify if someone has COVID-19?
First, we should know what an incubation period is? It is the duration between the person who gets infected, and he /she starts showing the symptoms.
According to the various researchers, the people show these symptoms within 14 days maximum and it is highly unlikely ( i.e., there is less chance) that the patient will show the signs after 14 days.
Therefore, we cannot always identify someone with COVID-19.
But, some people will not show the symptoms at all ( when the symptoms are very mild, and therefore, remain undetected).
As a result, it is necessary to follow the government’s instructions. For instance, using masks, avoiding crowding and being in quarantine if they have traveled, etc.
7. Will COVID-19 stop spreading in sunny weather?
If we search for this information on the internet, there is mixed news about it. Some claim that the warm temperatures and humidity stop the COVID-19 spread, some say no.
According to a recent blog related to the research work on this aspect published on 15th May 2020 at healthline.com, there is no association between epidemic growth and temperature. The article suggests various essential conclusions. It says that preparations should be based on disease spread in the community rather than on the place.
This study was carried out by Dr. Peter and Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, and St. Michael’s Hospital and published in Canadian Medical Association Journal .
My personal experience suggests that there is no significant association between temperature and the spread because the average temperature of Ahmedabad (Gujarat) these days ( in summer) is about 40C. But the city is amongst the highest spreading rates of COVID-19 in India.
Therefore, I am not sure, but I guess, No. sunny weather won’t help.
8. Will all the people with COVID-19 die?
It is wrong to believe that all the people with COVID-19 die. The scientists estimate the death rates based on the currently available data across the world. Therefore, the death rates vary from a country to other ( depending on the general health, age groups and healthcare available in the country)
I could not find the exact death rates for the whole world, but according to an article in BBC News published on 24th March 2020 , death rates are high (almost ten times higher than average for people above 80 and equally lower for people under 40).
In China, deaths due to COVID-19 were five times high with people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and breathing people (the study was based on an analysis of 44,000 people).
According to the author of this article, death rates amongst confirm cases is a lousy estimate as it may mislead by showing wrong guesses (maybe over or underestimation).
The author, Dr. Robert Cuffe, has a Ph.D. in Medical Statics from the University of Oxford.
But, this is for sure that not all people with COVID-19 will die.
Hope for best
I know that there are a lot of questions related to this widely spread COVID-19, but despite these all myths and facts, nothing is going to be more effective than prevention .
Only useful mantra now is ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ particularly when the cure is not known.
Lets hope that we will defeat this COVID-19 together. Let us try all together to fight this war against humanity all together !