Coronavirus – Myths vs Facts

The coronavirus outbreak has now been declared as a global public health emergency. COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus which first originated in the Wuhan province in China has now spread to more than 200 countries all over the world.

The virus named 2019-nCoV was first documented in late December 2019. Since then around 81,550 cases have been confirmed in China and 912,500 cases globally. As of April 2020, more than 45,500 people have been killed.

The international community has taken severe precautions and strong measures to stop the spread of the disease. Countries like the United States, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Russia have imposed travel bans, mandatory quarantine, border restrictions and full lockdown of cities to combat the infection. International airports around the world have started screening protocols to identify potentially infected passengers, passengers arriving from risk zones are being denied entry.

On-arrival visas are being postponed for all flights arriving from China. Passengers arriving from China as well as any of the affected countries are undergoing extensive examination and if necessary, quarantine to eliminate the risk of spreading the virus in foreign countries.

Along with the spread of the COVID-19, various rumors and myths are also surfacing about its origin and treatment.  Most of these rumors are false and they may cause mass hysteria and panic fi not rooted out. Moreover, misconceptions may further the damage caused by this already deadly virus.

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So in this article, we will focus on the myths regarding the novel coronavirus.

Myths regarding COVID-19:

The following are the most common myths and misconceptions about the COVID-19:

It spreads through pet animals:

There is a popular theory that the novel coronavirus has jumped from domestic animals to humans. However, there is no evidence to suggest the household pets can acquire or spread coronavirus.

It is true that most of the coronaviruses affect animals. Only 7 strains are known to affect human beings. The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is an example of this. Its exact origin is still under investigation. It is believed that the virus mutated and made the jump from bats to humans. The genetic structure of the virus is mostly similar to a strain found to affect bats.

Antibiotics can treat Novel Coronavirus:

No Antibiotic medication can treat the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Antibiotic drugs are only effective against bacterial infection. Coronavirus is a virus. So, antibiotics have no effect on treating them. So far, antibiotics are being used to treat the symptoms of the disease and combat any respiratory tract illness as much as possible.

However, if you have been prescribed antibiotics for coronavirus infection, it might be to prevent bacterial co-infection associated with the weak immune system.

Specific medication can treat Novel Coronavirus:

There is no specific medication for novel coronavirus till now.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is still very elusive. However, symptomatic care and support to treat the patients have shown promise to improve the condition in case of severe illness. A huge number of patients have already recovered from the coronavirus. As of April 2020, the number of cured patients is 191,826 worldwide. Those with a healthy immune system can fight COVID-19 and naturally sustain the body long enough for the virus to die out on its own.

The WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts to investigate the n0vel coronavirus and develop specific treatment or preventive measures.

It only affects the elderly:

Anybody can be infected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

People with a history of respiratory system illnesses such as asthma, pneumonia, etc. are more vulnerable to infection. Similarly, weakened immune systems like that of children or the elderly are also at a higher risk of being infected by coronavirus.

It is fatal:

The novel coronavirus is a deadly disease. However, it is not fatal.

Since its appearance in late December last year, 81.554 cases have been confirmed in China and there have been 3,312 fatalities. Worldwide the number of reported cases is 912,500 and the death toll is over 45,500. The mortality rate for COVID-19 is 2%. For perspective, the SARS outbreak of 2003 was 9.6%. The MERS outbreak of 2012 was even deadlier at 41%.

In this day and age, it’s necessary to stay informed about all the aspects of this global outbreak and also not be swayed by rumors and myths. By being aware of the facts you can drastically reduce your chance of being affected.

Read more about coronavirus here.

I'm a medical student from Bangladesh. As a doctor in the making, I'm fascinated by the regular advancements of medical science. This fuels my passion for trying to follow a health-conscious lifestyle. I love writing and sharing thoughts and ideas. I hope that my work can reach out and help people to enjoy a healthy, happy life. Muhtasim Munir MBBS (3rd year) Armed Forces Medical College