As the number of people being affected by COVID-19 continues to increase worldwide, the myths and misconceptions about this pandemic too are floating all around.
In this article, we will try to get your attention to the very common mistruths surrounding us.
We will also try to point out the conspiracy theories associated with such false claims and understand the reality of these common myths about COVID-19.
List of Common Myths About COVID-19
As the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing respiratory disease called COVID-19 continues to create unprecedented public health crises, experts are also busy combating the spread of misinformation linked to it.
Here is a list of 15 common myths about the COVID-19 floating around us:
Myth 1: Increase in temperature and humidity will kill the virus
Generally, earlier coronaviruses are known to survive for shorter durations with the rise in temperature and humidity. But as of now, scientists do not know for sure how the rise in temperature and humidity will make the SARS-CoV-2 less effective.
So, by saying that the transmission of this novel coronavirus will stop with onset of summer, will be a bogus claim. The Graphic shown for COVID-19 deaths further confirms that COVID-19 is not confined to only the colder regions of our planet.
Fact 1: SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted to any climate, including regions with hot and humid conditions.
Myth 2: Only old people are affected by COVID-19
Undoubtedly, people aged 65 and above are more prone to this disease. It is mainly due to their weak immunity and underlying medical conditions, but singling out this specific category is clearly a misinformation. In India, as on 1st May 2020, 50% deaths reported were below the age of 60.
Fact 2: People of all age groups can be affected by COVID-19, older people are more likely to become its victim.
Myth 3: Holding your breath for 30 seconds can ensure you are free from COVID-19
Many tough questions are being raised on the validity of the already existing testing techniques like RT-PCR and Rapid Antibody tests. On the other hand, there are people who are promoting unverified techniques to show whether you have COVID-19 or not.
In this technique, you need to hold your breath for 30-60 seconds, if you are able to do it comfortably for this duration, it will confirm that you are COVID negative case. Such methods are completely unscientific and should not be encouraged on the media channels.
Fact 3: Being able to hold your breath for 30 secs or more without coughing or feeling discomfort does not mean that you are free from COVID-19.
Myth 4: Hot bath will prevent you from coronavirus
Regardless of the temperature of the water used in hot baths, the temperature of the body remains ~ 37 C / 98.7 F. Thus, there is no scientific evidence suggesting that we should use hot baths to prevent the COVID-19.
Fact 4: Taking a hot both can not prevent you from COVID-19.
Myth 5: Ayurvedic and herbal medicines can cure COVID-19
Despite having a lot of evidence based research, allopathic experts are still reluctant to recommend any single medicine for COVID-19 treatment.
On the other hand, AYUSH ministry in India released an advisory for the use of Homeopathic and Ayurvedic medicines as cure for symptomatic cases of COVID-19.
The president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) described that advisory as ‘quackery’ and further questions, “The strains of coronavirus undergo mutations and changes. How can a generic treatment advisory be given?”
Later in the day AYUSH ministry modified its advisory focussing on the immunity boosting aspects of herbal medicines rather than cure.
The government action however encouraged organizations like Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. already known for its suspicious claims in the past for treating Cancer, HIV and Homosexuality without having followed scientific protocols and regulatory approval guidelines.
Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. claimed to have found “evidence-based ayurvedic cure” namely Coronil to treat COVID-19 with 100% success rate, but later retreated from their earlier claim and started talking about immunity boosting characteristics of their new medicine Coronil.
Fact 5: As it stands, there is no medicine recommended to prevent or treat the COVID-19.
Myth 6: Intake of Vitamin-C can decrease infection
Vitamin-C is always considered to be a strong immunity booster, yet there is no evidence of using it as a cure for preventing or treating COVID-19.
Fact 6: Intake of Vitamin-C do not cure this pandemic.
Myth 7: Eating meat products can cause COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2 does not spread through the consumption of meat products like chicken, mutton or fish. Spreading such myths without any proof leads to economic problems for people associated with the meat industry.
Fact 7: This virus does not spread by eating meat products.
Myth 8: Eating garlic can prevent the infection
This myth is also quite famous in India because of its usage in almost most of our dishes. Garlic is a healthy food widely used around the world for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
Despite that there is no evidence that it can be used to protect people from this pandemic.
Fact 8: Garlic is a healthy food but not a remedy for COVID-19.
Myth 9: Disinfectants spray can kill the virus
Use of disinfectants – alcohols or bleach could be fatal if sprayed on humans and animals. These are only useful if applied on surfaces of materials with proper care.
Such disinfectants can be poisonous if ingested. They may cause irritation in the skin, possibly damage it and can also affect our eyes.
In one of the shocking incidents in UP’s Bareilly district in India, the migrant workers including men, women and children were sprayed with poisonous disinfectants by local administration.
The district municipality officials later claimed that they were asked by the local administration to sanitize the migrants workers by using Sodium Hypochlorite solution.
In another bizarre incident, the president of the USA, Donald Trump in one of his press briefing suggested medical scientists to research whether coronavirus might be treatable by injecting disinfectant directly into the body.
Such unscientific and irresponsible approach from higher authorities is absolutely condemnable. It undermines the sincere efforts of our real corona warriors and rather solidifies the people’s belief in such myths about COVID-19.
Fact 9: Spraying disinfectants can be dangerous and do not help in protecting us from SARS-CoV-2.
Myth 10: You can get COVID-19 just by using Chinese products
Various scientists and experts are working at their level best to study the behaviour of this novel coronavirus.
So far no evidence has been found about someone getting COVID-19 due to packages coming directly from China or any other country overseas.
Since the survival time of SARS-CoV-2 on the surfaces of various materials is extremely small, the likelihood of getting COVID-19 is very small.
Fact 10: You can not get infected with COVID-19 by using products coming from China or other countries.
Myth 11: Drinking alcohol will save you from COVID-19
While rubbing alcohol based sanitizers are useful in disinfecting our external bodies, that does not mean that its intake could be beneficial in the similar manner.
In fact, as per WHO’s health advisory, “Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and reduces the ability to deal with the infectious diseases”.
Fact 11: Drinking alcohol does not protect you from COVID-19.
Myth 12: 5G mobile network created COVID-19
With the advancement in technology, the internet providers are switching from 4G to 5G networks.
A number of conspiracy theories are also propagating in the market linking the 5G network to the spread of COVID-19.
In order to promote their theory some people have even gone to the extent of citing research publications.
On investigation it was observed that the publication actually dealt with the bacterial growth due to electromagnetic signals. But, SARS-CoV-2 is not a bacteria but a virus.
In fact COVID-19 is spreading enormously even in countries like India where 5G mobile network is yet to reach.
Fact 12: 5G networks do not spread COVID-19.
Myth 13: Antibiotics can treat COVID-19
By now it is well established that SARS-CoV-2 is a virus and not bacteria. So, antibiotics (deals with bacteria) are not recommended to be used in preventing or treating the COVID-19.
Fact 13: Antibiotics do not work against this coronavirus.
Myth 14: COVID-19 will spread by mosquito bites
With the onset of summer, this myth about the novel coronavirus entering your body due to mosquito bite is getting popular.
To date there is no evidence suggesting its spread from mosquito bites.
In fact, this virus spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
Fact 14: SARS-CoV-2 can not be transmitted through mosquito bites.
Myth 15: COVID-19 will spread by house flies
Now having understood the way this new coronavirus spreads, using the same logic there is no reason to believe in the misconception of its spread by house flies.
Fact 15: SARS-CoV-2 can not be transmitted through house flies.
Most disappointing thing about the popularity of these common myths is something that really shocked me!
I am extremely sad to find the origin of such myths in most of the cases. Unfortunately it is coming from those sources which rather owns a huge responsibility to bust such misinformation.
For instance it is the responsibility of the mainstream media and government sources to aware the citizens about such misinformation. But, they seem to work against their own primary responsibility.
Keeping this in mind, it becomes all the more important for us to NOT get misled by such dishonest sources. Get the information from the most reliable and authentic platforms.
In a web of information surrounding us, we must be very careful to get WELL INFORMED than misinformed.
I hope you might have enjoyed reading this article. Please share this article containing facts about the common myths about the COVID-19.
I would like to credit various authentic sources (links given in the references) in the compilation of this article on the common misconceptions and myths about the COVID-19.