Does COVID-19 spread in hot weather? Will Vitamin C supplements help? Today we take on COVID-19 Myths and Facts, and answer all your COVID-19 questions.
COVID-19 is spreading far and wide, and it has pushed India among the top 5 countries with the most cases in the world. Along with the coronavirus, fear is also spreading, and along with loads and loads of misinformation.
You must have come across some Whatsapp forward or the other that contains ‘information’ about the virus and the disease. We know that you must be having several questions about these and that’s why we’ve decided to do some myth-busting today!
Here are the most common COVID-19 myths and facts, so you can know the difference and protect yourself accordingly. All the information given below is true as of 25th June 2020, and the references are mentioned at the end of the post.
COVID-19 Myths and Facts – Know the Difference
At Risk Individuals
1. Most people who get COVID-19 will get very sick or die.
Fact: Most of the people who get COVID-19 get a mild version of the illness, and many don’t even have symptoms. The majority of these cases recover on their own, without medical intervention. Even those who have symptoms recover in a few weeks with proper treatment. Only 1 in six people will get seriously ill, and only 1 in 100 is estimated to die from COVID-19.
Fact: This is a myth that has led to young people throwing caution to the winds and going out in public with no protection whatsoever. While COVID-19 is more dangerous for older people or people with chronic illnesses, anyone can get the disease. There have been many cases where young, seemingly healthy people get seriously sick, and doctors are still trying to figure it out. This graph from Statista shows how people in the 21-40 age group are the most affected.
3. Children can’t catch COVID-19.
Fact: As mentioned in the point above, anyone can get COVID-19, regardless of their age. That said, children seem to be affected less – according to a study in February, only 2.2% of children under age 19 were infected in Hubei province. This could be largely due to the fact that children are less likely to exhibit symptoms, and many cases may have gone unreported. On the other hand, the WHO has found that certain clusters of children have been reported to have Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which may be related to COVID-19.
4. You need to stay away from people from certain communities or regions.
Fact: COVID-19 is a great equalizer – it targets every race, nationality, religion, age, gender and ethnicity equally. The only differences may arise due to environmental factors. It is important during this time to show compassion to people who are infected, and to avoid falling prey to propaganda of any kind.
Fact: There have been a few reports of cats, dogs and even zoo animals getting infected with the coronavirus. Yet, there is currently no evidence to prove that pets can get infected or can transmit the disease to humans. That said, it is safer to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after handling pets or any of their things.
6. It’s not safe to receive letters or packages from China or other infected countries.
Fact: This fear is due to the fact that the packages may contain coronavirus on them which will get transmitted to us. However, the coronavirus cannot survive for long on packages, and even if it does, it’s not active to cause an infection. There is no evidence of anyone getting infected from a package, even if it’s from an international location.
7. COVID-19 cannot spread in warm and sunny weather.
Fact: This is probably the most widespread rumor about COVID_19, and due to which people were exposing themselves to bright sunlight. While sun exposure to an extent is healthy for you and can increase Vitamin D, it cannot kill the coronavirus. Coronaviruses can survive at high temperatures and can spread in any season and weather. Countries across the globe in different seasons have already had the coronavirus.
8. COVID-19 cannot spread in snow or cold weather.
Fact: Just as summer is not a dull season for COVID-19, there is no evidence at all to prove that the snow or low temperatures can kill coronaviruses. Even if the temperature dips outside, the human body will continue to remain at 37 degrees Celsius, and the coronavirus can survive at this temperature.
Fact: The coronavirus is a respiratory virus, and it’s spread via droplets when a person sneezes or coughs, from his mouth or nose. There is no evidence to prove that mosquitoes can transmit COVID-19. However, they can spread other illnesses like dengue and malaria, so they should be kept away.
Fact: House flies can transmit all kinds of diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery and others, but COVID-19 is not one of them. There is no evidence till date to prove that house flies have any role in spreading coronaviruses. However, you should still follow common hygiene practices like keeping food and trash cans covered.
11. COVID-19 can be spread by shoes.
Fact: If you were to swab the underside of a person’s shoe and test it for coronavirus, you may find traces on it. However, getting infected from this is highly unlikely, so shoes aren’t to be feared. Yet, it’s better to be safe and leave your shoes outside your home, especially if you have babies or small children who play on the floor.
12. The 5G network spreads COVID-19.
Fact: This rumor was born due to the fact that Wuhan was one of the first cities in China to roll out the 5G network. However, this is purely coincidental and there is no proof that viruses can use 5G to communicate or spread. For instance, many countries with almost no 5G coverage have had a large number of COVID-19 cases, like Iran.
13. Wearing gloves can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Fact: Wearing gloves provides no additional benefit in terms of COVID-19 protection, unless you’re a health worker. Your gloves can still get contaminated and if you touch your face with them, you can get infected. Using your hands and washing them regularly is more effective than wearing gloves.
Fact: UV lamps and devices are often used in hospitals, but they kill germs only under certain conditions. They are not a reliable mode of sterilzation or disinfection. What’s more, UV light can harm the body and cause skin irritation.
Fact: This is a by product of the rumor that coronaviruses cannot survive at high temperatures. Drinking warm water first thing in the morning is a good habit, but hot water or any hot beverage with any combination of spices is of no use against the coronavirus.
Fact: Never spray strong disinfectants on your body or on your family members. Rubbing alcohol or other kinds of alcohol for household purposes are not meant for use on the body. Sanitizers contain alcohol but those are formulated for safe use on the body.
Fact: This would be great, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that! Increased use of alcohol will only put you at higher risk of getting complications from COVID-19, along with other health illnesses. The WHO has specifically released a statement related to alcohol consumption.
18. You will know if you have COVID-19.
Fact: There is no way of knowing if you have COVID-19 for sure without doing a lab test. Several studies across the world have shown that a large percentage of COVID-19 patients show no symptoms at all, and there is no way to know without testing. Even if you have symptoms, the virus could be in your body for 14 days before symptoms appear.
19. Thermal scanners can help detect infected people.
Fact: One of the most iconic images of COVID-19 that we’ll always remember is the image of a thermal scanner pressed against someone’s forehead. While all organizations including airports use thermal scanners, they are only useful for detecting people who have a high temperature, i.e. a fever. The scanners will miss people who are infected but not yet sick, and catch people with fever unrelated to COVID-19.
20. If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds, it means you don’t have the virus
Fact: This ‘test’ promotes a sense of false security among the general public, and may even be dangerous for some. Doing this can only prove whether you have any kind of respiratory illness; it is no indication of coronavirus infection. A lab test is the only way to confirm COVID-19.
21. COVID-19 is just like the flu.
Fact: While COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of the flu, they are not the same. Both COVID-19 and the flu manifest as fever and cough, and they can both lead to pneumonia. However, as per current numbers, COVID-19 appears to be much more deadlier than the common flu.
Fact: Antibiotics are medicine that work against bacteria, not viruses, and COVID-19 is caused by the coronavirus. However, if a patient is hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, antibiotics may be administered for a bacterial co-infection.
23. Hydroxychloroquine is the cure for COVID-19.
Fact: At the time of writing this, there is no proven cure for COVID-19. While most people recover on their own, some may need medical support. The use of hydroxycholorquine to treat a coronavirus infection is still being studied and it cannot be touted as the ultimate cure for COVID-19.
Fact: Pneumonia vaccines, like the Pneumococcal vaccine and the Hib (Haemophilus influenza) vaccine will not work against the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 does not yet have a vaccine, although scientists across the world are working to get it out in time.
Fact: Again, coronaviruses can survive at high temperatures, and they can definitely survive in the heat from hand dryers. You can use the hand dryer to dry your hands after washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds instead.
26. Vitamin C supplements can prevent COVID-19.
Fact: Vitamin C is an important nutrient and essential for strong immunity. However, consuming Vitamin C supplements or foods rich in Vitamin C cannot keep off the coronavirus. You can still have it for improved overall health and wellbeing, but be careful of sticking within the recommended daily allowance.
27. Rinsing your nose with saline will help prevent COVID-19.
Fact: There is not much evidence that rinsing the nose can help with common cold symptoms, and absolutely no evidence to prove its efficacy against the coronavirus. Some people may find symptomatic relief, but it cannot prevent or cure COVID-19.
28. Taking hot baths can prevent COVID-19.
Fact: For the last time, coronaviruses can survive at high temperatures! It doesn’t matter how hot or cold your bath is, when your body temperature will be 37 degrees Celsius at all times. Washing your hands in soap and water of any temperature is what’ll help.
Fact: Garlic and pepper are spices with many health benefits, and they also help strengthen the immune system. But no spice or fruit or vegetable or any food of any kind can actually stop someone from getting infected with the COVID-19 once he or she comes in contact with the virus.
Fact: Only soap and water or an alcohol based sanitizer can be applied on your body and be expected to kill the coronavirus. Oil massages or spa treatments will not prevent or treat COVID-19.
Scientifically Proven Ways to Stay Safe from COVID-19
- Avoid crowds and gatherings
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet or 2 meters from other people
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- Cover your face with a mask when going out in public
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces everyday
- Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India
- John Hopkins Medicine
- John Hopkins University
- Rochester Regional Health
- Mayo Clinic
- Times of India
- Economic Times
- Live Science
- Medical News Today