Common Myths about Coronavirus

There are many myths about coronavirus spreading around, primarily through social networks. The world is facing a very serious situation and it isn’t the time to pay attention to or believe information that doesn’t come from reliable sources.
Common Myths about Coronavirus

Last update: 17 March, 2020

Along with COVID-19, many myths have emerged. Social networks, in particular, are full of fake news, especially regarding possible cures for the disease or the scope and dangers of the pandemic. All of these myths about coronavirus are harmful because they create confusion and eventually induce people to implement practices that could be risky or useless. Therefore, the first recommendation is to only consult authorized and reliable sources to prevent misunderstandings.

What happens with the pandemic will largely depend on your ability to address it in a smart way. To achieve this, it’s best to get quality information and to follow the recommendations of health authorities. The following are some of those myths about coronavirus that we need to debunk.

Common myths about Coronavirus

Myth: Coronavirus is one of the most serious diseases in history

Due to the extensive media coverage of this disease, people are starting to believe that this is the worst pandemic in history when it really isn’t. What makes coronavirus dangerous is the fact that it’s really contagious, not its lethality.

Another factor that has ringed alarm bells is the fact that this virus is new and, therefore, unknown. As experts still don’t know much about it, it isn’t possible to predict how it will behave. As time passes, they might discover data they yet don’t know.

At the moment, according to the WHO, the mortality rate of this disease is approximately 3.4%. This means that, for every hundred people infected, three die. Although every disease that leads to death should be cause for concern, in this case, only a minority have fatal consequences.

A man wearing a face mask in the subway.
Many myths about coronavirus are circulating, which makes it harder to control the pandemic.

Myth: It’s just a common flu

At the other end of the spectrum are those who minimize the dangers of the pandemic. It’s true that the disease only causes mild symptoms in 80% of cases. But it’s also true that it’s a disease that affects the lungs, which are vital organs.

Likewise, it’s still unclear how the virus behaves. Also, experts aren’t sure whether it can change or not. In short, we’re facing a threat we don’t fully know yet. Thus, in such a situation, the only smart thing is to be very cautious and avoid underestimating the risks.

Moreover, as we already noted, this particular virus is very contagious. If the number of infections increases, the number of deaths also increases, since the risk that it can reach the most vulnerable people, including very young children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems, increases.

Home remedies and myths about coronavirus

Several of the myths about coronavirus are related to the use of some home remedies that could halt or cure the disease. In this regard, we must say that there’s no scientific evidence on the effectiveness of such remedies in this case.

For example, it’s been said that garlic can stop the infection. While the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that this plant has some antimicrobial properties, the truth is that nothing proves that it’s effective against coronavirus. The same is true of colloidal silver and “miraculous” mineral supplements.

Currently, there are no drugs, much fewer home remedies, to treat coronavirus. Needless to say, it’s very important to avoid self-medicating, as this may mask the symptoms of COVID-19 and generate greater health risks.

A woman holding garlic.
It’s a myth that garlic can fight coronavirus. There’s no evidence to support this claim.

Hygiene isn’t a myth about coronavirus…

Finally, it’s important to highlight that washing your hands frequently and applying antibacterial gel are proven measures to reduce the risk of infection. It’s estimated that washing your hands helps reduce the chance of getting the virus up to 50%. However, the most effective measure is to minimize contact with others and go into quarantine if you suspect you’ve been exposed.

…But the need for powerful disinfectants is

However, it isn’t true that you have to apply a household disinfectant on your hands to increase the chances of avoiding infection. Nor is it true that face masks prevent the entry of the virus. COVID-19 only survives a few hours on objects, which is why it’s difficult to get infected by this route.

However, it’s always advisable to wash your hands after touching objects that are touched by many people.

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  • Coria-Lorenzo, José de Jesús, et al. “Influenza y los virus aviar: la amenaza latente de un nuevo virus pandémico.” Acta Pediátrica de México 40.3 (2019): 154-165.