World Health Organisation (WHO): Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Myth busters

While the internet and social media is full of information, mostly it is entertainment and opinion – NOT fact! 

Read below if you want to know what is fact about COVID-19.

5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks.  COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.  People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose. 

Title: ENG-Mythbusting-nCoV (15) - Description: Blue background with the two paragraphs below, on the lefthand side, and the phrase ' FACT:5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19.

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks.  COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.
 
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.  People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

Jargon: respiratory means any part of the body to do with breathing.

Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is.  Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19.  To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.  

Title: FACT: Exposing yourself to the sum or to temperatures higher than 25C DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - Description: Blue background with icon depicting a sun and, next to it, a cartoon person holding their head and coughing.

On the lefthand side it reads:
You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is.  Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19.  To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

You can recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  Catching the new coronavirus DOES NOT mean you will have it for life.

Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you catch the disease, make sure you treat your symptoms. If you have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early – but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

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Jargon: eliminate means to get rid of.

Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever.  Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia.  The best way to confirm if you have the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test.  You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

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Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous

No.  Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems. 

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Jargon: excessive means a lot too much.

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.  Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19.  The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands.  By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

FACT: Coronavirus transmission in hot and humid climates

Jargon: transmitted means passed from one person, or place, to another.

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases.  The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather.  The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

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Jargon: external means on the outside.

Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease

Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19.  Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower.  Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you.  The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands.  By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

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The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.  The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.  To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.  Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

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Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No.  Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV.  To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.  Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

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Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?

UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

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How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever.  This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

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Jargon: A thermal scanner is a machine that can measure the level of heat in any area, person or thing.

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?

No.  Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.  Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).  Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

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Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

No.  Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.  Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is strongly recommended to protect your health.

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Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

No.  There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. 

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold.  However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

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Jargon: Saline is water with salt added to it.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some anti-microbial properties.  However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

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Jargon: Antimicrobial means attacks microbes

Does the new coronavirus only affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).  Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. 

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

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Jargon: Pre-existing medical conditions means conditions that someone already had before COVID-19.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, so, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalised for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

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Jargon: Bacterial co-infection means having an infection caused by a bacteria as well as having a virus like COVID-19

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care.  Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials.  WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

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Jargon: ‘Optimised supportive care’ means the maximum effective care.  ‘Accelerate’ means to make quicker or faster.

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