"I like to read, cook my own food and note down witty lines. Fact checking reminds of the time when I was a kid and would go hunting for whatever caught my fancy in that moment."
Fake news on COVID-19, including quack medicines, remedies, conspiracy theories, false government advisories, and misleading narratives, morphed images, doctored videos around China and the infection has exploded on the internet over the last few weeks.
Coronavirus now induces the same fear and dread, as a ticking time bomb.
The novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, isn't just a severe acute respiratory syndrome with a terrifying incubation period; it's also the first true epidemic of a polarized, plugged-in era.
The Logical Indian busts top 10 myths surrounding the deadly air-borne virus.
Myth 1: COVID-19 Cannot 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.
Myth 2: Taking A Hot Bath Prevents COVID-19
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. 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.
Myth 3: Swallowing Or Gargling With Bleach, Vinegar, Saltwater, Alcohol Will Protect You From COVID-19
None of these recommendations protects you from getting COVID-19, and some of these practices may be dangerous.
The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus (and other viruses) include:
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.
In addition, you can avoid spreading your own germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.
Myth 4: Eating Meat Will Give You COVID-19
Attacking the non-vegetarians in the country and holding them responsible for "bringing" the disease to India is trending at the moment.
The trend also urges people to give up meat and go vegan if they want to survive the pandemic.
The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets generated when a person, for example, coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
The Logical Indian spoke to G Devegowda, President, Institution of Veterinarians of Poultry Industry who reiterated the same view and called the message, "fake and without any scientific basis."
Therefore, there is no scientific evidence backing the claim that Coronavirus is spreading through chickens.
As long as one is properly cleaning and cooking food items, especially meat, one should be safe and healthy.
Myth 5: A Face Mask Will Protect You From COVID-19
Certain models of professional, tight-fitting respirators (such as the N95) can protect health care workers as they care for infected patients.
For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don't fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected.
People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others.
Stocking up on masks is unnecessary and makes fewer available for sick patients and health care workers who need them.
Myth 6: Cow Urine Can Ward Off COVID-19
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim.
A study titled "Evaluation of antidiabetic, antioxidant effect and safety profile of Gomutra ark in Wistar albino rats" has revealed that cow's urine has a significant anti-diabetic effect which is comparable to standard drug glibenclamide.
This activity may be due to the presence of sulfur in the cow urine or due to its antioxidant activity. But beyond that, there is no empirical evidence to suggest that cow urine can cure or prevent COVID-19 or any other disease.
On February 24, The American Association For The Advancement of Science reported that more than 500 scientists have asked the Indian government to withdraw a call for research proposals on the "uniqueness" of indigenous cows and the curative properties of cow urine, dung, and milk, including potential cancer treatments.
In an online letter, the researchers say the call is "unscientific" and a misdirection of public money at a time when research in India is already facing a financial crunch.
In their letter, scientists note that the call presumes "special physiological status to select breeds of only one species," adding that "to begin a project with such presumptions is prima facie unscientific." Money under the scheme could be "wasted to 'investigate' imaginary qualities derived from religious scriptures," they said.
While cow urine and cow dung might be used in several medicines, it can certainly not cure coronavirus.
Myth 7: Vitamin C Supplements Will Prevent COVID-19
There is no scientific evidence backing this claim, yet.
Taking extra vitamin C does not even ward off the common cold, though it may shorten the duration of a cold if you catch one.
Having said that, vitamin C does serve essential roles in the human body and supports normal immune function. As an antioxidant, the vitamin neutralizes charged particles called free radicals that can damage tissues in the body. It also helps the body synthesize hormones, build collagen and seal off vulnerable connective tissue against pathogens.
So yes, vitamin C should absolutely be included in the daily diet to maintain a healthy immune system. But megadosing on supplements is unlikely to lower the risk of catching COVID-19.
There is no evidence that suggests that other so-called immune-boosting supplements — such as zinc, green tea or echinacea — help to prevent COVID-19, either.
Myth 8: Can Eating Garlic Help Prevent Infection With The New Coronavirus?
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
Myth 9: If You Can Hold Your Breath For 10 Seconds, You Don't Have Coronavirus Infection
This particular myth stems from the fact that if someone infected with coronavirus, by the time someone is having trouble breathing, 50% of their lungs will have pulmonary fibrosis -- a lung disease that causes irreversible scarring and hardening of the lung.
While it's possible for the coronavirus to cause fibrosis, holding one's breath is not a suitable "test" to determine possible lung damage.
Only a doctor can make a proper diagnosis.
If one is having difficulty breathing, from coronavirus or anything else, one should immediately call a healthcare provider.
Myth 10: Getting COVID-19 Is A Death Sentence
About 81% of people who are infected with the coronavirus have mild cases of COVID-19.
According to a study published on February 18 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention about 13.8% report severe illness, meaning they have shortness of breath, or require supplemental oxygen, and about 4.7% are critical, meaning they face respiratory failure, multi-organ failure or septic shock.
The data thus far suggests that only around 2.3% of people infected with COVID-19 die from the virus. People who are older or have underlying health conditions seem to be most at risk of having severe disease or complications. While there's no need to panic, people should take steps to prepare and protect themselves and others from the new coronavirus.
Therefore, this claim is not true.
Source: WHO, Johns Hopkins: Medicine
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