CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: DEBUNKING THE MYTHS
MYTH: CORONAVIRUS IS MAN-MADEREALITY: The rumors, that the virus didn't come from nature, but had instead been created in a lab, originated from unverified and suspicous social media accounts and weren't supported by any credible evidence. One version popularized outside China suggested that a Chinese lab had been secretly working on a bioweapon that got leaked. Another that gained traction among nationalistic parts of the Chinese social mediasphere suggested that the virus originated in the US -- and that many Americans thought to have died of the flu this season were actually killed by COVID-19.
Scientists in both China and the West have widely dismissed these theories, though that hasn't stopped them from spreading. Experts are still trying to figure out the exact source of the virus, but research indicates that it likely originated in bats and was transmitted to an intermediate host before jumping to people – just like its cousin that caused the 2003 SARS epidemic.
MYTH: HOME REMEDIES CAN CURE OR PREVENT THE VIRUS
REALITY: There's no evidence that eating garlic, sipping water every 15 minutes or taking vitamin C will protect people from the new coronavirus. Same goes for using essential oils, colloidal silver and steroids.
Some posts have suggested that putting sesame oil on your body or spraying yourself with alcohol or chlorine will kill the virus. This is also false.
MYTH: YOU NEED TO GET A MASK
REALITY: People who are well do not need to wear face masks, according to the CDC. In fact, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, warns that face masks might actually increase your risk of infection if they aren't worn properly.
Face masks should instead be worn by those who have the new coronavirus and are showing symptoms in order to protect others from being infected. The other people who really need to wear masks are health care workers and people caring for someone infected with the virus in close settings, according to the CDC.
MYTH: HEAT CAN KILL THE VIRUS
REALITY: Hand dryers can't kill the virus, according to WHO. The organization also says that Ultraviolet lamps shouldn't be used to sterilize hands or other areas of the body because the radiation can irritate skin.
MYTH: THE VIRUS CAN BE TRANSMITTED THROUGH MAIL
REALITY: Getting a letter or package from China won't put you at risk of contracting the virus, according to WHO. Researchers are still studying exactly how the new coronavirus infects people, but judging by previous coronaviruses, it doesn't stay alive for long on objects and surfaces.
MYTH: KIDS CAN'T GET THE CORONAVIRUS
REALITY: Anyone of any age can get the new coronavirus, though older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions appear to be more vulnerable to serious infections.
While most confirmed cases of the virus have occurred in adults, children have been infected too, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
MYTH: PEOPLE WHO GET THE CORONAVIRUS WILL DIE
REALITY: People who get coronavirus will typically get sick with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold. Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache and a fever that can last for a couple of days. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own. The disease can be fatal, but those cases are rarer.
For those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young, there's a chance the virus could cause a lower, and much more serious, respiratory tract illness like pneumonia or bronchitis.