Ever since social media platforms happened, there has been a lot of fake news doing the rounds. Unfortunately, we’re not spared from these fallacies despite the gravity of the coronavirus situation. The current pandemic is no laughing matter but it shouldn’t cause widespread panic. The best way to deal with it is to be vigilant when it comes to these fake posts. Simply put, one of the keys to surviving this global situation is to know what the COVID-19 facts are.
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COVID-19 Facts vs Fake News
To know the facts, we need to look at what’s false. Sadly, there are people who instead of helping are doing more damage by spreading fake news about the coronavirus. Their intentions may be pure but the fact is that you should do a little research before posting something on the internet or giving advice and medical tips to other people.
Most of these false claims that are been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites are actually quite good for the body. On their own, these tips help you stay healthy. The problem is that they have not been proven to be effective against COVID-19. They give this false pretense that you are safe from the coronavirus if you follow these tips when, in fact, you are not.
Fake News: Garlic protects you from the coronavirus
Fact: Proper hand washing protects you from the coronavirus
One of these popular tips being shared in recent weeks involves garlic. The post says garlic can prevent coronavirus infection. Unless further scientific study is conducted proving otherwise, this is a fallacy. The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses that there is no evidence that garlic can fight the coronavirus.
Not taking anything away from garlic, though. It is good for your body. In fact, garlic is effective against the common cold and flu thanks mainly to its antimicrobial properties. It is also a fact, however, that the common cold and flu are different from the coronavirus.
Aside from having zero evidence that it can protect you from COVID-19, garlic can also pose as a health risk when too much is consumed. As with practically everything else, too much of a good thing is bad.
This is what one Chinese woman learned the hard way. She ate 3.3 pounds of garlic in two weeks after reading a post that raw garlic protects against the coronavirus. Ironically, she ended up in the hospital because of an inflamed throat. Garlic overdose can also lead to bloating, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues. There’s also a higher risk of bleeding, which is dangerous for people taking blood thinners.
One of the COVID-19 facts that have been said over and over again is that washing your hands properly with soap and water is the key to fighting the wretched novel coronavirus disease. It’s a no-brainer really. We’ve been taught since we were children to always wash our hands before eating, after using the toilet, and when we get dirty.
Who knew that something often taken for granted such as the regular soap is your best weapon against a pandemic? Well, scientists and medical professionals already knew that. By now, everyone should, too.
Soap kills Sars-CoV-2. It’s that plain and simple. If you want the scientific explanation, soap contains amphiphiles which are fat-like substances that are built like the lipids or the fatty bilayer in the membrane of viruses. The “glue” that keeps the virus on the skin is loosened when soap interacts with these lipids. Viruses are made up of lipids, ribonucleic acid, and proteins that are fortunately not held together by strong covalent bonds. This makes it easy for soap and water to break them apart.
While handwashing is pretty simple, it’s a struggle in some parts of the world. According to UNICEF, only 3 out 5 people around the world have access to basic handwashing facilities.
If you don’t have a ready access to water and soap, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make sure you get some all over your hands and that you rub them well until the hand sanitizer dries up.
Fake News: You need antibacterial soap to fight coronavirus
Fact: Regular soap will do as long as you wash properly
The kind of hand soap you use is not as important as the way you wash your hands. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, stressed that “there is no clear evidence that antibacterial soap works better than any other soap.”
Regular soap is enough to break the bonds of the viruses’ building blocks and to remove them from the skin. You don’t need special kinds of soap such as antibacterial ones.
What matters is how well and how long you wash your hands. That means you have to scrub your whole hand including the palms, back of the hands, between fingers, wrists, and the fingertips. Make sure you get the dirt and germs out from under your nails.
You also need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Less than that means you remove less of the virus. If you need help remembering this, sing the “Birthday Song” twice while washing. If that’s a tad too boring, use your favorite song to making your own hand washing meme on Wash Your Lyrics. The meme also shows how to properly scrub your hands. Check out the video below from the World Health Organization to see how it’s exactly done. Rinse thoroughly and dry your hands with paper towel or clean cloth.
Fake News: Keep mouth moist and drink lots of water to thwart infection
Fact: Social distancing and self-quarantine will prevent infection
Staying hydrated and keeping your mouth moist are healthy things to do but they have yet to be scientifically proven to be effective against the coronavirus.
Drink lots of water by all means. Your body need at least half a gallon of water a day. It needs more when you’re sick and losing more water than usual like when you have diarrhea.
Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t depend on drinking water and keeping your mouth wet to protect you from COVID-19. You shouldn’t go out thinking that the bottle of water in your hand is enough to keep you safe.
The right thing to do is to stay away from other people as much as possible since the coronavirus can be contracted through close contact with the infected. Touching surfaces with the virus then touching your face is another way you can get infected.
The best option is still to self-quarantine and keep your room or home disinfected. If that is not possibly, you should at least limit contact with other people. Social distancing is also necessary, especially if you’re out. Keep at least a meter (3 feet) of space between you and the next person. These days, everyone will understand why you’re keeping your distance. In fact, some may get mad if you get too close for comfort.
Fake News: Drinking water every 15 minutes will flush out the coronavirus
Fact: Disinfecting every now and then will protect you from coronavirus
Again, drinking plenty of water a day is good for your health. It will not, however, remove the virus from your body as what a “Japanese doctor” supposedly said on a Facebook post. The post said drinking water every 15 minutes will flush out coronavirus that entered through the mouth. There is no scientific data supporting this so it best to label it a rumor or fake news.
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Fake News: Someone with coronavirus is not contagious unless symptomatic
Fact: Study shows symptoms appear about 5 days after infection
It’s only been around four months since the first coronavirus case emerged in Wuhan, China. So far, experts are doing their best to know more about the dreaded disease. As hard and diligent these professionals have been working, the coronavirus seems to be a step or two ahead. As the world continues to take measures, the need for further study has become evident.
When it comes to the virus’ contagiousness, this is what we know so far: symptoms start five days after infection. That means an infected person is contagious even if he or she does not show any of the symptoms. The problem lies with people who think you can only be infected by a patient with the symptoms.
The common signs that you may be infected are fever, cough, respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, and difficulty in breathing. Symptoms of severe cases include pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and kidney failure.
Donovan Mitchell, one of the NBA players confirmed to have the coronavirus, was at the Del City High School days before he was diagnosed. No one in the school has tested positive as of this writing but it’s alarming that the people there seem to be misinformed.
“From the conversations we’ve had with state health officials, including the state epidemiologist the risk is zero,” said the school’s superintendent. “To be contagious you have to be symptomatic.”
If you believe what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say, the coronavirus may be spread by an infected person even if the patient is not exhibiting any symptoms.
“Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” according to the CDC website.
The CDC also said that the infected are “most contagious when they are most symptomatic.” A study by John Hopkins University also showed that people who are infected show symptoms “roughly five days after infection.”
So far the belief that you have to be symptomatic to be contagious is false. This misinformation can be deadly. Until the experts come out with proof that this statement is true, it’s best that we don’t downplay such things. One good tip in dealing with COVID-19 is to have the mindset that you already have the virus. This way, you’ll be more careful with your actions.
Fake News: Holding your breath for 10 seconds will tell you you’re not infected
Fact: You need to undergo a laboratory tests to know if your infected
A Facebook post, supposed to be from a Stanford hospital board member, claims that you can do a self-test to determine if you caught the coronavirus. The post said that you have to hold your breath for 10 seconds then see if there is some sort of discomfort. If there is, that’s supposed to be a sign that you’re infected. Stanford has already released a statement that the fake news did not originate from them.
The best way to determine of you are infected is to watch out for the symptoms. If you have them, quarantine yourself immediately and inform medical professionals or the local authorities. You will then be advised on the details of being tested if necessary.
If you do show the symptoms, please don’t hide this from the authorities. You’re only endangering your loved ones if you do so.
(Related: What Would I Do to Survive Being Quarantined)
Fake News: There are products that can cure or treat COVID-19
Fact: There is no cure yet but experts all over the world are busting their arses to find one
A number of companies and individuals are claiming to have found a cure or a way to treat the coronavirus. We don’t know if they really just want to help out or have a more sinister reason behind their actions but they’re doing everyone a disservice. These so-called cures lack the scientific evidence and certification from governing bodies that they can indeed treat coronavirus.
Jim Bakker, a televangelist and fraudster who spent time in jail, went on air to promote a “cure” for coronavirus. The Silver Solution supposedly can “totally eliminate” coronavirus, according to naturopath Sherrill Sellman.
The $80 Silver Solution eliminated certain strains of the coronavirus, Sellman claimed. However, shed also mentioned that it hasn’t been tested on the particular strain that’s spreading across the globe right now. Bakker was later sued by the state of Missouri for selling fake “treatment” and misleading customers. He has since stopped selling the product on his website.
Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was also ordered, this time by the New York attorney general, to stop promoting his supposed coronavirus cures on his online show. Jones, who is the same guy that said the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, also claimed that the coronavirus is “synthetic and man-made.”
Jordan Sather, a YouTuber with over 210,000 subscribers, is claiming that a “miracle mineral supplement” or MMS “can wipe out coronavirus.” The main ingredient of MMS is chlorine dioxide, which is a bleaching agent.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend drinking MMS or other sodium chlorite products such as Chloride Dioxide (CD) Protocol and Water Purification Solution (WPS). These products are promoted as remedies for serious medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, HIV, and even coronavirus. However, there is no scientific evidence to back these claims.
Have you ever heard of the old adage, “prevention is better than cure?” I’m sure you have. Unless you’re a scientist with background on the subject, it’s best to live this to the experts. Focus on keeping you and your loved ones safe from the coronavirus.
Fake News: Harry Potter is sick of the coronavirus
Fact: Daniel Radcliffe is fine
It’s true that it feels like we’re in a disaster film or even a horror movie right now. It’s real life, though. It’s so real that larger-than-life personalities such as power couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, NBA stars Rudy Gobert and Mitchell, soccer players Daniele Rugani, Paulo Dybala, and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, British health minister Nadine Dorries, and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Canada’s prime minister, have all been tested positive with COVID-19.
One famous personality that has been reported to be down with the coronavirus is Daniel Radcliffe. A fake BBC Twitter account started the rumor to which Radcliffe later denied.
“I think it’s just because I look ill all the time so you can believably say it about me because I’m very pale,” Radcliffe said.
The actor is laughing it off the matter but such irresponsible fake news may come with dire consequences. For one thing, the victims of hoaxes and their loved ones go through mental anguish. There’s also the possibility that the person will be ostracized by those who believe these fake news.
The COVID-19 facts we have listed here are true as of this writing. There’s always the possibility that further studies will be made on these claims. Some may be debunked, some may be further proven. It’s therefore important to stay up-to-date on what is happening around you. Gentleman Pirate Club will do its best to update you on how to deal with the coronavirus.