Corona virus, COVID-19, is spiraling all over the world and so is the spread of misinformation and myth. In Pakistan, the situation is even more concerning due to delayed testing and a lack of adequate public health infrastructure to prepare for this pandemic.
However, aside from the institutional level what is of utmost importance currently is personal hygiene. Right now, it is imperative for everyone to ensure that they are educating themselves responsibly from credible sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), fact-checking and refraining from spreading un-verified, false information.
For this reason, I think it is critical to myth-bust and do our part in spreading traceable, fact-checked information. Let’s look at the five most popular myths surrounding the Corona virus:
- The Corona virus only affects the elderly.
FALSE: Despite what age an individual is, they are susceptible. Everyone should be following precautions regardless of age. However, those individuals who contract COVID-19 and are either elderly or are asthmatic, diabetic have heart disease, or other existing conditions are more likely to be in a critical condition.
- There are medicines/vaccines to prevent or treat Corona virus.
FALSE: There are no medicines to treat this disease. There are several treatments and methods that are being explored and researched by the WHO and other healthcare institutions, however as of now there is no treatment for COVID-19. Secondly, vaccines take a lengthy time to create and test, up to several months or longer. There are no vaccines at present and a pneumonia or flu vaccine will not protect people from contracting Corona virus.
- COVID-19 can not spread in humid climates like South Asia.
FALSE: Corona virus can spread in any climate, regardless of whether it is hot, cold or temperate. Despite what the temperature is outside and whether it is hot or cold, the human body maintains a temperature of 36.5 – 37 degrees Celsius. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise and it is evident when looking at how globally this disease has spread that it is extremely infectious.
- Thermal Scanners are an effective way to monitor whether people are infected.
FALSE: Thermal scanners can only detect temperature and indicate whether an individual has a fever. Thermal scanners are not an accurate indicator to determine who is and is not infected and whether to allow them into countries, buildings or other areas. It takes 2-10 days for people to develop symptoms and fever.
- Everyone with Corona virus dies.
FALSE: So far there is not enough evidence to back this. The fatality rate calculated as of late is between 1-3% and 80.9% of the cases were mild according to a report by the Chinese Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Although majority of cases of COVID-19 are mild, the symptoms are more serious than the seasonal flu.
Hopefully this blog was helpful for those of you that are confused by contradictory information circulating in the media and on the internet. This information is credible and fact-checked.
It is definitely a scary time all over the world. Although many people are afraid, it is more important to use this fear constructively on an individual level, to be more careful about hygiene, prevention, information and looking out for those with pre-existing conditions that are most vulnerable to this deadly disease. If everyone does their part, we can fight Corona virus more effectively.