The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is affecting many aspects of people’s lives due to necessary social distancing. With these drastic changes comes the spread of information, often on social media, that is not necessarily true. In order to be well informed about this disease, one must know which rumors are myths and which are facts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019,” most likely originated in bats. At times, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread person to person.
The first outbreak of COVID-19 is believed to have occurred in Wuhan, China where there was a live animal market that 27 infected people had a direct connection with, suggesting that this coronavirus may have spread from an intermediary animal to humans there. However, analysis in the medical journal The Lancet reported that the first known case of the illness did not have a connection to the market.
A myth that has circulated regarding this information is that COVID-19 originated from one woman eating “bat soup” after a video surfaced on the internet. According to Health.com, this video was not taken in China and was filmed in 2016.
Much information has been shared about how the virus is spread between people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. So, to dispute myths that are circulating, it cannot be spread through mosquito bites, mobile networks or radio waves.
Additionally, although it is possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface, the WHO says that the likelihood of contracting the disease from a package shipped from overseas is very low because it will have traveled for multiple days.
There have been claims that the novel coronavirus will end when warmer weather comes, but that is not the case. The WHO states that it is possible to catch COVID-19, “no matter how sunny or hot the weather is.” Countries experiencing warmer weather right now have cases of COVID-19. For this same reason, taking a hot bath or utilizing hand dryers will not kill the coronavirus.
COVID-19 will not die out with colder temperatures, either. Because the human body remains at the same internal temperature year round, cold weather or snow will not affect the spread of coronavirus.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by practicing good hygiene, which means washing one’s hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time, and avoiding touching one’s face.
A prevalent myth regarding COVID-19 is that only elderly people are getting it. This is false. According to Advent Health, “people of all ages can get COVID-19,” but one’s chances of getting COVID-19 depend on several factors such as where one lives and if they have traveled recently.
According to the WHO, elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to become severely ill if they do contract the illness. The WHO “advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus.”
As of right now, there is no current vaccine for COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, but scientists have already begun working on one. According to the WHO, pneumonia vaccines are not effective in treating COVID-19 because it is “so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.” Similarly, antibiotics are not effective in treating COVID-19.
As many students are on social media, MediaWise is a fact-checking account on Instagram geared toward this age group. The account provides an easy and accessible way to stay well-informed about COVID-19 and avoid the pitfalls of false information.