Coronavirus myths and facts
Image credit: @thesmartlocal
COVID-19 has been the headliner of news stories in Singapore and beyond in the past month. Case numbers haven’t begun to decline just yet, and it’s easy for people to get antsy about a strange unknown virus.
That’s probably why most of us have seen our fair share of questionable info on this new strain of coronavirus, especially in Whatsapp group chats. From the sun being able to kill the virus to the infamous bat soup hoax, here are 11 coronavirus myths debunked so you can halt the paranoia for good.
To equip yourself further, read of our other COVID-19 articles:
1. Disinfectants and wet wipes can kill coronavirus
Check NEA’s list to ensure your disinfectants are strong enough
Image credit: @josefmama
Many of us assume that disinfectants like wet wipes, sprays and sanitisers labeled as antibacterial can be fully trusted to protect us from the virus, but that’s actually false. Unless the disinfectants you’re using contain at least 60% alcohol, they can’t fully clean your hands and surfaces from COVID-19.
If you’re unsure whether the products you’re using are useful against COVID-19, refer to NEA’s list of products that are ideal for disinfection. The list includes Dettol’s Antibacterial Surface Cleanser Trigger Spray and wet wipes from brands like Clorox and Softess that will do the deed.
2. The sun kills coronavirus
Image credit: @pepeguesthouse
You’re not alone if you’ve been on the receiving end of your elders nagging you to let sunlight into your rooms to kill the virus, but that’s not necessarily the case for COVID-19.
Scientific research may have shown that UV rays from sunlight can eliminate airborne germs and that virus transmissions tend to be slower in warm and humid climates. But there isn’t enough evidence at the moment to suggest that COVID-19 can be vanquished this way.
Although the virus can’t be killed by UV rays alone, it’s good to know that our tropical weather can slow down its spread. Sticking to regular methods of disinfecting your household items like table surfaces and even your laptop keyboards, is enough to keep the virus away.
3. You’re at higher risk of contracting coronavirus on airplanes
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
We’ve been slapped with advisories that we shouldn’t go to crowded places, so it’s totally understandable why people are paranoid about squeezy aircraft cabins. But little did we know that aircraft cabins are equipped with surgical-grade air filters. This means that your chances of contracting the virus are reduced, so is your growing panic.
If you do hear hacking coughs and continuous sneezing from a nearby passenger, simply inform the cabin crew and practise good hygiene by washing your hands with soap, lathering them up for 20 seconds. Hand sanitisers and antibacterial wet wipes will also come in handy for you to keep the virus at bay.
4. You can contract COVID-19 on public transport
Image credit: Health Hub
Most Singaporeans use public transport on the daily, and that means we’re touching the same handrails and seats millions of other people have laid their hands on. You may be tempted to don gloves so you don’t unexpectedly contract the virus but rest assured, the Ministry Of Health (MOH) has said that the risk of getting infected by the virus through transient contact like in buses and trains is low.
As long as you wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face, you’re all set to brave your regular MRT and bus commute.
5. You’re safe if you stay at home
When Singapore announced that it was raising its DORSCON status to Orange, many flocked to supermarkets to stock up for a long shut-in at home. But cooping yourself up doesn’t mean that your living spaces are free of the virus.
It is still possible to contract the virus from visitors, or when you’re outside on your grocery run. Since certain types of coronaviruses can survive on surfaces such as tables and door handles for up to 9 days, it pays to do your household chores properly and disinfect your house ASAP when you’ve had visitors over.
6. Wearing a mask will prevent you from getting the virus
Pitta masks may look prettier than surgical masks but they’re not useful against COVID-19
Image credit: @rabbit____2
Wearing a mask might not be a good idea if you’re not showing any flu-like symptoms. Touching the exposed surface of your mask before touching your face is as good as giving the virus a one-way ticket to making you sick.
Surgical masks prevent your own droplets from spreading
Image credit: @akinafong
If you have flu-like symptoms, use an N95 mask or 3-ply surgical mask to prevent cough and sneeze droplets from spreading. Likewise, be sure to tighten the fit of the masks by moulding the metal strip to your nose to prevent the virus from entering.
7. It’s not safe to get packages from China
You can fiddle around with your Huawei phone without worrying about the virus getting on it
Since the virus first emerged in China, there has been an unfortunate misconception that items from the country can also be infected with the virus. World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that we don’t risk contracting the virus from packages hailing from China. So shopaholics needn’t hesitate to go on their Taobao splurge.
8. COVID 19 infection = death sentence
Image credit: @ochadeblog
The most worrying thing about COVID-19 is the fact that it has claimed lives. While the virus can be deadly and shouldn’t be taken lightly, this doesn’t mean that everyone who contracts it will automatically face death.
WHO has observed that the virus tends to have a more severe effect on those who’re older and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Despite this, our country currently has no fatalities from COVID-19. 58 out of 90 cases, including a 6-month-old baby, have fully recovered from this virus.
In fact, according to WHO, numbers show that COVID-19’s mortality rate (2%) is lower than SARS (9%)’. If we can survive SARS, surely we can survive COVID-19.
9. Only the elderly are affected
Image credit: Matthias Zomer
The mortality rate indicates that the highest age bracket of fatalities has so far been those above 80. But it’s not just the elderly who are at risk – studies have shown that the virus can aggravate the conditions of those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, pulmonary and respiratory diseases.
But as seen in the increasing number of cases around the world, anyone can contract the virus, even infants – the only difference is how badly it affects individuals, since some tend to show symptoms that are worse than others.
To safeguard yourself other than masking up and hand-washing, be sure to boost your body’s immune system by taking supplements and foods that contain vitamin C like fruit and veggies.
10. It came from bat soup
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
By now, many have seen the infamous video of a lady eating bat soup circulating on social media. The video ended up sparking rumours that the virus originated from this very soup, but it turns out it was shot in 2016 on a Western Pacific Island called Palau where it’s a local delicacy. Studies have also debunked another related myth that the virus came from snakes and birds.
With no confirmed sources about COVID-19’s origins, you don’t have to avoid meat just yet. To be on the safe side, ensure that you follow proper food preparation like using separate equipment for raw meat and cooked foods, and that the food is properly handled and cooked thoroughly. These tips will definitely prevent you from a raging stomachache.
11. It is linked to Corona beer
Image credit: @eight__0122
Just because Corona beer shares the same name with coronavirus, that doesn’t mean that you have to sit out of happy hour. Corona in “coronavirus” stands for crown in Latin. It’s used in medicinal studies to indicate something with crown-like spikes which is what COVID-19’s structure looks like.
So, there’s really no need for you to disinfect your beer.
COVID-19 myths solved
Over the course of 2 months, the COVID-19 outbreak created panic over the island. Home theorists ridden with fear started to get cracking on spreading fake news and “solutions” they claim will fight the virus. However, it’s safe to say it’s far from the truth.
With China’s slow progress to recovery and Australia’s potential COVID-19 vaccine going through medical trials, this goes to show that we are capable of overcoming the virus. Even Singapore is currently seeing more recoveries with 58 cases discharged so far.
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