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Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are also active – some unwittingly while some other with vested interests to create fear or cash the crisis.

Siddheshwar  ShuklaSiddheshwar Shukla | Updated: 15-02-2020 20:08 IST | Created: 15-02-2020 19:37 IST
Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19
Representative image Image Credit: gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com

The internet and social media provide platforms for every human being to disseminate his opinion into the global society. There have been instances of slumdogs becoming millionaires through social media. However, the same social media platforms are now posing challenges before health professionals, policymakers, enforcement agencies, and international organizations in handling health epidemics like Wuhan Coronavirus named COVID 19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Coronavirus spreading from Wuhan city of China is also known as Novel Coronavirus or 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

According to a report, 41 fact-check agencies throughout the world conducted 211 fact-checks on about 2019 Coronavirus between January 22 and February 5 by using ClaimReview. They were published in 15 languages across the globe out of which 199 were found to be false or partially false while only 12 were true claims. These included textual content, photos, and videos on the internet. The fake news factory is continuously working. They present the news in such a way as it looks like a piece of genuine news. The problem of fake news has become so severe that the WHO termed it 'infodemic'. Andrew Pattison, a digital business solutions manager, for the WHO on February 13 traveled to the Silicon Valley urging companies to act against the fake news which according to him was 'spreading faster than the virus'.

The WHO on January 30 declared the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus as a health emergency. Here we present some of the highest circulating fake news and myths around COVID19 along with the scientifically established information about those issues.

Diet Chart for Novel Coronavirus?

Several induvial professionals and companies are coming out with a diet chart to cure Coronavirus. In such a case a person has suggested a three days diet chart to strengthen the body up to the extent that it makes immune from Coronavirus. Similarly, Amazon is also selling a book titled 'Coronavirus – Health: Food, Tea, Fruits…'.

The WHO recommends healthy food but has not prescribed any food chart for patients to treat the disease. "Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus," said the WHO.

Citrus fruits, Vitamin C and Garlic etc. cure Novel Coronavirus?

There are several fake news on social media claiming the Citrus fruits and Garlic water as a guaranteed treatment for Novel Coronavirus. However, the WHO has made it clear that though garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties, the use of 'Vitamin C' can even be harmful. In fact, the WHO has listed Vitamin C along with smocking, drinking traditional herbal teas, wearing multiple masks to maximum protection and taking self-medication such as antibiotics which could be harmful.

Do antibiotics cure COVID 2019?

Antibiotics are made for the diseases caused by bacteria. There are no antibiotics against any viral diseases in the world. "No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. The novel coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment," said WHO. "However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible," added WHO. The doctors administer antibiotics on patients just to avoid bacterially or treat bacterial infection if any. This is simply to save the body from multiple infections which could be fatal.

Should everybody wear a mask to avoid infection?

As mask-wearing persons have become a symbol of Novel Coronavirus in all forms of news, fake news is circulating on the use of masks and mask producers are also cashing the surge in mask market. On Valentine's Day, Amazon came with a notebook with a picture of newlywed couples kissing through a mask.

"If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection," said WHO. The international health watchdog has also issued proper guidelines for wearing masks in a proper way to avoid the spread of infection. Besides, wearing multiple masks is no guarantee for maximum protection but may be harmful, said WHO.

Can Novel Coronavirus be treated?

Yes. Until now, there is no specific medicine of any kind to cure the Novel Coronavirus. The only remedy to cure an infected person is supporting medication to make the body functioning and recover. According to reports, several people have been treated in China and the researchers are trying to make vaccines from their antibodies for treating infected persons. According to the available information so far 8,399 infected people have been cured of Novel Coronavirus but 1526 patients died. The doctors in the USA, claim to have treated the first Novel Coronavirus case by Remdesivir, a drug found effective for treating the Ebola virus. However, it is yet be established as an effective treatment for the Novel Coronavirus.

The doctors in the USA, claim to have treated the first Novel Coronavirus case by Remdesivir, a drug found effective for treating the Ebola virus. However, it is yet be established as an effective treatment for the Novel Coronavirus.

How to kill Novel Coronavirus?

It's simple. The Novel Coronavirus could be killed by using normal disinfectants available in the market. According to the WHO, chemical disinfectants such as bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75 percent ethanol, peracetic acid, and chloroform, etc. could be used to kill 2019-nCoV on surfaces. However, the application of any or all the disinfectants could not protect from infection as the virus infection through breathing. Besides, the drinking or inhaling of any of the disinfectant such as Chlorine Dioxide could be hazardous to health.

Though more information is required, the studies suggest that 2019-nCoV may survive for about a few hours or more on the surfaces outside the body. Therefore, the objects having COVID19 on its surface may spread the infection for about a couple of hours. Furthermore, the incubation period of the virus is about 1 – 12.2 to 14 days which means it will take up to 14 days for an infected person to show the symptoms. The WHO also said that so far, the COVID 19 virus is spreading only from persons showing symptoms of the disease. No infection has been reported from the aerosol.

Did police kill Coronavirus patients?

No. Why the police kill patients when 8,573 patients have been completely cured and discharged from hospitals?

The panic was created by fake news. In a video being widely shared on social media, some Chinese police persons are seen overpowering a young woman. The description alleges that the woman was killed because she was infected with COVID 19. However, in the fact check it was found that she was overpowered for violating a traffic rule. The maximum action administration is taking is - isolation of patients and shutdown of the area to prevent further spread of the infection.

Is China seeking the court's approval for the mass killing of 20K patients?

No. Though about 1500 people have died in China due to COVID 19; about 8,573 patients were completely cured. According to reports, besides, making additional facilities China has quickly constructed two new hospitals to cure the patients. Though not operational in full capacity, these hospitals were built in record 10 days and started services. The misinformation was created by a piece of fake news published on a news website which was found to be false in fact check. Ebola, which is also a form of Coronavirus, had caused 11,313 deaths between December 2013 to January 2016. The COVID 19 has been less fatal in comparison to Ebola, to date.

Is Coronavirus associated with bats?

The initial researches show that the virus originated from the bats, but it is yet to be confirmed. In fact, all Coronavirus (CoV) are zoonotic in origin which means they are transmitted from animals to humans. These viruses cause various diseases among animals but a few among them cause infections among human beings and cause illness ranging from the common cold to MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) CoV and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS -CoV), and Novel Coronavirus (nCoV).

Will COVID 19 disappear in April 2020?

Hope so. The viruses including the Coronavirus are seasonal in nature and are destroyed or become mild in the summers. As per the trend in the past, we can hope that this virus will go away with a rise in temperature. However, it is yet to be confirmed. The debate started after US President Donald Trump (POTUS) in a tweet made this claim.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)

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