Myths about CoViD-19, Coronavirus

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

As the world has entered into the pandemic caused by CoViD-19, there is increasing panic, ambiguity, concerns, kindness as well as greed and different types of myths about the new virus (previous post).

For the sake of clearing the ambiguity, it is thought to be originated in Wuhan China. Despite the best efforts of Chinese authorities, they couldn’t save the world from the pandemic it is in now. To this time, almost all countries are affected by it, some are hit harder than the others, but the impact is similar, if not the same.

The people going into a total locked down, like Italy and previously China, are trying their best to keep their spirits high. Some countries don’t want to completely shut down like UK, USA, Japan, and South Korea, as they belong to a different school of thought. They are of the opinion, quoting the experts, that what would happen after the lockdown, what if we have a rebound effect of the virus. On the other hand, locked-down countries argue that when they open up they will have a limited number of cases. Experts say both have their pros and cons.

China has a population of almost 1.7 billion and she couldn’t take the risk of just sitting and waiting and watching. Italy heavily relies on the tourists, so to stop a huge number of people entering and exiting the country, they have left with the only option of lock-down. France is a bit cautious in shutting down the businesses but advising its people to avoid social gatherings and not to go to pubs, bars, etc.

Different countries adopted distinctive strategies in controlling the spread of the virus. People all around the world are anxious, scared, nervous, and fearful. In these times, as everybody is trying to gather as much knowledge about the epidemic as possible, it’s obvious that they will also be struck by the myths surrounding the virus. Interestingly, some myths became so strong over the social media that people are quoting then as “expert opinions”. Some of them can be seen as just stupendous. I have managed to gather some of them:

  • Wash and clean the whole body with alcohol or alcohol-containing solutions, which will thoroughly kill the virus – Yes, it’s true that pure alcohol and higher percentage alcohol solutions are lethal for any kind of microorganism, but cleaning one’s whole body with such solutions is just the silliest thing ever. It is highly unlikely that your whole body is exposed to the virus, which is of course covered in clothes. Packages and other inanimate objects will have got very less probability of carrying and hence transmitting the virus. It is, therefore, totally obscured to wash one’s body with such solutions. Just taking a normal bath as a routine is sufficient.

  • Take steroids and you will reduce the symptoms or kill the virus – One thing to understand here is the actions of steroids on the immune system. Steroids, especially catabolic ones, like Cortisol or hydrocortisone will reduce the effectivity of the immune system. That’s why these drugs are usually used in combatting organ rejections etc. Steroids will give you euphoria and will reduce the fever and maybe cough, but cannot kill the virus. It will just put the person into the illusion of “all is well” whilst the virus will be multiplying within your body under the effects of steroids. So please don’t be a fool and start taking steroids blindly for this.

  • Certain oils are beneficial in killing the virus, like coconut oil, etc. Well, consuming plant oils may be beneficial as far as their nutritional value and anti-cardiovascular effects are concerned, but the killing of a virus is not one of the jobs of these oils. Can anybody explain to me the mechanism of action of these oils killing the virus, please don’t give me BS of anti-oxidants.

  • Certain herbs or Chinese medicine can kill the virus – Again, the same argument can be applied here as above. Viruses are very difficult to kill once inside the body. The only effective way is your own immune system fighting against it. An effective and properly capable immune system of your body has taken years to develop and its strength is dependent upon the nutrition, exercise, stress-free life and proper healthy lifestyle you have maintained previously. It cannot be boosted within a matter of days.

  • A mosquito bite can spread the virus – Well if it may be the case, then end of the story, because it is far easier to remove the intermediate host than to shut down the whole country, isn’t it? Most of the mosquito-spread diseases like malaria, dengue, etc. have already been taken care of, especially in the developed world. But, this is not the case. By far the most probable route of spread is droplets and hand contact with the infected persons or objects.

  • Warm air dryer may kill the virus – poofs, what a joke! Viruses are hardier than the bacteria, and to kill bacteria one has to take the temperature up to the boiling point of the water and even then the cysts of some bacteria need to be killed in an autoclave (pressure cooker) over and above water boiling temperature. So immediately disregard this myth.

  • Bath with very hot water may kill the virus – if it doesn’t kill you first. Just try and go beyond 40C hot water bath and see for yourself.

  • The ultra Violet lamp can sanitize or kill the virus – hmm yeah maybe. Most of the micro-organisms can be killed by certain frequency ultra-violet light, but remember, don’t do this to your skin. If you want to sterilize inanimate objects, I don’t know whether to bet on a virus whose existence, virulence, pathogenesis, and epidemiology is still a mystery, even to the experts.

  • The thermal temperature detector can kill the virus – wow really! It is just a thermometer guys, for god’s sake.

  • Pneumonia vaccine can kill the virus – What did one mean by pneumonia vaccine. What kind of pneumonia, which vaccine are you talking about. If you know about such a vaccine, please let me know. The world is dying to get a vaccine for this virus. Please don’t fall for this.

  • Regularly rinsing the nose with saline water will help to avoid infection – Keeping yourself clean and healthy will, of course, keep you less likely to be sick due to bacteria, etc., but not with CoVID-19. The only solution is isolation and segregation.

  • Eating garlic may prevent infection – well the myth producer has already used the word “may”, so even he/she is in doubt. Anyhow garlic may have a nutritional value but believe me, nutrition will not be able to boost you within days to fight against it.

To avoid getting confused by this entire BS on social media, I will advise you to restrain to this 2-point solution of preventing yourself from ever contracting this virus, viz.

  • Isolation – Just segregate yourself, no parties, no social meetings, no handshaking, no family meetings, no friends gossiping, etc.

  • Wash your hands frequently. Only plain soap and warm or cold water will be sufficient. There is not even the need for any anti-bacterial soap or alcohol-based rub, if you have access to water and soap, just use it.

Here are some myth-free advises which I have collected and want to share with you:

  • Get enough sleep

  • Do home exercise

  • Watch movies

  • Listen to the music

  • Video chat

  • Cooking and baking

  • Reading books

  • Cleaning the house or flat

  • Singing songs like Italians are doing

  • Reflecting on your inner selves

  • Reconnecting with yourself

  • Drawing/painting

  • Puzzle-solving

  • Playing video games

  • Playing board games

  • Waiting for good times

  • Wishing other well

  • Not blaming others for the spread

  • Respecting the health workers roles

  • Truthful to the authorities about your travel and health

Please just start accepting the idea that there is no cure for this virus yet, though many people affected got well, and some got re-infected. The virus has claimed many lives around the world, young and old alike. The mortality rate of the illness is around 2%, which means out of 100 patients who have contracted the virus 2 people will die, 98 will be cured, only about a fraction of them will need specialist help, others will recover spontaneously.

The vaccine is on its way but it will take some time to reach the public. All we have to do is to stay put, listen to our local and federal governments, they are trustworthy or at least doing their jobs.

We should be hopeful and optimistic. Some of the celebrities are infected with the virus too like Tom Hanks and his wife and Idres Alba. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife was tested positive too. He himself went into self-isolation. President Trump was exposed and was tested and the results were negative.

People, including the dignitaries, in order to avoid handshaking, started Namaste gesture, Japanese bow, smiles, or opt even to verbal greetings. This is a highly contagious virus and experts believe that it can survive in the cold weather for one week as compared to the same family of viruses. All we can do is to stay isolated and go out for just essential chores. If we can work from home, then we should. If we go to work, we should keep social distancing. Try not to visit your friends and have parties as we used to have before.

In this darkest of time, there is much hope. All clouds have a silver lining. We can spend more time with our family and connect with our inner selves, read those books, which we couldn’t because of lack of time, or explore more as a family. We can be more kind to ourselves and others. This time will be over soon, but what we will remember will be the way we have handled the situation for ourselves and for others, will always be a precedent.

Anxieties and nervousness are a norm in such uncertain and confusing periods, it’s time to see the world differently, to accept that no matter the modern science is, we are vulnerable species and a product of millions of years of evolution and we are made up of flesh and blood, which we sometimes forget while shaping ourselves in this electronic fast-paced world.

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