As the cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) surged past 90,000, authorities around the world are taking steps to contain the potentially deadly disease. At the same time, people are panicking with some stocking up food and medicines for an emergency. However, the heightened scare amid round-the-clock coverage has also given birth to some myths and misconceptions, which are adding to the confusion. There are all sorts of conspiracies on social media and messaging apps .
You die if you catch the infection – That’s not entirely correct
The tally of the infected people had reached 95,270, according to the World Health Organization . Out of these, only 3,280 people have died – meaning that 3.5 percent of the infected patients have been killed. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be concerned about this coronavirus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. But the fact is that many more people are getting the needed treatment and returning to their lives. In China, where the bulk of the cases have been reported, thousands of people have been successfully treated and discharged from hospitals.
Coronavirus is the deadliest
No it’s not. Ebola and other viruses, which just like the COVID-19, originated from wild animals, are far more deadly. Some strains of the Ebola virus kill up to 71 percent of the infected people. The 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was particularly lethal. Starting from Guinea, it spread to half a dozen countries, killing 11,325 people out of the 15,261 laboratory-confirmed cases, according to the CDC. That’s a fatality rate of 73 percent. Talk about being deadly. Similarly, rabies, caused by an animal bite, kills tens of thousands of people every year.
Masks are sure-shot protection
Experts have all along said that standard surgical masks offer no certain protection against the virus. It is best utilized by the patients who are already infected. They can wear a mask and help prevent its spread. In any case, hospital staff have been using specialist N95 respirators that have the mechanism to filter out the virus particles. When it comes to personal protection, the best way to avoid the virus is to wash hands as many times as one can for at least 40 seconds and use hand sanitisers.
You’ll know when you have it
The most sinister thing about the disease is that it’s hard to detect and physicians have difficulty diagnosing it through simple observation. Its symptoms – fever, dry cough and shortness of breath – can easily be attributed to common flu or cold. Worse still, the COVID-19 symptoms can take a week or more to show up in a patient. So while authorities at the airports might be screening passengers with electronic thermometers to check for fever, there’s no clear way to know who is carrying the virus.
Also, there’s no thermal scanning machine that can identify it. So don’t fall for that. The only way to find out if you have it is to get a test at an authorised lab where specimens such as the sputum can be looked into for the genetic code of the virus.
News source – Myths and misinformation about coronavirus