Sunday, March 29, 2020 | ePaper

Coronavirus: Beware of these dangerous myths

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Weekend Plus Desk :
The World Health Organization has already declared the nCoV 2019 as a global health emergency and the outbreak of this deadly infection is causing a lot of panic and fear. As of now, more than 1,52,700 people are under-observation worldwide and scientists are racing to track the spread and virulence of this virus.
What is the novel coronavirus
The novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It first originated in Wuhan, China. The epicentre of the outbreak remains in a state of lockdown as the virus is spreading fast, with over 20,000 infection cases and more than 425 deaths recorded in China itself. While the government agencies, scientists and health experts are working round the clock to prevent the spreading of this deadly virus, the state of panic and confusion is giving birth to several misconceptions. From novel methods of using surgical masks to prevent infection to certain home remedies which claim to 'kill' the virus altogether, the social media platforms and WhatsApp forwards are filled with disastrous misinformation and myths.
We shed light on some of the most rampant myths about nCoV 2019:
Myth number 1: Eating garlic can treat deadly coronavirus
Fact: If you have received a WhatsApp forward explaining how the consumption of garlic can nip the novel coronavirus infection in the bud, you are not alone. A WhatsApp message is doing rounds which claim that drinking a glass of freshly boiled garlic water can treat the viral infection. While garlic is loaded with antimicrobial properties, there is no research or scientific report which points to the fact that it can kill the nCoV 19. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, as of now there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Myth number 2: You can catch the nCoV 2019 if you eat Chinese food
Fact: There is so much misinformation spreading rampantly, thanks to the internet and hyperactive social media platforms, that it has become really difficult to filter the truth. One such myth which is being propagated is that we should strictly avoid Chinese restaurants and Chinese food. The World Health Organization has not listed Chinese food as a risk for catching the novel coronavirus. So, it is safe to assume that you cannot catch the infectious virus by indulging in your favourite plate of noodles.
Myth number 3: Eating ice creams and frozen food items can spread the nCoV 2019
Fact: Another misinformation which is being rapidly circulated on social media and messaging platforms is that coronavirus spreads through frozen food items including ice creams, kulfi and cold drinks. To be precise the message read, “Do not eat or drink anything that is frozen, like Ice creams, Kulfi, cold drinks. Cooked food past 48 hours should not be eaten.”
The message further stated that cold or preserved foods and drinks, such as ice cream and milkshakes should be strictly avoided for ‘at least 90 days.’ It is important to understand that the claims of these viral messages have not been backed by the WHO (World Health Organization) or even CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention). Moreover, no government advisory has been released which claims that the Wuhan virus is being spread through frozen food items.
Myth number 4: Rinsing your mouth with salt water can cure coronavirus.
Fact: Several posts are doing rounds on various social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, which claim that rinsing your mouth with saltwater can treat the novel coronavirus and even help in preventing the deadly infection.
All of these claims are false and medically inaccurate as the Wuhan Union Hospital and Academician Zhong's team has officially refuted the rumour that saline water can help in treating the Wuhan virus. Additionally, the World Health Organization has also stated that there is no evidence to suggest that rinsing the mouth with saline solution is effective in preventing infection. It further states that there is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
Myth number 5: Applying cow dung and consuming cow urine can cure nCoV 19
Fact: Continuing with the slew of medically-inaccurate (and in this case absolutely bizarre) myths, according to Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, president of Hindu Mahasabha,the urine and dung of cows can be used for treating coronavirus infections. He further elaborated that a person who chants Om Namah Shivay and applies cow dung on the body, will be saved. A special yagna ritual will soon be performed to kill coronavirus. So, before you go searching for cow dung and urine, be rest assured that this information is false as WHO and CDC have not listed down 'cow dung' as the cure for the novel coronavirus.

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