Miracle cure for coronavirus? UAE doctors respond
'Cures' for the coronavirus have surfaced on social media.
Drinking ginger tea, doing yoga or meditating do not cure the novel coronavirus, UAE doctors have stressed, after spotting bizarre posts about 'miracle cures' that have surfaced on social media. The virus outbreak has been declared a global health emergency and has killed over 250 people.
The disease originated in China's Wuhan, which is now under lockdown. The infection has already spread to 25 countries, including the UAE, where a family of four - tourists from Wuhan - were diagnosed with the virus.
A Netizen posted this miracle cure for the virus (which does not have a proper treatment regime yet): "I can say the best cure to avoid it (coronavirus) is ginger tea, one cup in the morning, one cup at the night - should work perfectly. It also can reduce the infected people's symptoms to a way that it won't be fatal."
Another Twitter user suggested yoga: "Get detailed information about the #coronavirus and how we can fight against this #virus with the help of Agnihotra, which is ancient Indian techniques. Agnihotra is a very fast method of treatment of diseases of every kind."
Rumours can be dangerous
Dr Vanesha Varik, chairperson of the infection control department at Aster Hospital in Mankhool, said fake news about miracle cures could prove dangerous. Vulnerable people could stop taking precautions after believing these social media posts, she stressed.
If an infected patient believes these posts and refuses to go to the hospital, his/her infection could worsen. "Also, being in contact with so many people during the time of infection can make the virus spread," she said.
Dr Varik affirmed that a cure for the coronavirus is yet to be discovered. "Ginger tea, yoga, etc are symptomatic treatment methods - they're good in helping boost your immunity. But it's not a proper cure. A proven cure for coronavirus has not been found yet. The CDC (US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) is looking for a cure but they haven't found it or a vaccine yet. It's wrong to say that things like ginger tea or yoga will cure the virus.
"Right now, there's a lot of awareness - so people are washing hands, wearing masks, avoiding crowded places - which is the right thing to do in view of the impending epidemic," Dr Varik said.
Anxiety fuelling fake news
A rise in health anxiety among people is causing the rapid spread of online rumours that are suggesting all sorts of miracle cures for the coronavirus, a Dubai-based psychologist has said.
Dr Sneha John, a psychologist at LifeWorks Holistic Counseling Centre, said residents should follow instructions from their doctors and tips from official government sources as the hype around the coronavirus increases.
"One of the reasons why people fall for fake news is because of confirmation bias - that's when we have information that favours our existing belief. It's when people are convinced they are going to get sick when such a deadly infection is going around and they need to be as aware as possible of what is going on," Dr John said. "I've just read in the past few days about how people are trying to avoid anything related to bats, snakes; staying away from people from China or other east Asian countries. There's a lot of speculation, but a lot of people fall for this because it helps them 'ensure' they are taking precautions all of the time. That's why they try to fish for such information - to find relief."
Dr Varik added that while people shouldn't fall for rumours, they should still take precautions as the coronavirus is a global health emergency. "Right now, you definitely have to take basic precautions.
"Don't believe forwarded messages, rather look for verified information in credible newspapers or from hospitals or experts," she added.
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