Coronavirus outbreak: Myths and facts about deadly 2019-nCoV
Published on February 3, 2020 at 13.48
The coronavirus outbreak has stoked a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe. Hoaxes have spread widely online, promoted by conspiracy theorists and exacerbated by a dearth of information from the cordoned-off zone around China's central city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.
The new coronavirus that emerged in a Chinese market at the end of last year has killed more than 360 people and spread around the world. The latest figures from China show there are over 17,000 people infected in the country.
Outside mainland China, there have been more than 100 infections reported in around two dozen places. There has also been one death, in the Philippines.
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. Here are some myths and facts about the deadly the 2019-nCoV.
Can pets at home spread the coronavirus?
There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.
Does coronavirus affect only elderly people?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus, Elderly people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Are antibiotics effective in treating coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
Are there any specific medicines to treat?
There is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the coronavirus. However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials.
Can rinsing nose with saline solution help?
No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline solution has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
Can gargling protect you from coronavirus?
No. There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus.
Can eating garlic help from 2019-nCoV?
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 2019-nCoV.
Does sesame oil kill coronavirus?
No. Sesame oil is delicious but it does not kill 2019-nCoV.
Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from
Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting 2019-nCoV. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.
Do pneumonia vaccines protect you from 2019-nCoV?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia do not provide protection against 2019-nCoV. The virus is new and different. It needs its own vaccine.
Drinking ginger tea or meditation cure 2019-nCoV?
A cure for the coronavirus is yet to be discovered. 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.
Can Dettol kill coronavirus?
Dettol clarified there is no evidence its disinfectant spray can kill the deadly Wuhan coronavirus after a shopper spotted it on the label and shared its picture on Facebook. The company clarified that the label refers to more common strains of the virus which it has been tested with and proven to kill. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause respiratory infections which are typically mild, including the common cold.
The WHO also shared standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:
Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough.
When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
Stay healthy while travelling.