A fact-check update on the novel Coronavirus


The new
COVID-19 is a competent organism spreading at a considerable rate. Any infected respiratory droplet inhaled by a healthy person can infect the latter. The transmission can be up to a few meters. The Coronavirus is an obligatory parasite that can live on various objects without a living cell for just a few hours. The only solution to stop the transmission is to opt for quarantine measures. A vaccine is the only answer for the eradication of such infections. Many different organizations are working on different protocols to develop a vaccine, which seems like a better choice.

With the increasing number of reported cases all over the world, Coronavirus disease has become a pandemic. There is panic all over the world. The fright is increasing with the misinformation on WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social platforms. This panic calls out for a fact-check. Only individuals with compromised immune systems are susceptible to the disease.

1. Garlic cannot prevent the Coronavirus

Garlic was used as an antiviral agent in the study regarding the infectious bronchitis virus (Also a Coronavirus). The virus was known to be the chief cause of the death of major poultry farms. In the study, they concluded that garlic inhibits the replication activity of the virus, protecting the infected cells. Despite the antimicrobial properties of garlic, there is no medicine-based evidence to prove that it can prevent the attack of COVID-19. Anything consumed more is harmful. A woman in China had to consult professional medical care for an inflamed throat after consuming 1.5 kg of garlic.

2. Miracle mineral supplements and bleaching powder cannot kill the coronavirus

Recently, there was a new post on social media claiming to cure the new COVID-19. The post was shared thousands of times. It said that the ‘Miracle Mineral Supplements’ (MMS) could cure the infection. But, it is one of the banned products by the FDA. It is illegally sold online on various platforms urging people to drink it with a little amount of citric acid (lemon or orange).

MMS, when mixed with citric acid, forms bleach, a disinfectant, not fit for human consumption. It is also hypothesized to be an antiviral, antimicrobial agent. Moreover, it can damage one’s system further by diarrhea, vomitings, headaches, and many other side effects. The complications also include low blood pressure, dehydration, and acute liver failure.

3. Home-made sanitizers

The current viral attack forces people to carry a sanitizer with them all the time. The sanitizers consist of 70-80% alcohol that can kill a microbe by denaturing its proteins. However, the sanitizers are out of stock in the markets right now, creating a need to develop home-made sanitizers. Home-made is not as efficient as the ones available in the market. It is challenging to create one with more alcohol percent (even when vodka consists of only 40% ABV), yet safe to use.

Although people are using sanitizers all over the world, they are not as efficient as the traditional soap and water method. Unlike soap, sanitizers cannot cover all the regions of your hand. Washing your hands only with water will not remove all the microbes present on the surface.

Viruses have their genetic makeup enclosed in proteinaceous structures called lipids. Soaps with their micelle action, along with the rush of water, can degrade the bonds and wash off the viruses from the skin surface.

4. Drinking water every 15 minutes cannot stop the virus

A claim that drinking water every 15 min can help you get rid of Coronavirus went viral on social media platforms. The idea here is that it can reach the stomach with an acidic pH, and then wash out of the system via excretion. The acid can kill the virus. But, during the MERS study, they proved that the acid might not kill the virus, instead works as a new power source. It can help the virus colonize your intestine and cause distress. However, drinking water has many advantages, and consuming it frequently is harmless. But the idea behind the elimination of the virus is false.

5. Gargling with salty water

A post suggesting that the Coronavirus stays in the throat for a long time before entering the major respiratory organs urged people to use the conventional gargling method. Although gargling with hot salty water can help reduce throat soreness and inflammation in the upper respiratory tract, it won’t help you get rid of the virus. Contrastingly, the target organ of the COVID-19 is the lower respiratory tract, i.e., chest and lungs.

6. Blowing high temperatures cannot kill the coronavirus

Though there is no appropriate information for the killing temperature of Coronavirus, people started blowing hot air using a hairdryer into their sinuses to induce high temperature. They suspected that the virus could not survive the heat. But, such high temperatures can damage the tract. However, breathing near steam with boiling water is a better method than blowing hot air all over.

7. Exposure to the sun cannot help during the course

Exposing yourself to the sun, and high heat was suggested on social media to kill the virus. Although exposing yourself to natural sun rays is good, an important point to note here is that once the virus enters your system, the sun exposure method works no more. However, inducing a temperature around 60℃ on the fabric like bed-sheets, while washing can kill any virus present on the material. It is a good option for the human body, and neither a hot water bath nor avoiding ice-creams and drinking hot liquids can change the temperature of the system that follows homeostasis.

8. Package from China cannot make you sick

People should stop worrying that packages from any part of the world will make you sick. The virus is an obligatory parasite, i.e., requires living cells for its survival and cannot stay on anything else for longer periods.

9. Consuming vitamins

Vitamin C can boost your immune system to fight off pathogens. But, it is harmful when consumed in large quantities. It is an antioxidant, and hence large amounts can disrupt the balance. In other words, vitamins and minerals you gain from a balanced diet are enough to boost your system. Do not depend on supplements for better health, unless it’s a necessity.

10. Ancient herbal medicine recipe for Coronavirus

The lookout for medicinal herbs during the tough time of the new viral outbreak is a good choice. But, claiming that it can serve as a recipe for Coronavirus is a bad one. The prescription of a doctor suggesting a few herbs as a recipe for the new COVID-19 went viral on social media. He claimed that the concoction could reduce the fever symptoms and cautioned drinking it against the virus remedy. The doctor also warned that- if you consume it after the infection, you can pass it can on to many others, and if one consumes it without fever for a long time, it causes health complications like kidney and liver issues.

11. Is type A blood group more susceptible?

In a study, the researchers found that the infected proportion of individuals are more in type A blood group and less in type O. These ratios in the study were approximately similar to the China statistics. It doesn’t mean that everyone who is affected is blood group A, and everyone immune is Type O. However, every group reacts a little different than the other with a different organism. The study may not conclude anything but may be helpful for further analysis.

12. Will smoking increase susceptibility to Coronavirus?

Experts found a link between smoking and Corona. They suggest that smoking increases the sensitivity because the target for the virus and smoke is the respiratory system. Smokers are prone to cold faster than non-smokers. The study also suggests that males are more prone to infection. The bias is because men in China are heavy smokers comparatively. Although there is no increase with alcohol, moderate consumption decreases the risk.

13. Will Ibuprofen worsen the symptoms of the disease?

Studies are linking Ibuprofen to worsen the symptoms as per WHO. Ibuprofen, which is an anti-inflammatory drug, can worsen the respiratory system, should be avoided as per the reputed organizations’ statements. Interviews with New York Times suggest that avoiding pain killers can help the immune system to fight the virus, although Paracetamol can serve as the first defense mechanism against fever.

14. Can masks help you avoid contacting the pathogen?

No guarantee wearing a mask ensures closed doors for pathogen entry. The organism can enter via aerosols as well. Masks can reduce the chances. The reason why face masks are preferred is that it decreases the chances of touching our face with hands.

15. DON’T FORGET THE FLU

Though the symptoms of the new COVID-19 are the same as that of the Flu, you should not ignore the Flu. Getting Flu shots beforehand can help you prevent the Flu. Moreover, according to statistics, it is air-borne, and the mortality rate is more than the present Coronavirus.

Stay updated with the real-time number of cases in every region of the world.

*The takeaway: Stop believing the misinformation spread on WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Make sure you rely on the sites of reputed organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC).*

Related: Coronavirus Symptoms: The outbreak of early 2020 in China

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