Coronavirus Myths and Facts: The Biggest Rumors, Busted


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Coronavirus Myths and Facts: The Biggest Rumors, Busted

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Covid 19 - ncov2019 - Coronavirus Information & Updates in India

COVID-19 disease is caused by SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)-CoV-2 Virus. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms. Common symptoms are fever, tiredness, dry cough, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. Some people may develop a more severe form of disease, e.g. Pneumonia.

1. Viruses can’t travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and their eyes, mouth or nose.

2. SARS – CoV-2 Virus can catch anyone, no matter how sunny or hot and humid the weather is.

3. This Virus can't be confirmed with a Breathing Test. Being able to hold the breath for ten seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort doesn't mean that one is free from COVID-19 or any other lung disease. Best way to confirm it is Laboratory Test.

4. Drinking Alcohol doesn’t protect against COVID-19 and can be dangerous.

5. Cold weather and snow can’t kill the Novel Corona Virus.

6. Taking a hot bath doesn't prevent this Virus.

7. It can't be transmitted through mosquito bites.

8. Hand dryers are not effective in killing this Virus.

9. Ultraviolet (UV) Lamps shouldn’t be used to sterilize the hands, as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

10. Thermal scanners/ infrared thermometers are useful in detecting people who have developed fever because of infection with this Virus. However, they can't detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever, because, it takes between 2-14 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

11. Spraying Alcohol or Chlorine all over the body will not kill viruses that have already entered the body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucus membranes (eyes, mouth). Both Alcohol and Chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces.

12. Regularly rinsing the nose with Saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold, but doesn't prevent this Virus.

13. People of all ages can be infected with this Virus. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (Asthma, Diabetes, Heart disease) appear to be vulnerable to become severely ill with Virus.

14. Antibiotics don’t work against Virus; they work against bacteria only. However, if one is hospitalized for 2019-nCoV, antibiotics may be given because Bacterial co-infection is possible.

15. There is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the 2019-nCoV.

16. Although Vaccines against Pneumonia, e.g. Pneumococcal Vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) don't protect to COVID-19, but, highly recommended against respiratory illnesses.

17. ‘Garlic’ has antimicrobial properties and boosts Immunity.

18. Development of Immunity to pathogen through natural infection is a multi-step process that typically takes place over 1-2 weeks. The body responds to viral infection immediately with a non-specific innate response in which Macrophages, Neutrophils, and Dendritic cells slow the progress of the Virus. This innate response is followed by adaptive response /Immunity, where the body makes antibodies that specifically bind to the Virus. These antibodies are proteins called Immunoglobulin. Body makes T-cells that recognize and eliminate other infected cells. This is called “Cellular Immunity.” This combined adaptive immunity/response may clear Virus from the body and may prevent progression to severe illness or re-infection by same Virus. This process is measured by presence of antibodies in blood.

19. People who have recovered from infection have antibodies to Virus. However, some have very low level of neutralizing antibodies in their blood, suggesting that Cellular Immunity may also be critical for recovery. Whether, presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, confers Immunity to subsequent infection by Virus in human is unknown.

20. There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from the second infection, and hence, it is no basis for immunity passport or risk-free certificate that would enable persons to travel or return to work assuming that they are protected from re-infection.

(Dr. Sunil)
Chief Medical Officer, WUSHC, DU
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