With increasing cases and deaths over Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there's a lot of misinformation circulating about the issue. This ranges from unfounded preventing measures and even cures. But experts have pointed out that a number of these purported measures are actually false. With the cases growing in Nigeria and several state governments adopting stringent measures to curb the spread of the disease, the misinformation has continued to grow. Here are some of those myths about coronavirus which are not actually true.

1. A vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available.
This is false. There is no vaccine for the new coronavirus presently. Though scientists are already working on vaccines, the developing a vaccine that is safe and effective in human beings will take many months.

2. You may have heard that you can protect yourself from COVID-19 by doing the following: swallowing or gargling your mouth and throat with bleach, taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances. None of these recommendations is true. None of them can protect you from getting COVID-19. In fact, some of these practices may be dangerous. The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus (and other viruses) include: Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and hot water; Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing; In addition, you can avoid spreading your own germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.

3. The new coronavirus was deliberately created or released by people.
This is also false. There no evidence yet to prove this hypothesis. The truth is that viruses can change over time. According to Lisa Maragakis, a senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins, Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.

4. Ordering or buying products shipped from China will make a person sick. 
This is false. The truth is that for now, scientists have said that most viruses like this one do not stay alive for very long on surfaces, so it is not likely you would get COVID-19 from a package that was in transit for days or weeks. The illness is most likely transmitted by droplets from an infected person's sneeze or cough, but more information is emerging daily, says Maragakis.

5. A face mask will protect you from COVID-19.
This is very untrue. The truth is that certain models of professional, tight-fitting respirators (such as the N95) can protect health care workers as they care for infected patients. Maragakis adds that for the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don't fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected. People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others. Bear in mind that stocking up on masks makes fewer available for sick patients and health care workers who need them.

6. Drinking hot water with lemons will cure or prevent COVID-19
This is one very popular therapy on social media platforms allegedly attributed to 'scientists'. It further claims that drinking hot water with lemons and sodium bicarbonate will "alkalize the immune system" and cure or prevent COVID-19. This claim is very false.

One claim, attributed to a Chinese researcher, implores readers to "use as much natural vitamin C" as possible and suggests lemons as a good source. To that point, the post claims that regular consumption of a drink made from three lemon slices and hot water helps "against the spread of [COVID-19]" and "destroys the virus." While vitamin C does play a role in several immune system functions, its use as a treatment to prevent or cure viral infections is unsupported by science, reports Snopes.com.

Lemon and hot water used as a vitamin C therapy will not "kill" or "slow the spread" of COVID-19, nor would it provide a clinically significant amount of vitamin C to begin with. A buffered solution of hot lemon juice and sodium bicarbonate, similarly, will do nothing to change the pH of either your body or your immune system Snopes.com. For these reasons both lemon-related "cures" are rated "False."

7. Can you get infected while having sex with infected person?
This is actually not a fact except you engage in kissing. The virus isn't considered a traditional sexually transmitted disease since it's not spread via contact with genitals. But since it's transmitted through respiratory droplets, kissing can spread it.

How else is it spread? Coughing and sneezing and through close person-to-person contact that might transfer those droplets — i.e. if a sick person coughs or sneezes into their hand and then shakes yours, or from hugging and kissing an infected individual. It's now believed the virus can also live on certain hard surfaces, such as plastic or stainless steel, for up to 72 hours.

8. You can't catch coronavirus from your pet
Presently there's no evidence that pets, livestock, or wildlife can transmit the disease to humans. Scientists are still studying to see if humans can pass it on to their pets.

9. Will the coronavirus pandemic end once warmer weather arrives?
No, not at all. There's no evidence to prove that the coronavirus pandemic will end with rising temperatures. This won't bring the coronavirus spread to a halt. The idea that this is just going to blow over once spring and summer arrives is incorrect, according to scientists. Though the spread may slow slightly simply because there tends to be less coughing and sneezing during the warm months, but the virus is so easily transmissible that it will continue to circulate if measures are not taken to slow it down.

10. Over-the-counter meds won't make COVID-19 symptoms worse
You may have heard that OTC pain meds like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can make coronavirus worse, but the World Health Organization has debunked that notion and other medical experts agree. "That rumor just adds to the panic — there's no scientific evidence to back it up," says Dr. Dasgupta.

11. COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

12. Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease
Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

13. The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.
To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

14. Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?
No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

15. Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?
UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

16. Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?
No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

17. Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

18.Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

19. Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
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 the new coronavirus.

20. Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

21. Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older 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.

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

(With reports from John Hopkins Medicine, Good House Keeping, WHO)


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