Coronavirus: Myths Busted

Feb 19 , 2020

Coronavirus: Myths Busted

Unfortunately, with experts only now beginning to grasp the intricacies of 2019-nCoV, a lot of false information has been shared far and wide across social platforms.

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been a hot topic in recent months as this new virus spreads across various parts of the world. First detected in Wuhan in Hubei Province, China in December 2019, the pneumonia outbreak has authorities and medical researchers working tirelessly to firstly understand the virus better and, secondly, develop and cure and vaccine.


The novel coronavirus doesn’t have any distinct symptoms that set it apart from the average flu. The World Health Organisation has advised persons who develop the below symptoms, and believe they could’ve been in contact with an infected person, to rather seek medical care early and undergo lab tests.

Symptoms can present themselves as early as 2 days and as late as 14 days after infection.

Early Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

More Severe Cases

  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney Failure

Unfortunately, with experts only now beginning to grasp the intricacies of 2019-nCoV, a lot of false information has been shared far and wide across social platforms. We take a look at some of the biggest myths and give you the facts.

MYTH: There is a vaccine and/or cure

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) there is currently no vaccine or cure for 2019-nCoV. Researchers from various countries are still working to develop a vaccine and, should they be successful, could take several months before it’s made available to the public.

MYTH: Current flu and pneumonia vaccines will protect you

Again, there are no known vaccines that will prevent 2019-nCoV infection. Authorities urge people to continue practicing basic hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap, staying home when you are sick and holding your hand(s) in front of your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.

MYTH: Pets can get infected and spread 2019-nCoV

There is no evidence that pets can get infected with the novel coronavirus. The WHO still reminds people to continue washing their hands after contact with pets.

MYTH: Saline nasal rinses and mouthwash will stave off the infection

While saline rinses and mouthwash do have antimicrobial properties, it won’t do much in terms of preventing a 2019-nCoV infection.

MYTH: Items mailed from China could be infected

It’s still safe to accept packages from China. The 2019-coronavirus is extremely fragile outside of the human body and won’t survive long on packages or other objects.

MYTH: Only the elderly get infected

People of all ages are vulnerable to infection. However, elderly and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart diseases or immunodeficiency will experience harsher symptoms.

MYTH: Antibiotics are effective in treating 2019-nCoV

Antibiotics are only effective in treating bacterial infections, and 2019-nCoV is a viral infection. Infected individuals are currently given antibiotics for other bacterial co-infections that might develop along with 2019-nCoV. Doctors are also administering oxygen to patients experiencing breathing difficulties.

MYTH: 2019-nCoV is spread from animal meat

While researchers believe the virus originated from an animal (either bats or snakes), the virus is only spread through coming into contact with respiratory droplets as a result of coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through saliva and nasal discharge, while early research also shows a possible link to faecal matter.

Sources: The World Health Organisation | Lancet | National Institute for Communicable Diseases | Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention

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