Quashing myths on 2019-nCoV for better public management

covid cell

(Brian McGowan, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Frederick Putra Wijaya, a fourth year medical student from Indonesia. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

There are streaks of news out there covering the coronavirus epidemic all around the world. News that are supposed to tell facts and the truth only about the current global crisis. It is unfortunate that apparently not all news deliver facts, but rather just draw more attention to create a more disastrous situation than it already is.

  1. Numbers of confirmed cases and deaths

WHO, alongside with the Chinese National Health Commission, announced on the WHO website current updates on the issue. There has been 20630 confirmed cases spread within 24 countries. These numbers is a 300% increase within 7 days. A public-health emergency indeed. However, we should all be reminded that the Chinese officials stated that most of the death cases happened only to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, meaning that death of an originally healthy adult is very rare. The virulence of the 2019-nCoV also seems to be lower than the previously known SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

  1. Treatment of the disease

Researches on the cure is still being done currently and there has no single recommended cure yet for the 2019-nCoV, yet. There has been some, perilous, circulating news on how saline water or herbal medicines can cure the infection. Those statement has not been proven clinically and might impose danger to those infected by the virus. The only action recommended to cope with the situation is to report any possible cases to health professionals, do a medical check up and isolation in case of confirmed cases to prevent transmission.

  1. Spread of the disease

Numerous provocative news about route of virus transmission have been publicised, including human-to-human, animal-to-human and contact of Chinese imported products. The WHO has formally declared that the only possible routes of transmission known are human-to-human (much alike to other respiratory diseases) and animal-to-human (limited to bats). Domestic pets are safe to keep as it’s impossible for them to be infected and transmit the disease. Imported goods are also safe to receive as the virus is known not to thrive in surviving outside of the hosts, a few hours on surfaces. Halt on it would cause a huge economic impact for China and the world.

Ultimately, prevention is still very essential, as recommended by the WHO, especially those who are prone to the exposure of the virus. A composed reaction to the current situation is also needed to prevent further escalation of the issue. It is important not to spread random, unverified news as it will cause misinformations and at a point, be dangerous to those who are in actual risk of contracting the virus.


  1. http://who.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/c88e37cfc43b4ed3baf977d77e4a0667
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/12/2/135/htm
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

About the author

Frederick Putra Wijaya is a fourth year medical student from Indonesia. His interest include the medical field and international relations. He has attended numerous Model United Nations conferences as his way to channel his interests for world affairs, in which he has been awarded for a few of his writings. He is currently doing his scientific research and hoping to do more in the future.

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