Coronaviruses: the truth against the myths


(CDC, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Faithfulness, a 2nd year Medical student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria. She 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.

The outbreak of a new type of coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province in China has raised a lot of public health concerns across the world. Government of different countries are trying to ensure that their citizens are informed on what to do to prevent themselves and others around them. But how do we separate the facts from the myths? What do we know about coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses that causes illness that range from the common cold to severe respiratory diseases. They were first identified in the 1960s and were named ‘corona’ because of their crown-like shape.

Coronaviruses can be transmitted between animals and humans, causing a variety of diseases. Some of the diseases caused by these group of viruses in humans include the 2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Diseases (ARD), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Other human coronaviruses include 229E, NL63 and HKU1. The SARS-CoV outbreak occurred between 2002- 2003 in Guangdong province of China, with approximately 8098 reported cases and 774 deaths. The MERS-CoV outbreak which was responsible for the series of highly pathogenic respiratory tract infection in Saudi Arabia occurred in 2012. MERS-CoV is still monitored globally to understand the risk of the virus, how it spreads, and how to prevent infection.

31st December, 2019, 2019-nCoV which is responsible for ‘2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease (ARD)’ outbreak was reported to WHO. Globally, 11,953 cases have been confirmed and 259 deaths reported. Based on available data, the likelihood of transmission of 2019-nCoV is through contact with a symptomatic infected person. Currently, 2019-nCoV ARD is a public health emergency of international concern due to the global outbreak of the disease outside of China.


  • It is believed that coronavirus is a new type of virus. Coronavirus is not a new TYPE of virus but a Virus that belongs to a bigger family of virus. 2019-nCoV is a type of Coronavirus.
  • Some think that Coronavirus diseases can be treated with Antibiotics. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics because antibiotics are meant for bacterial infections. Therefore, 2019-nCoV cannot be treated with antibiotics although people infected with 2019-nCoV can be given antibiotics in case of a bacterial co-infection.
  • Some believe that only a certain group of people can get infected by Coronavirus. This is not true as people of all ages can get infected by any type of coronavirus. Older people and those with an underlying illness are more susceptible to 2019-nCoV or any type of coronavirus.
  • Since coronaviruses are zoonotic, there are concerns that household pets might be infected by 2019-nCoV. Although there is no evidence to prove this, it is recommended that everyone protect themselves through hand hygiene to prevent the transmission of common bacteria (e.g. E.coli) from

WHO recommends proper hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and safe food practices as ways by which we can prevent ourselves and others from contracting the virus.

About the author

Miss Faithfulness holds a first degree in Biochemistry (first-class honors) from the Federal University of Technology, Akure in 2018. She is currently a 2nd year Medical student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Commission Vice-President Rehn exaggerates Eurozone’s growth prospects

Industrial policy: recommendations to support Europe’s leadership in six strategic business areas

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

5 ways to break down the barriers for women to access leadership roles

A Sting Exclusive: “On the road to Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement”, by Ambassador Katakami of the Japanese Mission to the European Union

AI can help us unlock the world’s most complex operating system – the human body

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

Healthcare guidance apps to professional’s continued education?

The world needs a circular economy. Help us make it happen

Victims of terrorism remembered

Banks cannot die but can be fined

The next generation is key for a European renaissance

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

UN expert calls for international investigation into ‘evident murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi

‘The clock is ticking’ on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says UN deputy chief

A Monday to watch the final act of a Greek tragedy; will there be catharsis or more fear?

Syrian Constitutional Committee a ‘sign of hope’: UN envoy tells Security Council

Coronavirus: Commission stands ready to continue supporting EU’s agri-food sector

Norway is returning Easter Island artefacts to Chile (Will Britain ever return the marbles to Greece?)

MWC 2016 Live: Mobile ad industry still waiting for “revolution”

Brexit casts a shadow over the LSE – Deutsche Börse merger: a tracer of how or if brexit is to be implemented

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

EU Commission announces Safe Harbour 2.0 and a wider Data protection reform

Commission sets moderate greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Sudan Prime Minister survives attempted assassination

Monday’s Daily Brief: WFP mulls ‘last resort’ Yemen aid suspension, top peacekeeping awardee announced, abuzz over Bee Day, Ebola threat ‘very high’

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

Why helping cross-border commuters is key to fighting COVID-19

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Emotional control and introspectivity in times of pandemic

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

The Khashoggi affair: A global complot staged behind closed doors


EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

What if Trump wins the November election and Renzi loses the December referendum?

Nicaragua crisis: One year in, more than 60,000 have fled, seeking refuge

Trump after marginalizing G20 attacks Europe and China where it hurts, brandishes currency war

EU-Ukraine Summit: moving forward together in solidarity

MEPs to prioritise environment and climate action in next long-term budget

In Libya, Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ by risk of fresh military confrontation, urges restraint

UN forum to bring ‘big space data’ benefits to disaster response in Africa

The 5 lessons from New York Climate Week to help us combat deforestation

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Poverty and social exclusion skyrocket with austerity

3 ways to use digital identity systems in global supply chains

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

Technology can help solve the climate crisis – but it will need our help

An open letter from business to world leaders: “Be ambitious, and together we can address climate change”

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

EU-US trade war? EU calls for logic while Trump’s administration is a loose cannon in a dangerous lose-lose situation for global prosperity

This AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work

We spend half our time at work in meetings – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing

Is history a new NATO weapons against Russia?

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

The jobs forecast is unsettled. It’s time for a reskilling revolution

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

UPDATED: Thousands flee fighting around Libyan capital as Guterres condemns escalation, urges ‘immediate halt’ to all military operations

More Stings?



  1. You got this from a medical student????? The first written myth is distracting, if not misleading.

    • continued response: In the period prior to December 29, 2019 Chinese scientists were not able to identify an emerging disease as those caused from an virus (Prof. Jun Zheng, Southeast University (SEU), Nanjing, China.) At the end of December 2019, the Chinese finally managed to identify as an new type of virus. Again, as an new. A further determination then learned them that the new virus had an behavior similar to SARS/CoV and CoV-MERS. They gave the virus the name “2019 novel coronavirus” but appeared later as causing confusion. That’s were the current name SARS/CoV-2 comes from. But, COVID-19 is NOT an virus but the name of the disease and refers to the year when the DISEASE started to emerged. .

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s