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 Milestones

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

UN chief sends condolences to families of Malawi flood victims

Food safety: Enhancing consumer trust in EU risk assessment and authorisation

This company helps women to become solar entrepreneurs

Continuing incarceration of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, ‘reprehensible’: UN experts

7 simple steps we can all take to reduce food waste

Globalization is changing. Here’s how your business can adapt

The rise and rise of media on your mobile phone – in one chart

The impact of COVID-19 on the life of the elderly

UN spotlights digitization of audiovisual archives to preserve human history on World Day

Central Africans ‘need our help now’: UN’s deputy relief chief

UN human rights report cites ‘multiple root causes’ of deadly Chile protests

3 important lessons from 20 years of working with social entrepreneurs

Employment: Commission proposes €1.6 million from Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help 400 workers made redundant in Carrefour Belgique

Support ‘winds of change’ in DR Congo to consolidate positive developments, urges UN mission chief

What we take for granted: The EU is not perfect

Healthcare workers’ safety: a forgotten necessity

As COP25 goes into the night, Guterres calls for more climate ambition

European Commission registers Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

G20: Less growth, more austerity for developing countries

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Chinese economy has great potential, resilience and ample space for policy adjustment”, China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao reassures from Davos

Millions denied citizenship due to ideas of national, ethnic or racial ‘purity’: UN rights expert

Paris, Washington, IMF against Berlin and ECB on money and interest

Myanmar: New UN envoy offers to serve ‘as a bridge’, recognizes ‘positive steps’ over Rakhine state

Guinea-Bissau spotlights threats of organized crime, Sahel terrorism in speech to UN Assembly

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 4 January

Palm Oil: With Malaysia cracking down on production, what’s the alternative?

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

Data exchanges: Strengthening Europol cooperation with non-EU countries

Migration and rule of law on next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly agenda

Violence on the rise in Darfur following Sudan military takeover, but UN-AU peacekeeping mission maintains ‘robust posture’

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

President David Sassoli to visit Skopje: “Remain on the European track”

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

How to keep essential value chains moving during the COVID-19 crisis

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

A small group of world leaders are standing together against inequality

EU budget 2019 approved: focus on the young, innovation and migration

Forget 2009, this is the real credit crisis of our time

Energy Union: deals on efficiency targets and governance

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

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

The new era of Matriarchy?

4 ways to keep the momentum rolling on mental health

Services are the hidden side of the US-China trade war

Spring 2019 Economic Forecast: Growth continues at a more moderate pace

Visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for EU nationals

Top officials say UN will support Bahamas’ rescue, relief efforts as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic

Budget Committee backs €2.3 million worth of aid to help 550 redundant media workers in Greece

Human rights on film: International festival celebrates mobile phone films for a cause

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

World Population Day: ‘A matter of human rights’ says UN

Ahead of UN summit, leading scientists warn climate change ‘hitting harder and sooner’ than forecast

The invisible L word: the struggles to achieve SRHR, as HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for lesbian population

To solve the climate crisis, we need an investment revolution

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

How COVID-19 accelerated the shift towards TradeTech

Why the UK government must do more to boost green revolution

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

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