Coronavirus: The truth against the myths

outbreak covid

(Markus Spiske, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Polite Mabhena, the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Medical Students Association at the National University of Science and Technology since August 2019. 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.


Coronaviruses are a family of enveloped, single stranded RNA viruses, previously only known to cause the common cold in humans (Gladwin, Trattler, & Mahan, 2014). Surface projections look like a crown under electron microscopy, hence the name – coronaviruses. Three major strains: human coronaviruses (HCoV) 229E and OC43 and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) (Elliott, Casey, Lambert, & Sandoe, 2011); and the novel 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV). HCoV have a worldwide distribution and infections occur throughout the year, affecting all age groups equally. A SARS-CoV epidemic started in 2002 in southern China, from where it spread to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada, Taiwan, Thailand and other parts of the world. The epidemic ended in 2003, affecting 8,500 patients (95% in Asia) with a mortality rate of 9.5%.The incubation period is 2–5 days for HCoV and 2–10 days for SARS-CoV. Transmission is by respiratory droplets, aerosols and possible faecal-oral route for SARS-CoV. Replication takes place in the epithelial cells of the respiratory tract and gut with development of strain-specific antibody. Asymptomatic shedding in faeces is common.

Copious puzzling school of thoughts concerning the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have arisen. This article aims at discerning the truth from the myths about this novel coronavirus.

  1. Coronavirus is an opportunistic infection

The belief that the virus infects only those individuals with an underlying ailment, thus the immunocompromised is not true. The virus infects everyone, the healthy and the sick. Everyone is at risk of infection by this virus.

  1. Flu shots can prevent the coronavirus

Yes flu and common cold are both respiratory illnesses and they exhibit similar symptoms but it worth noting that they are caused by different viruses. The influenza virus is different from the coronavirus and hence the flu vaccine cannot prevent infection by the coronavirus.

  1. Face masks can prevent infection by the coronavirus

Face masks have become very common in mainland China and Hong-Kong however it is important to note that the ordinary surgical face masks cannot protect against the novel 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV). A more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can protect against the new coronavirus, also called 2019-nCoV. The respirator is thicker than a surgical mask but it is challenging to put these masks on and wear them for long periods of time. Specialists receive retraining annually on how to properly fit these respirators around the nose, cheeks and chin, ensuring that wearers do not breathe around the edges of the respirator (Geggel, 2020).

  1. Transmission is from a bat soup

There is no clinical evidence suggesting that the (2019-nCoV) came from the bat soup. The viral video of the woman eating bat soup has been claimed to be taken four years back in Palaui island.

  1. Coronavirus is deadlier than flu

Coronavirus causes common colds. Common cold and flu have similar symptoms; it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more intense (CDC, 2019).

References

CDC. (2019, December 30). Cold Versus Flu. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm

Elliott, T., Casey, A., Lambert, P., & Sandoe, J. (2011). Medical Microbiology and Infection. West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Geggel, L. (2020, February 1). Can wearing a face mask protect you from the new coronavirus? Retrieved from Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/face-mask-new-coronavirus.html

Gladwin, M., Trattler, W., & Mahan, S. (2014). Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple. Miami: MedMaster Inc.

About the author

Polite Mabhena is the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Medical Students Association at the National University of Science and Technology since August 2019. He is an active
member and Co-founder of the “Together for a Responsible Youth” (TRY) Initiative, one of
whose agenda is to raise Public Health awareness in Rural Schools in Zimbabwe. TRY
initiative shares the same agenda with one of the subcommittees of the Zimbabwe Medical Students Association, the Subcommittee On Public Health (SCOPH). Polite is an active member of the community, he is also the founder of the renowned “Active Bulawayo Youths” club, which has visited almost all of the Children’s Homes, Geriatric Homes and Day care Centres in Bulawayo helping with issues concerning cleanliness. Polite is also a proud member of the Rotary Club of Bulawayo South. Apart from his extracurricular activities, Polite is an aspiring Cardiothoracic Surgeon with the hope of saving many lives as the lifestyles that most people are adopting these days predisposes them to cardiac problems.

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

More funds needed to counter ‘persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems’ in Ethiopia

Commission publishes guidance on coronavirus-related humanitarian aid to Syria despite sanctions

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

A letter from Italy: Our insecurity in COVID-19 times

Companies that put employees first perform better

Vile act of torture prohibited ‘under all circumstances’, UN chief affirms on International Day to support victims

The power of partnership: joining forces to fight financial crime

Speak up for health care workers’ safety

Intervene, don’t overthink – the new mantra of systems design

8000 young people in the EP in Strasbourg: “a breath of fresh air for EU democracy”

This is what happened to CO2 emissions in the EU last year

From Israel’s ‘start-up nation’, 4 lessons in innovation

3.7 million lives could be saved by 2025 if health services ramp up nutrition actions: WHO

You can live up to 10 years longer by doing these 5 things

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “Europe must listen to the people”

Integration of migrants: Commission launches a public consultation and call for an expert group on the views of migrants

European Youth Forum welcomes strong stance on human rights in State of the Union

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

Quality of air in Bucharest-Romania: is it fog or is it smog?

Commission reaches agreement with collaborative economy platforms to publish key data on tourism accommodation

This is how we can feed the planet while saving the ocean

Genocide threat for Myanmar’s Rohingya greater than ever, investigators warn Human Rights Council

Mental health and suicide prevention

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

UN chief expresses solidarity with Indonesian authorities after flash floods kill dozens in Papua

‘Path to peace’ on Korean Peninsula only possible through diplomacy and full denuclearization: US tells Security Council

9 climate tipping points pushing Earth to the point of no return

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

Humanitarian aid: €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

MEPs approve €585 million to support refugees from Syria

How can we make entrepreneurship serve the greater good?

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

We need to build a quantum security coalition. Here’s why

A Sting Exclusive: “The challenge of Society’s digital transformation”, Spanish Minister of Spain for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria live from European Business Summit 2015

China’s lead in the global solar race – at a glance

How COVID-19 can be the Great Reset toward global sustainability

UN food agency begins ‘last resort’ partial withdrawal of aid to opposition-held Yemeni capital

The World Bank’s 2020 country classifications explained

Venezuela: Competing US, Russia resolutions fail to pass in Security Council

On Kristallnacht anniversary, UN chief urges renewed fight against ‘crime’ of anti-Semitism

The EU has to prove it can remain one piece

Politics needs to “Youth UP” in order the ensure the future of our democracies

5 reasons to protect mangrove forests for the future

States with power and influence to end suffering of Yemenis must take action ‘immediately’ – UN rights chief

COVID-19: Both WHO and Europe must learn from the current pandemic, say MEPs

Italy’s revised budget remains roughly unchanged waiting for Europe’s fury

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Germany rules the banking industry of Eurozone

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

Labels for tyres: deal for greener and safer road transport

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

The Fourth Industrial Revolution must not leave farming behind

Agreement on linking the emissions trading systems of the EU and Switzerland

Political solution ‘long overdue’ to protect the children of eastern Ukraine

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

UN General Assembly President upholds value of multilateralism in speech closing annual debate

‘Air bridge’ vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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