COVID-19 Myths and Facts

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Aafaq Amjad, a medical student from Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan. He is affiliated with 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.

Since the beginning of this pandemic the general public has been surrounded by a number of myths which they think will help them protect themselves from contracting novel Coronavirus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) and also aid in its acute treatment. As the health care workers are busy fighting this disease the general public cannot approach them to seek guidance this leaves them to seek information from online sources and this information, I am grieved to say, has no scientific credibility most of the times.

Here I have listed a few general myths. These are;

  • Taking Vitamin C helps both in preventing and in acute treatment of COVID-19

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) has several physiological properties which include decreasing the gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines, enhancing microbial killing in certain cell types, and scavenging oxygen free radicals. Although it has been a little effective in the treatment of common cold but this doesn’t mean that it can also be used for the treatment of COVID-19 because it is caused by a genome that is different from that which causes common cold.

  • Children cannot get COVID-19

It is generally believed that Children are not affected by COVID-19 which is highly inappropriate. Children do contract coronavirus and can spread it, but if you compare the ratio between the number of children sick of coronavirus with that of adults and elderly people you will find it quite low. The reason for this is a better functioning immune system in the young. But one point that should be noted here is that the new U.K. variant of coronavirus affects children more according to a report from Imperial College London.

  • COVID-19 is just like the Flu

Both COVID-19 and Flu are viral infection and effect the respiratory system so general public might consider them one and the same thing but it’s not true both are caused by viruses having different genome. COVID-19 spreads more easily, causes more serious illness and is more fatal.

  • Everyone with COVID-19 dies

NO, not everyone who is affected by coronavirus dies some are asymptomatic, some show mild symptoms and only a small amount shows severe symptoms and die. Total COVID-19 cases that have occurred in the world, according to recent data, are 151,843,170 and the death count is 3,188,543 which shows that only 2.099% patients died and the remaining 97.900% recovered.

  • Cats and dogs spread the coronavirus

YES, recent studies have shown that this virus can be transferred from humans to animals which include Cats and Dogs. But this virus is host specific which means that it will have no effect on animals but it will affect human species.

  • Face masks always protect against the coronavirus

NO, it’s wrong. Different Mask producing companies have spread this false news only to earn money and sell their product. Although different masks have different efficiency which increases in the following manner;

Sponge Mask<Cloth Mask<Activated Carbon Mask<Surgical Mask<N95

This shows that the Sponge mask has the lowest and N95 has the highest efficiency.

  • Antibiotics kill the coronavirus

Antibiotics are used for the treatment of bacterial infections. They cannot be used for the treatment of coronavirus because it is a viral infection. COVID-19 patients may receive antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections.

  • Garlic protects against coronaviruses

NO, eating garlic doesn’t prevent a person from contracting coronavirus. Garlic does have some antimicrobial functions but the use of garlic for preventing and treating COVID-19 have not been proven scientifically.

  • The virus will die off when temperatures rise

Current evidence has proven that COVID-19 can be transmitted in all areas, including areas with hot weather. If the above statement had been true then countries like Maldives, Senegal and Mali (these are just a few I have mentioned) which are included among the hottest countries of the world would have been Covid free and a heaven for mankind in this dreadful condition of pandemic.

  • Drinking alcohol reduces the risk of infection

Drinking alcohol doesn’t by any mean reduces the risk of infection although it works as a disinfectant on the skin but it doesn’t play the same role in one’s body when it is ingested.

  • If you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you will no longer transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others

According to NEW DELHI: COVID-19 vaccination does protect a person from serious illness but they can still transmit the virus while recent studies have suggested that vaccines developed by Pfizer prevent a person from contracting COVID-19 and also prevent a person from spreading the virus. So, the above statement is still debatable.

I have gone through each of these (myths) one by one and have tried my best to put forth, for the general public, different facts and figures regarding the credibility of these. I hope the reader finds this article useful.

About the author

I am Aafaq Amjad from Allama Iqbal Medical College,Lahore,Pakistan,currently studying MBBS 2nd year.I am a member of IFMSA.I am the assistant Director SCORE at IFMSA-AIMC-LC.I am also a member of HSE-AIMC and SYNCH Pakistan.I am also a volunteer at VFAHT Pakistan.

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