With Coronavirus spreading rapidly across the world – affecting 172 countries and claiming more than 20,000 lives to date – nearly a third of the world’s population are living under movement restrictions. That means we’re spending a lot of time indoors. And a lot of time spent indoors means a lot of time on our phones – and especially on social media.
But social media has been battling its own virus for years: the spread of inaccurate information. While a social medium has many advantages, such as the ability to deliver news instantly, reaching different audiences faster, it also creates enormous problems, such as fake news.
Believe it or not, but not everything on social media is rooted in fact. From holding your breath to drinking cow urine, here are the biggest coronavirus myths the world needs to ignore.
False: gargling or swallowing certain substances protects you from coronavirus
Gargling vinegar, essential oils, ethanol, salt water, steroids or bleach will not protect you from coronavirus. The latter, bleach, is dangerous and will not benefit your health. Instead, the best protection is to wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose where possible, and avoid close contact with people.
Another swallowing-related myth revolves around eating garlic to prevent infection. While garlic might kill or slow the spread of some microorganisms, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that it has protected people from the new coronavirus.
False: a face mask will protect you from coronavirus
We’ve all seen photographs and video footage showing people wearing disposable masks, which are often recommended as a preventative measure against coronavirus. However, the majority of face masks simply aren’t tight enough, allowing the virus to get into the nose, mouth and eyes, and they actually prompt people to touch their faces more as they readjust their masks to fit.
Some models of professional, tight-fitting respirators (N95) can help protect healthcare workers who are caring for patients, but there simply aren’t enough of those to go around at the moment.
False: wearing rubber gloves will prevent the spread of germs on your hands
Rubber gloves can still become contaminated, so, if you touch your face when wearing them, you risk infection. Washing your hands properly offers more protection than gloves.
False: products shipped from countries with high levels of infection will cause coronavirus infection
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that coronaviruses do not survive for long on objects such as letters or packages. Due to humidity and temperature changes, shipping conditions make it difficult for viruses to survive, so there is very low risk of them spreading from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks.
False: drinking alcohol can kill the coronavirus
Very high levels of alcohol are needed to kill a virus, but the concentration in alcoholic drinks isn’t high enough and the level needed would actually kill a person before killing the virus.
While alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, they can be harmful if they come into contact with clothes, eyes and mouths. People should always follow instructions carefully and only use as directed. The WHO recommends alcohol hand sanitiser as part of your hand-hygiene routine.
False: flu is far more deadly and easier to catch
Recent data (China CDC Weekly) suggests that COVID-19 has a mortality rate more than twenty times higher than the flu virus. With no vaccine to protect us yet, we all need to take preventative measures to stay safe.
False: pets can spread the new coronavirus
There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. As always, it’s recommended that you wash your hands after petting an animal.
False: flies carry COVID-19
There is no indication that house flies or even mosquitoes can transmit the virus either through a bite or by landing on an infected surface. However, we should all be cleaning and disinfecting contact surfaces to keep us protected regardless.
False: antibiotics kill coronavirus
Antibiotics kill bacteria, but they don’t kill viruses. SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, will not be treated by antibiotics, so it’s best to leave them for the people that need them most.
Fact: accurate information about coronavirus can help keep you safe
Our mission at Rentokil Initial is to Protect People and Enhance Lives. We have pest control operations in over 80 countries and hygiene services in 46 as well as disinfection solutions.