“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” Ironically, the inaccurate attribution of the quotation to American man of letters, Mark Twain, or British statesman Winston Churchill, has certainly travelled far, while the truth that it was most likely from satirist Jonathan Swift, is yet to catch up. To avoid the same fate befalling the truth about Covid-19, KTPress busts many of the myths vying for our attention, even in self isolation. Some of these myths would be entertaining, if they weren’t potentially life-threatening.
In spite of the clear advice about how people can protect themselves from infection by the Coronavirus, it seems that many cannot resist the temptation to invent weird and not so wonderful quack methods, that according to them will see off Covid-19.
Many in Africa for instance were, and some still are, keen to desperately grasp onto the fallacy that the sun will kill the Coronavirus. Like most myths, it is spun from a general truth. Ultraviolet light can kill viruses, but under appropriately recommended conditions, and certainly not the filtered UV rays from the sun.
Anyone propagating this myth might like to know that there is an opposite myth that cold will kill the virus. Alas neither the sun, nor the cold will deter Covid-19. But thoroughly washing hands with soap and water will.
Those in the tropics may be encouraged to learn that while mosquitoes are responsible for a great many evils, you cannot get Coronavirus through their bites.
Covering your body with alcohol will not protect you from Coronavirus infection, which is passed on from an infected person through droplets when he or she sneezes, coughs or their saliva is ejected when they speak. This is why physical distancing is recommended, and why you are encouraged to sneeze and cough into a tissue, or the crook of your arm.
Suggestions that pneumonia vaccines, or eating garlic will protect you from Coronavirus are equally dangerously misleading wishful thinking. Garlic is a recommended healthy food with antimicrobial properties, but it will not protect you from Coronavirus infection.
And vaccinations against respiratory diseases like pneumonia is recommended, but it will not protect from Covid-19. Research for a Covid-19 virus is underway in several countries, especially China and the United States, but according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) a commercially approved vaccine is at least a year away. That would be considered quick, when measured by how long developing vaccines normally take.
The myth that antibiotics are a protection from Coronavirus is just that. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics to treat co-infection, but not for Coronavirus itself. No medicines of any kind available now, are known to treat Coronavirus.
Some myths circulating worldwide beggar belief, like the apparent conviction that swallowing, or gargling with bleach, taking acetic acid, or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol, or other substances, can kill Coronavirus. None of these will protect you, and some like bleach, are obviously toxic.
And while it seems logical that face masks will protect you, they are not recommended. Certainly, some models of tight fitting professional masks, such as N95, can protect healthcare workers treating Coronavirus patients. For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing of lightweight surgical masks is not recommended.
Because they don’t fit tightly, Coronavirus carrying droplets may escape into and through them. And people who touch their face under a mask risk infection.
Perhaps it is because of its simplicity and accessibility that people want to dream up methods more complicated than the recommended advice to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Wash your hands regularly, for at least 40 seconds, with soap and water. Avoid touching your face, and if you cough or sneeze, do so in a tissue, or if you have no tissues, in the crook of your arm.
The objective is to prevent virus carrying droplets getting to your face, into your mouth, eyes, or nose. That and only that, with physical distancing will stop the spread of Covid-19.
And at times like these, when people need each other the most, some have felt that the term “social distancing” may be a tad callous. An excellent suggestion is to call it physical distancing. And so, wash your hands, carry a tissue, physically distance yourself from your nearest and dearest, as well as others, and stay safe, until Covid-19 becomes but a terrible memory.