One thing is certain about any crisis, particularly a health care issue – like the coronavirus pandemic – is the proliferation of misinformation, denial, under and overestimating the threat. Much of the misinformation is spread by individuals with little or no knowledge of the condition.
We’ve had no shortage of misstatements, from government offices to radio and television, on twitter and Facebook and every social network possible, to the halls of so many organizations, including religious.
We’ve had a radio talk show host, whose predilection has been to support the president no matter what, echoing the president’s early claims that the threat was a hoax perpetrated by the opposition party. We’ve had many individuals, in government and on the airwaves, speculate that as we warm up, as humidity rises, the virus would exit.
The best place to find real information, if you’re prone to using the internet, is on the sites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, WHO has a section called myth busters (you’ll find it on the coronavirus page under things you need to know).
Here’s a sampling of some of the issues WHO addresses on its myths buster page:
- Myth: Covid-19 does not thrive in warm and humid climates. WHO: “From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.”
- Myth: Cold weather kills germs and can kill the new coronavirus. WHO: “There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather.”
- Myth: The coronavirus can be transmitted by mosquito bites. WHO: “To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus, which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.”
- Myth: Hand dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus. WHO: “No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.”
The above is only a sampling of myths addressed by WHO. To learn more visit WHO’s site at www.who.int, coronavirus page, click on myths busters on things you need to know. Looking for comprehensive information, visit WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent site at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.