I know you’re sick of hearing about coronavirus already. If you’re reading this I appreciate it’s more than likely you’re now in isolation – you’re bored out of your mind – and you’ve got nothing left to do. If you catch anything from this article, I hope it’s some sweet truths that can boost your immunity to fake news at this trying time. I will debunk these COVID-19 myths, and leave you to binge Netflix with a bit more peace of mind.
1. China conspired to hide COVID19.
There’s one important piece of information that makes it unlikely Chinese officials actually hid the truth about the outbreak. Genetic coding of viral strands from the early Wuhan victims of COVID-19 had no more than 4 point mutation differences between 10 coronavirus samples. For a continuously mutating virus, this means it had to be caught very, very quickly from the Chinese origin. The article that describes this science behind the virus was written by Chinese and Australian researchers. It may be better for any hardcore (and bored) conspiracy theorists to turn back towards the moon landing, or the Avril Lavigne double theory. Those are probably more plausible.
2. Face masks will save you from infection.
If there’s not a perfect seal around the mask, then you’re just sucking in the same air as usual. One School of Medicine lecturer is alleged to be blowing air into the sides of unwitting mask wearers at Pak n’ Save to prove this point: most masks don’t actually stop the air coming in. For those of you who have been in a country where mask-wearing is common, you would understand it’s mostly just social pressure to wear them. You can still be infected while wearing a face mask.
3. Face masks will NOT protect you.
Okay, I tricked you a little here… Masks are still helpful on a larger population scale. They can stop infected people spreading their moist breath onto you. Don’t put-down the masks too hard; the people wearing them are also trying to protect you, not just themselves.
4. There is a cure.
I’m sorry, but this has to be said. There’s no miracle vinegar elixir that will stop COVID-19. There’s also not a fast and easy test to say you don’t have it – that’s why self-isolation lasts 14 days. If you think you have the virus, call the health line (0800 611 116), and please don’t show up to a clinic demanding a test without calling ahead. Chinese, American, and Canadian researchers are all currently working on vaccines, some of which have already started human trials. But officials at WHO are expecting a fully tested and proven vaccine will not be available till the middle of next year 🙁
5. You should carry on as normal if you are young and otherwise healthy.
A slight change in the rate and speed of infection has a huge effect on the overall number of people infected throughout the whole community. This means that any small changes in our behaviour can literally save thousands of other people. There are some great infographics out there about flattening the infection curve. We are now seriously considering what sort of infectious rates and behaviours we are setting for ourselves. Everyone should be improving their hygiene at this time. That includes those people who just pretend to wash their hands in the bathroom by splashing water on their fingers – looking at you gentlemen – it’s time to step it up.
6. COVID-19 came from bats.
It’s true that the current virus shares a lot of similarities with bat viruses, but there had to be an intermediate animal before humans caught the thing. First of all, bats were not found at the Wuhan market source. Also December is hibernation season for bats. It’s likely COVID-19 followed the same trend of earlier viruses SARS and MERS which jumped through an intermediate animal before becoming the virus which infects humans. Currently, there is suspicion that it was a snake species or pangolin that first infected people. On a side note: go search up a picture of pangolins. They look like a cute cross between an artichoke and a hedgehog.
As isolation is becoming a new norm (my own flatmate has just returned home from Australia) keep in mind that you are doing your elders and parents who raised you a favour by self-isolating. Quarantine also helps to keep the front line health care workers from burning out as you do your bit to stop infections. Maybe for the first time in the academic year, you can wholeheartedly commit to one of Rosalea’s Weekly Pics (in the Lifestyle section), without feeling guilty.