Coronavirus myths explored


AS coronavirus continues to make the news, a host of untruths has surrounded the topic. In this Special Feature, we address some of these myths and conspiracy theories.A variety of myths have sprung up around the novel coronavirus.
The novel coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, has spread from Wuhan, China, to every continent on Earth except Antarctica.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially changed their classification of the situation from a public health emergency of international concern to a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
The virus has been responsible for millions of infections globally, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. The United States is the most affected country.
As ever, when the word “pandemic” starts appearing in headlines, people become fearful — and with fear come misinformation and rumors.
Here, we will dissect some of the most common myths that are currently circulating on social media and beyond.
Stay informed with live updates on the current Covid-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.
Spraying chlorine or alcohol on the skin kills viruses in the body
Applying alcohol or chlorine to the body can cause harm, especially if it enters the eyes or mouth. Although people can use these chemicals to disinfect surfaces, they should not use them on the skin.
These products cannot kill viruses within the body.
Only older adults and young people are at risk
SARS-CoV-2, like other coronaviruses, can infect people of any age. However, older adults and individuals with preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, are more likely to become severely ill.
Children cannot get Covid-19
All age groups can contract SARS-CoV-2.
So far, most cases have been in adults, but children are not immune. In fact, preliminary evidence suggests that children are just as likely to contract it, but their symptoms tend to be less severe.
Covid-19 is just like the flu
SARS-CoV-2 causes an illness that does have flu-like symptoms, such as aches, a fever, and a cough. Similarly, both Covid-19 and the flu can be mild, severe, or, in rare cases, fatal. Both can also lead to pneumonia.
However, the overall profile of Covid-19 is more serious. Estimates vary, but its mortality rate seems to be between about 1% and 3%.
Although scientists are still working out the exact mortality rate, it is likely to be many times higher than that of seasonal flu.