Coping with Corona: Myth busters and the current truth

Respiratory syndrome related coronavirus. (Photo: Wiki)

There is no denying that the world has been taken by storm. Rapidly infecting the globe, the novel coronavirus has caused worldwide panic and mass government lockdowns. Individuals have been ordered to stay at home as businesses close and millions go unemployed. In what was once a globalized world, we now sit in the isolation of our own homes or hospital rooms. Many of our questions have no definite answers, and we are left to wonder if we will ever have the truth – if we will ever have peace of mind. This is what the world has come to, and this is what you need to know.

The Basics

What Exactly is the Coronavirus/COVID-19?

The novel coronavirus is a new form of coronavirus that has recently been identified. Though related to other coronaviruses, such as the common cold and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) each form of coronavirus is separate and requires its own treatment.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

COVID-19 is spread through contact with an infected individual. As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus spreads through small droplets from the nose or mouth when the infected individual exhales or coughs. These droplets can land on surfaces, where others can pick them up and then touch their face. Likewise, it is possible that others can directly inhale these droplets.

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19, and Who is at Risk?

As reported by the WHO, the most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. However, a multitude of other symptoms may present themselves, such as a runny nose or a sore throat. Moreover, only around 1 in 6 individuals will become severely ill and develop respiratory problems.

The truth is anyone is at risk of contracting coronavirus. It is a common misconception that young individuals will not contract the disease. However, it is true that some individuals are more at risk for developing serious complications. These individuals include older individuals and those with previous underlying medical conditions.

How Do I Protect Myself from COVID-19?

The answer is simple: regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, practice social distancing (that means a 3 foot distance, according to WHO), and avoid touching the face.

Well what about masks and gloves? Those items prove to be futile to the everyday citizen. The WHO recommends to not wear masks as it is only necessary if they possess COVID-19 symptoms or are caring for an infected individual; although the narrative has changed in the past few days with more push for individuals (affected or not) to wear masks. Moreover, many doctors warn that wearing gloves may increase the risk of infection, as some individuals may use a pair of gloves multiple times without frequently washing them. The truth is that there is a worldwide shortage of these supplies, and unnecessarily buying these items put health care officials at risk of infection.

Is There a Treatment/Cure for COVID-19?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. As of date, there is no vaccine or antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Common Misconceptions

Hot Weather Kills the Coronavirus.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19, and there exists no scientific evidence that ANY climate is safe from infection. Moreover, exposing one’s self to extreme temperatures, such as the sun’s rays, hot baths, hand dryers, and hair dryers does not prevent infection.

Spraying Chlorine/Alcohol on the Body Will Kill the Virus.

Absolutely not. Spraying chemicals onto your body will only cause harm, as these substances are damaging both to clothes and mucous membranes (i.e. our eyes and mouths). Moreover, these substances cannot kill viruses already within the body. However, these chemicals are still recommended as surface disinfectants.

COVID-19 Can be Cured by Home Remedies.

College student Elizabeth Gentry remarked that, “I’ve seen some home remedies for corona online… there was one that was made from boiling orange peels and lavender.” Though a delicious mix, the concoction is absolutely not a cure for corona. In fact, to date, there is no cure for COVID-19.

The Coronavirus is a “Chinese Virus.”

Across the world, Asian individuals have fallen victim to racist hate crimes, most of which were fueled by the belief in this “Chinese Virus” label. However, as stated by health officials, calling the coronavirus names such as “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung-Flu” only promote xenophobic ideologies and ignore the scientific evidence that COVID-19 could have originated anywhere in the world.

Yet let me put it even simpler for those who still do not understand. It is – without a shred of doubt – racist to refer to the disease as anything other than “COVID-19” or the “coronavirus.” It is not a matter of debate; it is an undeniable fact.

What Now?

Practice what you know will keep you safe from the virus: washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and practicing social distancing. Moreover, avoid buying gloves and masks unless you are caring for a sick individual or are sick yourself; these items are a necessity for health care professionals, and there is currently a worldwide shortage. Lastly, remember that we are all in this together and that the world as a whole must face COVID-19. It is important to spread kindness and love rather than hatred and bigotry, especially during this trying time.

This piece was written for the class Alternative Journalism, which is taught by Kelley Crawford at Tulane University. The ongoing series, “Coping with Corona” is a live curriculum project where students investigate and report on the missed angles of Coronavirus coverage. 


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