The novel Coronavirus, known as Covid-19, has sent the world into a frenzy. While there are still no reported cases in South Africa, experts believe that it is only a matter of time before the disease touches down onto African soil. The question is, just how much should we all be worrying? We separate the myths from the facts below.
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus is essentially a virus that affects the respiratory tract and presents with flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath.
How is it spread?
It is spread in the same way as influenza. By being in close contact with an infected person, or transferring the virus from your hands to your mouth, nose, or eyes. This is why strict hand hygiene is so very important!
Uncovering the myths surrounding Coronavirus
MYTH: Anything related to China is going to give me Coronavirus
This obviously isn’t true. While this particular strain of the virus originated in China, it was in no way the fault of the Chinese. The virus has kick-started a sense of xenophobia towards Chinese people which is completely unnecessary and unfounded. Not all Chinese people have coronavirus, and not all people who have coronavirus are Chinese!
MYTH: Coronavirus is the deadliest disease the world has ever seen
No, it isn’t. While it has indeed resulted in the death of some people, it is far from the world’s deadliest disease. Most people who have died after contracting coronavirus were people with already compromised and lower immune systems, such as the elderly or individuals with HIV/AIDS. The flu is said to kill up to 60 times more people than coronavirus per annum.
MYTH: If I get Coronavirus, I will die
Again, no. Only two percent of people who have contracted the virus have died as a result, although this figure is climbing. However, the number of deaths in most countries directly correlate to the elderly.
MYTH: I need to get a face mask and gargle with bleach to prevent infection
Disposable face masks are unlikely to offer the protection you need against droplets that can still enter the nose or mouth and aren’t actually necessary as long as you are washing your hands as often as possible – and never, ever gargle with bleach. Bleach is extremely dangerous to humans if ingested. Instead, work on boosting your immune system by practicing healthy habits, especially when it comes to what you eat.
Be very careful about the ‘facts’ that you read about the virus online. Many of the articles relating to the global emergency are inaccurate and racist. Always check your sources before taking anything as ‘fact’.