5 Coronavirus Myths You Should Stop Believing Immediately

Edward Cooper

Let’s get one thing straight: you have every right to be concerned about the issue of the coronavirus, or Covid-19. At the time of writing, there are currently 139,000 cases and 5,000 reported deaths from the disease.

Similarly, as borders close and celebrities — including Tom Hanks — go into isolation or quarantine, concern about the spreading disease has hit fever pitch, with many people being forced to work from home or practice self-isolation, for fear of catching the disease. Let’s not even talk about the toilet roll hoarding or the myths about cocaine curing the disease.

All of this, however, doesn’t mean that your health, wellbeing and mental fortitude is out of your control. Far from it, in fact — as hundreds of news and media outlets churn out headlines designed to get clicks, drive engagement and boost traffic at the cost of social anxiety, there’s never been a more pertinent time to re-calibrate yourself with cold, hard facts.

Which, hopefully, is how you’ve found yourself on this page. We’ll help you separate the scientific fact from social media fiction on all things coronavirus to help you stay sane and stay healthy.

Now synonymous with the outbreak of Covid-19, the white face mask has become a symbol for a disease which has spread over several continents and can be seen being worn almost anywhere, from quiet residential streets to (unsurprisingly) crowded commuter transport. Face masks, however, aren’t a bonafide way of keeping yourself virus-free. It can infect you through your eyes and is transported through tiny particles, called aerosols, that can penetrate masks. However, for health workers and social carers dealing with the sick, face masks are an essential part of keeping both parties safe. If you bulk buy them on Amazon, you won’t be keeping yourself safe, but you might be preventing the people who actually need them from getting them.

Coronavirus Myth #2: Getting Covid-19 Means Certain Death
It certainly doesn’t. While media headlines focus on the rising death toll (let’s not forget it’s actually decreasing at its place of origin in Wuhan), there are approximately 70,000 cases of people recovering from the strain. In fact, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 81 per cent of those infected have mild cases of the coronavirus and 2.3 per cent of those infected have died so far. Be aware also that that number refers to the number of people diagnosed, in other words the ones who presented to medical staff because they had the most serious complications. Many more people self-isolated and were infected but never diagnosed, so the true mortality rate is likely much lower.

Crucially, this means there’s no need to panic (or to stock up on tins and dried food), but instead to use this as an opportunity to encourage healthier habits, such as washing your hands more regularly.

Coronavirus Myth #3: You Need to Be Near Someone for 10 Minutes to Contract Covid-19
This is one of the most common concerns. Generally, hospital guidelines consider ‘exposure’ distance as being up to six feet from someone coughing or sneezing for up to 10 minutes. However, shorter interactions can also lead to infection. As can contaminated surfaces, although this is a less common cause of virus transmission.

Coronavirus Myth #4: Pets Can Transmit The Disease
Keeping an eye on your four-legged friend? There’s no need. While social media erupted over the ‘WHO let the dogs out’ joke, good news came in the form of findings being published confirming that, generally, dogs and cats can’t transmit the coronavirus to humans. That’s straight from the World Health Organization (WHO), who confirmed that companion animals show no risk of disease transmission.

Dad Jokes
@Dadsaysjokes
The World Health Organization has declared that dogs cannot transmit Coronavirus, and there is no reason to quarantine dogs anymore.

W.H.O. let the dogs out!

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Coronavirus Myth #5: Covid-19 Is Nothing Compared to the Flu
At a surface level, symptoms of the coronavirus and the seasonal flu share a few similarities — high temperatures, sore throat and a continuous cough — but that, of course, doesn’t mean that they should be treated the same. That’s because the ‘profile’ of the coronavirus, when compared to that of the flu, has a much graver mortality rate. Currently, this is much greater than the seasonal flu.

So, What Can I Do To Stay Healthy and Potentially Avoid Coronavirus?
We’re glad you asked. Thankfully, it won’t involve stockpiling toilet paper or tearing the last remaining packets of pasta off the supermarket shelves, but instead being a little smarter about your hygiene standards and how you approach your self care — both mentally and physically.

Reconsider Your Exercise Habits
Gyms and public workout areas could be a hotbed for picking up germs and, potentially, the coronavirus. “As viruses can live on a surface outside the human body for several hours, gym equipment is a prime culprit for picking up an illness,” said Dr Ravi Tomar, a GP at Portland Medical.

“The most effective way of preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the gym, or any other virus for that matter, is for people who aren’t feeling well to simply skip their gym session and stay at home until they’re sure it’s not coronavirus.

“If you’re feeling a bit sniffly and can’t work out whether it’s spring allergies or something more sinister, use a symptom assessment app such as Doctorlink to check before you head to the gym.”

Wash Your Hands (Properly)
This is a real no-brainer. You (and your smartphone) are almost certainly harbouring a lot of nasties. Thankfully, your body will be astute at repelling them, but as cases of the coronavirus rise both in the United Kingdom and abroad, it’s the perfect time to mop up your habits. Here’s how to nail it every time:

Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Always wash your hands when you get home or into work, after touching rubbish, before bandaging wounds, before a meal and after using the toilet.

Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.

Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.

Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Use Hand Sanitiser
Soap and water is always preferable, but if it’s not available, sanitiser will do. Ideally, you should use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that has at least 60 per cent alcohol.

Don’t Touch Your Face with Dirty Hands
Viruses can enter your body through your eyes, nose, mouth and other orifices. Placing contaminated hands on your face can lead to infection, so wash your hands before you touch your eyes, nose and mouth. And after using the bathroom, obviously.

Get Enough Sleep
An essential survival mechanism, sleep helps your body to recover and lowers stress. If you’re feeling ill, you should allow yourself as much sleep as your body needs.

Don’t Panic
Unless you have been in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus, then treat any cough or cold symptoms as normal. Currently, the NHS advises that people should call 111 instead of visiting the GP’s surgery to prevent the risk of infecting others.

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Donald Trump Wants You to Know He Has the Coronavirus Totally Under Control

Erin Banco, Asawin Suebsaeng
The Daily Beast

President Donald Trump is frantically trying to quell criticism that he and his team were caught off guard by the growing number of coronavirus cases worldwide, fearful that a narrative of dysfunction could complicate his reelection bid.

Advisers to President Trump have for weeks tried to gather data about how quickly the virus spreads, how it can be stopped, and how to contain an outbreak in the future. But those efforts have largely remained behind closed doors, leaving the public wondering what—if anything—the administration has been doing to address the outbreak. Meanwhile, as cases doubled, then tripled, across the globe, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have increasingly called out top administration officials to be more transparent and to declassify their briefings, accusing them of mixed messaging on the severity of the virus.

The situation came to a head Wednesday morning when Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, was grilled by lawmakers about the adequacy and breadth of the administration’s response. Azar, defended the effort and beat off suggestions that he would soon be replaced with a formal czar for coordinating the coronavirus response. Officials say that they don’t believe such an appointment will happen–despite reports to the contrary—citing the president’s support for the secretary both publicly and privately.

The Terrifying Reality of Trump’s Coronavirus Promise

Nevertheless, harsh criticism from Capitol Hill over the administration’s handling of the virus—dubbed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer (D-NY) as “towering and dangerous incompetence”—prompted panic in the halls of the White House early this week that the administration was losing grip on the narrative. The fear, according to two senior administration officials, was that not only lawmakers but the general public were becoming increasingly wary of the discrepancy between the president’s statements and those of the health officials leading the task force.

Trump and his closest advisers tried to downplay fears about the virus in an attempt to correct the market, which fell more than 1,900 points over Monday and Tuesday, according to two senior administration officials. White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow appeared on CNBC Tuesday, urging people to remain calm and insisting that the virus was contained to an “airtight” degree. At the same time, though, officials of the Centers for Disease Control, were pushing a different story: The coronavirus was contained but would soon spread more widely in the U.S.

Several senior officials told The Daily Beast that the State Department was in the midst of drafting new travel advisories for several countries, including Japan. The department issued an advisory for Mongolia Wednesday morning, which will allow for the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees from the country.

With the varying lines of messaging, the administration attempted to correct course—holding press calls and conferences—in an effort to assuage any concern that members of his team were behind the ball or at odds with one another. According to two national security officials, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien along with his deputy Matt Pottinger are coordinating the interagency efforts on the task force, additionally relying on several other NSC officials from the weapons of mass destruction directorate to draft ideas for prevention and containment.

Dow Plunges Amid Global Freakout Over Coronavirus Outbreaks

The scramble to get out in front of the story shows the degree to which Trump administration officials fear domestic political blowback for a response that has been increasingly questioned for its lack of clarity. While the president increasingly focused on downplaying fears about the virus spreading to fend off more economic repercussions, scientists and academics studying the virus have begun warning in more dire terms about the human cost of the virus spreading and the need to stockpile resources for the future.

As Trump tries to reassure the public that the virus—and the markets—are under control, the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services are aggressively advocating that lawmakers on Capitol Hill approve more funding for preventative measures. The administration requested additional funds to help handle the coronavirus response and prevention.

But Democrats in Congress have criticized the request as woefully inadequate as medical and political officials in some of their home states have already begun warning that they are, potentially, dramatically shorthanded for the coming pandemic. On Wednesday morning, Schumer requested $8.5 billion in coronavirus funding—more than three times the funding requested by Team Trump.

According to multiple doctors and administrators at three hospitals across the country, the need for more equipment—such as masks, gowns and gloves—has grown more dire by the day. At Bellevue Hospital in New York City, one of the country’s only designated coronavirus centers, the stockpile of masks dipped by hundreds over the course of a day when news broke in January that the virus had landed in the U.S. They’ve since been replenished but there are fears that the supply could dwindle again.

In New Jersey, an official with Gov. Phil Murphy’s office said the guidance from the federal government was “coming in fast and furious”, particularly over the last few days. “It is the nature of the outbreak,” the official said, who said the federal government had given the New Jersey team guidance on quarantining individuals in hotels or state facilities if needed. But there was no definitive promises to date for resources and only vague assessments as to how big the administration expected the pandemic to get.

“It is a complete guess,” the official conceded, when asked just how much money they would need.

Complicating matters is the seemingly disjointed approach that the White House has taken to addressing the evolving crisis. While top health agencies warned that it was merely a matter of time before it spread in the United States, President Trump seemed focused on controlling the narrative to prevent a financial crisis.

Over the past three weeks, Trump has, on multiple occasions, asked administration officials about the different effects the spread of coronavirus could have on the world and U.S. economies, according to two people present for the conversations.

“He referenced [concerns about] the stock market at least two times,” said one of these sources, recalling a discussion that occurred roughly two weeks ago.

A third source who spoke to Trump in the past few weeks said that the president mused about how his enemies could use pandemic fears against him. “Remember recession, recession, recession?” Trump said, the source recalled, referencing the media and cable news coverage late last year about the growing recession fears in the country.

Trump has privately said many times that his perceived adversaries in the press would “love it” if a recession occurred on his watch, thus crippling his chances at reelection, those close to the president say. Reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, the president’s White House comms apparatus made a point of sticking it to those alleged foes in the media.

“Unfortunately what we are seeing is a political effort by the Left and some in the media to distract and disturb the American people with fearful rhetoric and palace intrigue,” White House spokesman Judd Deere wrote in a statement. “The United States economy is the strongest in the world thanks to the leadership and policies of President Trump. The virus remains low risk domestically because of the containment actions taken by this administration since the first of the year.”

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