The Most Insane Coronavirus Myths
The virus is real, we can no longer doubt or deny it. However, although it is important to follow certain basic rules to best counter its spread, such as adopting social distancing, among others, we must be careful of the false information that circulates, which is numerous.
While you’re processing the coronavirus threat and dealing with the many societal changes that accompany it, it’s important to stay informed. Look below for the most insane coronavirus myths, from the hilarious to the truly dangerous.
1 Coronavirus Was Manufactured By the Chinese Government
Since the coronavirus started in China, people began making all sorts of outlandish claims about the origins of the disease. American senator Tom Cotton really kicked this theory into the mainstream when he appeared on Fox News and posited the idea that the coronavirus came from a biochemical lab in Wuhan, China.
The Senator admitted that there was no evidence to back up his claim, but also encouraged officials to investigate. If there’s no evidence, why would they investigate? More importantly, this idea has been repeatedly dismissed by scientists studying the virus.
2 Coronavirus Is Part of a Chinese Biowarfare Initiative
Accompanying the idea that the coronavirus was manufactured in a Chinese lab, media outlets have expanded on that theory to claim that the virus itself is part of a biowarfare program in China. China actually planned to release the virus on the earth, but they lost control of it and infected their own people.
Once again, this theory has been completely dismissed by scientists studying the disease. Although researchers are still looking into the origins of the virus and how it emerged, health officials have confidently reported that this virus isn’t man-made.
3 Avoiding Ice Cream Can Stop the Onset of the Virus
Another viral social media message claimed that avoiding ice cream can help to prevent the onset of the disease. Supposedly cold foods help the virus to grow, while hot foods can help to kill it.
Once again, that’s not how the virus works. Coronavirus enters your body primarily through the respiratory tract when you breathe in. That means it’s running through an entirely different system than your stomach and digestive tract. Although some viruses may enter your mouth, the food you eat won’t help or hurt your illness. Staying away from ice cream is a torturous and unnecessary decision in these dark times.
4 Shaving Your Beard Protects Against the Virus
After news of the coronavirus emerged, an infographic from the CDC started making the rounds on the internet. The infographic showed various styles of facial hair and outlined which types would work best with filtering facepiece respirators. People immediately assumed that the CDC was telling people to shave their beards in order to protect against the coronavirus.
The infographic, however, was first published in 2017. It had absolutely no connection to the virus. It was simply an informative tool for men who were planning to use tight-sealing face masks. Having facial hair or not having facial hair won’t affect your ability to catch the virus.
5 You Can Get Rid of the Virus By Taking a Hot Bath
For some odd reason, people have tied heat and temperature to the virus, without any evidence to back up their claims. Some believe that you can get rid of coronavirus by taking a very hot bath. The World Health Organization, however, disagrees.
WHO has stated that your body temperature will stay the same, no matter how hot your bath or shower is. Jumping into water hot enough to sear your skin will only result in pain, and you won’t kill the virus. The fact that WHO has to remind every to steer clear off too-hot water is a little upsetting, mostly because it means that people are burning themselves trying to get rid of the virus.
6 UV Lamps Can Kill the Coronavirus
As a general rule, you shouldn’t expose yourself to ultraviolet radiation unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, some people have clung to the idea that UV lamps can actually sterilize the skin and get rid of the virus.
Once again, WHO disagrees. The organization warns against turning to radiation to get rid of the virus because a) radiation isn’t good for you and b) it can severely damage your skin. Exposing yourself to radiation on a regular basis is dangerous. Not only that, it won’t keep you from catching the virus.
7 Spraying Alcohol or Chlorine All Over Your Body Will Get Rid of the Virus
One big thing that experts have recommended to get rid of the virus is washing your hands constantly. By doing so, you rid your hands of viruses and keep them from spreading into your nose and mouth.
Unfortunately, some people have taken that idea a little too far. In order to ensure that they’re as clean as humanly possible, people have been spraying their entire body with alcohol or chlorine and claiming that it can kill the virus. Although these substances might kill viruses on your skin, they won’t help you if you’ve already been infected with the disease. Plus, they can be damaging to your body if used frequently. Just stick to washing your hands, please.
8 Drinking Colloidal Silver Kills the Virus
In other fake news, certain companies decided to use the coronavirus to promote their own products. Most notably, disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker claimed that his products containing colloidal silver could effectively treat the virus. Specifically, the natural health expert on Bakker’s show stated that, when used against coronavirus, the silver solution “Totally eliminates it. Kills it. Deactivates it.”
Thankfully, the US Food and Drug Administration stepped in and forced Bakker to walk back on his comments. Not only is ingesting silver generally considered to be unsafe, but it’s also not an effective way to battle coronavirus.
9 YouTubers Know How to Treat the Virus
In addition to Jim Bakker, another public figure decided to step in and offer his two cents about coronavirus. YouTuber Jordan Sather took to social media to claim that a “miracle mineral supplement” (MMS) is capable of curing coronavirus. Unfortunately, he neglects to mention that MMS contains a bleaching agent called chlorine dioxide.
MMS has already been denounced by the FDA as an unsafe supplement. Still, Sather continues to peddle the product to his thousands of followers. Let’s be clear–no bleaching agent should ever be ingested into your body, and it certainly won’t help you beat coronavirus.
10 Gargling With Bleach Kills the Virus
Another popular social media theory claims that gargling with bleach will kill the coronavirus. Please, for the love of God, do not do this. Ingesting any kind of bleach is incredibly dangerous, as bleach is a corrosive substance that can cause serious irritation inside your body.
To combat the negative effects of bleach, people have claimed that just gargling with the substance can kill the virus and keep you safe. However, gargling with bleach is just as dangerous as drinking it. If the substance finds a way into your lungs, it can cause suffocation and even death. At that point, it won’t really matter if you’ve somehow managed to kill the virus, which you probably won’t.
11 Drinking and Eating Garlic Kills the Virus
People often turn to garlic as a natural way to fight infection. It does have antimicrobial properties that can stop microorganisms from growing, which makes it a healthy food to include in your diet.
However, that doesn’t mean that garlic can prevent coronavirus. In an effort to use natural remedies to stop the virus in its tracks, people have been eating way too much garlic. One woman in China actually had to go to the hospital after consuming 1.5kg of raw garlic, leading to an inflamed throat. The coronavirus isn’t a vampire–garlic alone won’t take it down.
12 You Can Wash the Virus Into Your Stomach With Water and Kill It
Social media has certainly played an important role in the spread of coronavirus misinformation. Once something starts making its rounds on the Internet, people tend to take it as fact. One such example is a viral post claiming that drinking water regularly can help to flush the virus out of your throat and mouth and push it into your stomach. Once there, your stomach acid can kill it.
While staying hydrated is always a good way to avoid illness, there’s no evidence to suggest that you can wash a virus into your stomach and kill it. Honestly, we should have known. That sounds like a far too easy way to treat a disease.
13 Lysol Knew About the Virus Before It Happened
Along with the bad advice for dealing with the virus, conspiracy theories about the virus’ origins and transmission are all over the internet. One such theory claims that Lysol knew about the virus before it happened. Certain Lysol products claim to protect against human coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean Lysol was planning for this particular outbreak.
COVID-19 isn’t the only coronavirus. Coronavirus is actually a large family of viruses. COVID-19 is just the latest strain of coronavirus that’s wreaking havoc on the world. Lysol’s labels refer to pre-existing coronaviruses that the Lysol products have effectively eliminated on certain surfaces.
14 You Can Catch the Virus From Eating Chinese Food
The spread of coronavirus has unfortunately led to some seriously prejudicial behavior, particularly against Chinese people. Although the virus started in China, it doesn’t discriminate by race, gender, age, or any other demographic factor.
That means that staying away from Chinese culture won’t limit your chances of catching the virus. The virus isn’t spread through Chinese food because that’s just now how it works. Eating Chinese food specifically won’t increase your chances of catching the virus. We literally cannot say this enough. If you still want your fried rice and kung pao chicken while under quarantine, go right ahead and place an order.
15 Coronavirus Will Get Better When the Weather Gets Warmer
This myth comes straight from the mouth of President Trump, who has been a huge source in the spread of misinformation surrounding coronavirus. When asked about the virus, Trump stated that it would likely get better as the weather warms up, much like the seasonal flu.
Unfortunately, experts disagree. Since the coronavirus cases have been found all around the world–including Australia, where they’re experiencing the tail end of summer–experts have concluded that the virus can appear in all areas, despite the weather. Don’t think you’ll escape the sickness by taking a tropical vacation. Coronavirus can appear anywhere.
16 The Virus Is Basically Just the Flu
After claiming that the virus would disappear when the weather got warmer, President Trump also claimed that the virus was like the flu. However, that isn’t true. While the fatality rates for this virus aren’t clear as of right now, it does appear to have a much higher death rate than the flu.
In addition, it’s unclear whether the virus is seasonal. It could become seasonal in the future, but as of right now it’s a new virus with little information to give us an idea of how long it will stick around. Comparing the virus to the flu downplays the severity of the situation and causes people to assume that they can go about their daily lives as normal, which doesn’t seem to be the case.
17 Face Masks Will Protect You Against the Virus
While people are turning to their trusty face masks to protect themselves against the virus, it’s an unfortunate fact that face masks won’t be that effective in preventing the disease. Standard surgical masks do not lie flat on the face and cannot protect against viral particles.
While these masks can help to prevent people who are already infected from spreading the virus even further, they’re unlikely to keep you from catching the virus. Higher quality masks can be helpful, but they need to be used by trained professionals. The most effective way to avoid contracting the disease is to wash your hands consistently.
18 You’re More Likely to Get the Flu
The flu is an incredibly common cold that has been around for a longer period of time. Using the logic that more people have been infected with the flu, people have been wrongly claiming that you’re more likely to get the flu than you are to get coronavirus.
Scientists, however, use a number called the R0, which predicts how many people can catch a virus from a single infected person. As of right now, they’ve estimated that one infected person will pass the coronavirus on to 2.2 people. One person infected with the flu, however, will only pass the virus onto 1.3 people.
19 If Corona Beer Disappeared, the Problem Would Be Fixed
Because people assume that coronavirus and Corona beer are linked, they’ve unfortunately taken out their frustrations on the beer company. When news of the virus first broke, Constellation Brands–the makers of Corona beer–were in the process of launching their Corona hard seltzer.
You absolutely, 100%, cannot get coronavirus from drinking Corona beer. The names are the same and the resulting memes are funny, but don’t make the mistake of believing the two are genuinely linked. You can still drink your Corona beer in peace.
In this time of crisis, stay safe and learn more about Covid-19 at the WHO website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
Cover photo credit: Jake Bradley | Unsplash