Australia (9news)

Coronavirus myths debunked: What you should know about hand dryers, hot baths and mosquitoes

By March 28, 2020 No Comments
The World Health Organisation has debunked a list of new myths that have surfaced as coronavirus concern continues to grow.
WHO advises the public to keep up to date with accurate information about COVID-19 through the Department of Health and the World Health Organization websites.
“By doing this [washing your hands] you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose,” WHO said in a statement.

Will taking a hot bath prevent me from getting coronavirus?

No, taking a hot bath will not prevent you from contracting coronavirus.
“Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower,” WHO said in a statement.
“Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you.”

Can coronavirus be transmitted through mosquito bites?

WHO has confirmed that there is no information or scientific evidence to suggest that mosquitoes can transmit coronavirus.
“COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose,” WHO said.

Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No, hand-dryers alone are not effective in killing COVID-19.
WHO advises that after cleaning your hands, you should dry them thoroughly using a paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Coronavirus scammers:

A fake coronavirus text, designed to steal people’s bank details, is circulating, the government has warned.
“You’ve received a new message regarding the COVID-19 safetyline symptoms and when to get tested in your geographical area,” the message reads.
Scamwatch and the Australian CyberCrime Security Centre has confirmed the text message is not real.
The message directs to a website link which seems legitimate, www.covid-19-info, however it’s not.
If the user clicks through it could lead to sensitive information such as bank details being stolen.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison today warned against such information. He also urged people not to pay attention to “gossip” on social media.
“It is disappointing that we would have to try to refute and correct a lot of the information that is out there,” he said. 
“It’s not real. It’s gossip and nonsense in most cases and it’s important that we report the facts in this.”

Can bleach cure coronavirus?

Thousands of people are being told they can cure coronavirus by rinsing their mouth with bleach – a claim that has been strenuously debunked by the World Health Organisation.
Prominent YouTuber Jordan Sather tweeted to his 120,000 followers that there was a “miracle mineral solution” to coronavirus, which involves gargling bleach.
“Not only is chlorine dioxide an effective cancer cell killer, it can wipe out coronavirus too,” he wrote.
“Big Pharma(cies) want you ignorant.”
Health authorities have warned that bleach is not for human consumption and can cause severe reactions such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.
The WHO says accurate information for how to better protect yourself from the virus is available on its website.
UPDATE: Coronavirus COVID-19 declared a global pandemic by WHO on 12 March 2020.
This is not the only dangerous “cure” that has been spread on social media platforms.

Can cocaine stop coronavirus?

The French government has been forced to issue a statement telling residents that snorting cocaine will not protect them from COVID-19 after a myth circulated online.
“No, cocaine does NOT protect against COVID19,” France’s Ministry of Solidarity and Health tweeted.
“It is an addictive drug causing serious adverse effects and harmful to the health of people.”
It’s the most outlandish in a series of tweets the French government has been issuing to battle disinformation around the spread of coronavirus.
Another myth the Ministry tackled was a rumour circulating that rubbing alcohol would protect the skin from infection.

Does alcohol rub stop coronavirus?

“No, spraying alcohol or chlorine will not kill viruses (which have already entered your body),” the Ministry tweeted.
“Spraying these substances may be harmful to the mucous membranes and clothing.”
A small baggie of cocaine.
No, cocaine will not immunise you from contracting COVID-19.(iStock)
Another myth was an online-based rumour that use of hand sanitisers contributed to cancer.
“No, disinfectant hand gel does not promote cancer,” the tweet opened.
“No carcinogenic, reprotoxic or neurotoxic risk has been identified.”

Can bank notes spread coronavirus?

Other myths busted included: coronavirus cannot be transmitted via mosquito bites, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 via credit cards and banknotes is very small.
Here’s other myths that have been busted by the World Health Organisation:

Are people buying condoms to protect their fingers from coronavirus infection?

Several sources have claimed that shops are running out of condoms as people use them to protect their fingers when pressing public buttons or touching common property like handrails.
One source, from a Sydney Facebook Group, claims that stocks have run low as shoppers add condoms to their panic-buying list. There’s little evidence outside of one photo of an empty condom shelf in a Singapore shop.
Durex Singapore shared these tongue-in-cheek images.(Durex Singapore)
The myth stems from a Durex Singapore social media post, who jokingly suggested people purchase their latex condoms for one-use button pushing.
“Here’s an idea a fan of ours gave to us, so we thought it would be good to do a step-by-step on how you can stay protected with Durex,” read the post.
A Twitter user shared this image of an empty condom rack in a Singapore shop.(Twitter)
After some followers began taking it seriously, Durex Singapore hastily deleted the post.

Will hand dryers will kill the virus?

The short answer is no, hand dryers will not kill it. WHO recommends frequently washing your hands with alcohol-based hand rub, or washing them with soap and water then drying them thoroughly with paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Do ultraviolet disinfection lamps kill the virus?

Again, no. WHO recommends avoiding UV lamps all together as their radiation can cause skin irritation.
Ultraviolet disinfection lamps have not been shown to be effective against coronavirus.(World Health Organisation)
To date, coronavirus – which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan – has no vaccine.(AP)

Are thermal scanners effective at detecting people infected with the virus?

While thermal scanners are effective at catching those with fevers, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick.
This is because it can take 2-10 days for someone infected with the new coronavirus to become sick and develop a fever.
While garlic has some antimicrobial properties, it will have no effect on preventing coronavirus infection.(AAP)

Is it safe to receive packages from China?

Yes, the coronavirus can’t survive long on objects such as letters or packages.

Can pets spread the coronavirus?

WHO believes there is no evidence to suggest pets can be infected with the virus. However it is recommended people still wash their hands after contact with pets as they can carry bacteria which can be transferred to humans.
The global spread of coronavirus.
The global spread of coronavirus.(Graphic: Tara Blancato)

Is there a vaccine which can protect me from the virus?

No, unfortunately as the virus is new there is no vaccine which will protect you. However, WHO highly recommends vaccinating yourself against illnesses such as pneumonia regardless to protect your own health.
Read more: Everything we know about research for a coronavirus vaccine

Does mouthwash or nasal spray help prevent infection from the virus?

No. Saline spray can help you recover from the common cold quicker, and mouthwash will eliminate bacteria in your mouth for a few minutes. But neither will have any effect on your immunity to the bug. 

Can eating garlic help prevent me from getting infected?

No. WHO states while garlic has some antimicrobial properties, it will have no effect.

Can I use sesame oil to kill the virus?

No. WHO states the chemical disinfectants proven to kill the virus are bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, ether solvents, 75 per cent ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform. However they strongly point out these chemicals are to be used on surfaces only, and to never put these chemicals on your skin or under your nose as it will have no impact on the virus and is highly dangerous.
How does coronavirus affect the body?(Graphic: Tara Blancato)

Are older people are more likely to be infected? 

While people of all ages can be infected, it has been confirmed older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to become severely ill if infected. WHO advised people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus.

Are antibiotics effective in treating the virus?

No, as the new coronavirus is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics can’t be used to treat it.

Are there any medicines to treat or prevent the virus?

At the moment the answer is no, but WHO states they are working to help “accelerate research and development efforts with a range of partners.
While cases of the new coronavirus in Australia are still relatively low, the World Health Organisation urges people to take general precautions such as washing your hands, and not following any of these busted myths.

Viral jokes prompt official responses

No, the currently-unused Wembley Stadium in London is not being used to cook the world’s biggest lasagne.
But the Football Association in the UK was forced to issue a statement denying the bizarre claim after a WhatsApp voice clip went viral.
A UK man sent the joke voice clip to a group of his soccer-playing friends, purporting to claim that his sister’s boyfriend’s brother worked for the Ministry of Defence and had given him the inside scoop.
“One of the things that they’re doing to prepare … is building a massive lasagne. At the moment, as we speak, they’re building the massive lasagne sheets,” he said.
“They’re putting the underground heating at Wembley on, that’s going to bake the lasagne, and then they’re putting the roof across and that’s going to recreate the oven, and then what they’re going to do is lift it up with drones and cut off little portions and drop it off to people’s houses.”
Wembley Stadium in London is not being used to cook the world’s biggest lasagne.(Getty)
But as clip creator Billy McLean told the Guardian, he was shocked when his joke – intended for just some of his mates – went viral around the UK.
It’s unclear how many people, if any, took the absurd joke at face value, but the clip became widespread enough to prompt an official response.
The Football Association confirmed it had heard about the clip, but took the extra step of denying that there were plans to turn the stadium into a gigantic lasagne oven.
Other fake social media posts – which may be more believable in concept – have also tricked the pubic during the coronavirus panic.
National Geographic confirmed that reports of swans and dolphins in the newly-clear Venice canals were fake.
The marine misinformation stemmed from the true fact that water in the canals is clearer due to decreased boat activity.
And a viral tweet about elephants getting drunk and passing out in a field at a village in Yunnan Province in China has been similarly debunked.