Community Health Worker RelatedGlobal HealthInfectious DiseaseWiRED Module

COVID-19 Myth Busters

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COVID-19 Myth Busters

Facts vs. Fiction

By: Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Jessie Crowdy

Myths about COVID-19 continue to circulate around the Internet. Misinformation ranges from the laughable (the virus arrived from outer space!) to the dangerous (hydroxychloroquine or bleach cure the virus). Conspiracy theories suggest that Greta Thunberg caused COVID-19 to help with climate change or that hand sanitizer companies invented the virus as a marketing scheme.

COVID-19 falsehoods muddy the waters of accurate medical information and make it difficult to get the facts. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control guidelines, WiRED International created a coronavirus module back in January and a month later expanded it into a multi-module series on Key Topics in Infection Control. This package is part of WiRED’s accredited Community Health Worker Training Program, designed to prepare health workers in underserved regions around the world.

Until a vaccine is available, the best way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is to distance yourself from others and to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. It is also beneficial for your general health to maintain a balanced diet, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly and sleep well.

WHO offers a useful list of myth busters based on scientific information, which includes the following:

Can shoes spread COVID-19?

The likelihood of COVID-19 being spread on shoes and infecting individuals is very low. As a precautionary measure, particularly in homes where infants and small children crawl or play on floors, consider leaving your shoes at the entrance of your home. This will help prevent contact with dirt or any waste that could be carried on the soles of shoes.

Do antibiotics cure the virus?

Antibiotics are used to treat illnesses caused by bacteria. COVID-19 is in a family of viruses called Coronaviridae, and antibiotics do not work against viruses.

Does drinking alcohol protect you against COVID-19?

No. Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems.

What drugs prevent or cure COVID-19?

To date, there are no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19. Moreover, the misuse of hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects or illness and even lead to death.

Is the virus transmitted by houseflies or mosquito bites?

There is no evidence or information to suggest that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through houseflies or by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through the air and on surfaces where droplets may have landed when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

Will drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach prevent or cure COVID-19?

Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are poisons. Drinking them can lead to disability and death. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are sometimes used in cleaning products to kill the virus on surfaces – however you should never drink them. They will not kill the virus in your body and they will harm your internal organs.

Do 5G mobile networks spread the virus?

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

Can eating garlic or adding hot peppers to your food protect against COVID-19?

Although garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties, there is no evidence that it has protected people from the new coronavirus. Likewise, hot peppers in your food, though very tasty, cannot prevent or cure COVID-19.