World events cancelled. Countries in lockdown. Schools closed. The world is in official panic mode. Coronavirus, aka COVID-19 has been deemed a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation and the numbers of confirmed cases keep rising every minute.
In the grand scheme of things, at the time of publishing Australia has 300 confirmed cases to date and five associated deaths.
Globally, there are 169,615 confirmed cases and 6,518 deaths. The majority of new cases are reported from Italy, Iran, and the Republic of Korea.
In addition to the daily reports of the growing number of confirmed cases, you’ve probably also seen a fair share of fake news circulating the web. Recently there was a report supposedly published by Stanford University suggesting all sorts of strange things about Covid-19.
None of this report was true and it wasn’t issued by Stanford, but, it got us thinking – what’s real and what’s made up? It can be often hard to tell so let’s look at some common coronavirus statements to see whether they are true or false.
1. By the time you cough and go to the hospital, the lung is usually 50 percent fibrosis. FALSE.
Such a scary sentence! And not true, fortunately. While coronavirus can impact your lungs, causing pneumonia, it won’t cause fibrosis, which is scarring in your lungs.
2. Holding your breath for 10 seconds can determine if you have it or not. FALSE.
The rumour going around is that if you can hold your breath without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, there is no infection.
3. Drink warm water every 15 minutes to wash away the virus. FALSE.
According to the bogus report, “Everyone should ensure your mouth and throat are moist, never dry. Take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach.”
And not just any water – warm water, no ice. All of this is FALSE. Drink water to stay hydrated, but don’t expect it to protect you.
4. Coronavirus hates the sun. FALSE.
Then why is it in Australia??? No, sorry, this isn’t true. If something’s in sunlight, it’s going to get disinfected pretty quickly, because that’s ultraviolet light, just the same type of sanitation we use in hospitals. But heading to the beach to bask in the sunlight isn’t going to cut it.
5. Your pet can catch it. Theoretically TRUE.
But it’s pretty unlikely. However, people infected with COVID-19 should limit contact with their pets. Wash your hands, and don’t let them lick you on the face.
6. The Pope has coronavirus. FALSE.
There was even a fake video circulating about this, but, no, the Pope does not have it. Italy, however, is one of the countries that has been severely hit by COVD-19 so far. In fact, the country is currently in lockdown with incoming and outgoing travel banned. This is also the case for China, Iran and the Republic of Korea.
7. Children are most at risk. FALSE.
It’s always important to keep your little ones protected from illness, which is why vaccination is so critical. But COVID-19 doesn’t have this option yet. However, reports indicate that pregnant women, babies, and children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.
8. Australian schools will be closed for Easter. POSSIBLY TRUE.
Although at this stage Easter school holidays are only going ahead for the planned two weeks, Education Minister Dan Tehan indicated that if things don’t settle down, parents could be faced with an Easter holiday extension, which means the kids are home driving us bat-shit crazy for even longer.
9. Disneyworld is shut. TRUE.
Formula 1 was also recently cancelled but the Tokyo Olympics are a go-ahead, at this stage. There have been several other events, ports, airports, schools and companies that have closed their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, any gathering of over 500 people in close proximity are now being told to cancel to avoid the risk of transmission.
10. Toilet paper cures coronavirus. FALSE.
So, please, people, stop buying ALL of it. Not necessary. In most instances coronavirus doesn’t even cause diarrhoea!
According to reports, the reason we are consistently left with empty shelves whenever we go to buy TP is simply that people are panic buying and hoarding it. So, let’s all collectively agree to only buy what we need? Because I, for one, am over having to wipe with paper towel.