“A single lie discovered is enough to create doubt in every truth expressed”. But have we really discovered the truth, questioned the rumors or unraveled the mysteries? Let’s just take a panoramic view of the ambient situation. With the corona virus outbreak going on we come across a plethora of posts scrolling through our newsfeed which gives us an insight to ongoing situations, news and information. But most of the times the implied information is incomplete____ and sometimes even incorrect and misguiding. Here are some facts which will enlighten you enough to debunk the myths about the novel corona virus:
Myth 1: You might have received a WhatsApp message saying that Ibuprofen is dangerous for corona virus patients. Well science says different.
Fact: Ibuprofen and other inflammatory drugs are rumored to aggravate the health conditions in covid-19 patients. Although there is a bit of science and truth in this myth but that does not make it an absolute and reliable truth.
Ibuprofen inhibits an enzyme ACE which paradoxically increases the ACE 2 receptors in the body. These receptors provide a site for this deadly virus to attach. Though virologists and scientists have shown a concern about this fact but they believe that this is not the only factor determining susceptibility.
Moreover, scientifically, no correlation has been found between ibuprofen and covid-19 infection as of yet.
Myth 2: Are you living in the constant fear that you might just catch the toxic covid-19 out of thin air despite all the precautionary measures?? Honestly, you don’t have to because this is not an airborne virus.
Fact: Corona virus is not an airborne virus as it does not stay in the air for that long. The droplets carrying the virus from infected patients are heavy enough to be pulled by gravitational force. So, they fall quickly to the ground or any other surface available. Yet these aerosolized particles stay on surfaces for at least 72 hours, transmission can only occur by touching such surfaces or by remaining in close contact with an infected person, so, we should take measurable precautions to avoid catching it.
Myth 3: Blow drying you nose will kill the virus living in the cold sinuses of your nose. If that is really the case, we might as well just blow dry the whole earth to get rid of this global pandemic.
Fact: It is true that corona virus has been known to survive best in cold and dry environments as high temperatures could be damaging to its outer lipoprotein covering. But blow drying is not going to help you kill the virus. Human body has a marvelous system of homeostasis, thus maintaining its temperature sustained at 37 C, besides blow drying won’t actually provide a temperature high enough to show the results you are expecting. By blow drying your nose you may hurt yourself and disturb the normal flora residing in your nostrils and sinuses. Thus, this is not going to help you in the best way.
Myth 4: Corona virus will not survive the hot summer conditions and will eventually fade away. I really hope so but let’s just not ignore the facts.
Fact: Hot summer!! Seriously how hot could it get? The hottest temperature ever recorded is 56.7 C. According to the scientific findings this particular virus has the ability to survive temperature of 21-23 C for 72 hours and at 4 C it can last up to 28 days. To kill virus in laboratory, a temperature of 92 C was provided for 15 minutes. For all we know that the high temperature in summers might help reduce the life of virus on the nonliving surfaces but inside your body the virus will be safe and sound.
There are two sides to this story. The SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 peaked in summers but declined by the end of July and history of MERS and SARS epidemics have shown that change in weather from cold to hot or vice versa has little effect on the family of coronaviruses. There is a group of experts who believe that humidity and extremely hot temperature may help in reducing transmissibility of the virus. This is backed by increase in humidity and temperature decreasing R0 (R-naught) value of the virus. Although, summers may help in containing the virus, it will definitely not kill the virus or end the pandemic on its own. So, summers wont practically stop the pandemic Let’s not risk sunburns on this hope.
Myth 5: If you have caught the virus and survived it you are not at risk of catching it again, you become immune. Lucky you!!
Fact: Whenever a pathogen enters our body, the body’s immune system starts a war against it. Production of a number of anti-bodies (IgG & IgM) is part of that mechanism and most important of all remembering your enemy and recognizing it in future__ the memory cells off course. But in the case of Covid-19, scientists can’t just give a statement about the immunity of the patient as if he/she would catch the disease again or not. Although scientists are carrying out serological testing to find out about the immunity of the patients but WHO claims that the mere presence of antibodies or memory T-cells does not confirm immunity in the patient, although it does tell us about the history of disease in that patient. Moreover, even if the patient does become immune, there is no certainty as to how long this acquired immunity will prevail in the system before fading away (as it faded away 8-10 years after the infection, in the case of SARS Co-V 1).
Myth 6: Are you worried that the mosquito’s fangs are dripping with the deadly corona virus and you are just one bite away from being infected?
Fact: Fear not! World Health Organization has confirmed that the new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also transmitted through droplets of saliva and discharge from nose. Further evidence shows it to be transferred by touching surfaces contaminated from covid-19 and then touching one’s nose, eyes or ears. No evidence suggests spread through mosquito.
Myth 7: Drinking large quantities of water will drain the virus from the throat into the stomach and HCl will destroy it. So now oceans are the antidote.
Fact: A hearsay that drinking large quantities of warm water will wash away the virus into the stomach for HCL to destroy it. Professor Trudie Lang at the University of Oxford has explained that the virus doesn’t just reside on cell surfaces waiting to be washed away into the stomach, rather enters the cells. There is no evidence that the virus only remains in the throat for 12 hours. WHO also tweeted in response to this rumor that even though staying hydrated is a healthy activity and an important one during infection but no scientific evidence shows that it is the cure for the corona virus.
Myth 8: If you don’t have the hand sanitizers, soaps won’t be enough to save you from the corona virus. All the bad omens!
Fact: Healthcare organizations recommend people to wash hands with soap and water rather than using hand sanitizers. However, hand sanitizer can be a second option in a situation where soap and water are not available. In this situation hand sanitizer so being used should have minimum 60 % alcohol.
Now, you might be wondering why soap and why not hand sanitizer? It is certainly more convenient. There are multiple answers to that question;
1-Soap is amphiphilic in nature thus attracts the covering of the virus and rips it apart from the viral structure. In doing so, it not only washes away the virus rather annihilates it.
2-Alcohol in the sanitizer has the same effect but most of the available sanitizers in the market don’t have 60 % alcohol content.
3-Alcohol doesn’t clean the grease off the hands and the viruses can adhere to it.
4-Sweat on hands can dilute alcohol thus diminishing its effectiveness.
Myth 9: Mortality rate of covid-19 is lower than flu. Death angel must be pretty drained out.
Fact: Busted!! Mortality rate of COVID-19 is approximately 10 times higher than that of influenza virus. Director general of World Health Organization, announced that people who contract COVID-19 face a higher risk of death as compared to the ones who contract the influenza virus.
Johns Hopkin’s University confirms that the coronavirus has infected over 1.6 million people worldwide. Approximately 96000 have died. This number is far more greater the deaths caused by influenza in the last decades.
Myth 10: Holding your breath for 10 sec or more without coughing/discomfort means you are coronavirus free. If only that was the case…
Fact: Do not strangle yourself in an attempt to do so. Most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness or fever. Best confirmation is a laboratory test. Breathing exercises do not confirm whether you have the coronavirus or any other lung disease.
Myth 11: Wearing mask will stop the spread of covid-19; cloth masks as effective as surgical masks.
Fact: As the pandemic grows along with the panic among masses, the health officials continuously advise wearing masks and gloves and the use of hand sanitizers. If you have a mask and you feel invincible, going about your regular errands then I have bad news for you.
Wearing mask is a precautionary measure that effectively reduces the transmission of Covid-19, but it alone cannot protect you from the virus. Coronavirus is not airborne; it cannot be caught via inhaling. It spreads through close contact thus, you are still at risk.
All types of masks provide some sort of protection against the new coronavirus, however the level of protection provided by each type varies. Personal respirators are more efficient than surgical masks, which are more efficient than homemade masks.
Myth 12: Can a century old anti-malarial drug, Chloroquine, be a treatment for the modern and the deadly CoVid19 infection?
Fact: Seems like we are hitting some luck here. Number of researches have reported that it can be a possible treatment for coronavirus but it still is under clinical trials. In lab it has been observed that it increases the pH more than that of what is required by the virus for the entry into the cell or it also works by interfering with the cell receptors.
Nonetheless, overdose causes seizures, trouble in breathing, fainting, low blood sugar level, hallucination, depression, and even symptoms of heart failure. So, it needs be to carefully prescribed and its dosage may vary from person to person.
Myth 13: Are you deluded enough to believe that it’s just an aggressive flu? Well, you need to backpedal.
Fact: The major misunderstanding, that coronavirus is just an aggressive flu, is not correct. COVID-19 comes from the family of Coronaviridae, known for its crown like spikes present on its outer coat, whereas influenza virus comes from the family of Orthomyxoviridae. It is of the same family as that of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, they have high fatality rate, >50% for MERS and 11% for SARS, which is why COVID-19 is a cause of huge concern.
Even though both influenza and coronavirus share some common symptoms, they still differ in their mortality rate, infection rate and economic impact.
Myth 14: Antibiotics can treat corona. As if corona is a bacterium.
Fact: No, antibiotics are not effective against coronavirus. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections where as COVID-19 is a virus so avoid using irrational use of antibiotics especially in combination with broad spectrum antibiotics.
Myth 15: Sliced lemon in warm water can prevent Coronavirus. Lemonade stand business must be booming.
Fact: Poppycock! According to a study, intake of sliced lemon in warm water may provide symptomatic relief for the common cold and flu but no validation exists that it can prevent COVID-19.
Myth 16: Avoid eating ice cream and ward-off Coronavirus. Ahh! Poor ice cream man.
Fact: This is not going to help you, the only person who will be affected is unfortunate ice cream man. According to a statement given by UNICEF, avoiding ice cream doesn’t prevent coronavirus. 
Myth 17: Colloidal silver can prevent Coronavirus. Suddenly, I wish silver weren’t that expensive!
Fact: Silver nanoparticle due to its anti-microorganism properties can be a source of antiviral therapy of coronavirus, but it is yet to be determined that if it works against coronavirus or not.
In spite of its possible future use against coronavirus, right now it is proven that its intake causes argyria, permanent bluish-grey discoloration of skin.
Myth 18: Was coronavirus created in a lab? Was this a bio-attack from China? The governments are over-reacting; this virus is fake.
Fact: If you are a fan of sci-fi novels than you might be excited hearing this rumor going around. Another conspiracy that could take down a powerful establishment? Or a theory reflecting an extreme case of racism? Sorry to burst your bubble, because although this myth could be the basis of an excellent science fiction plot, the Covid-19 could not have been created in a laboratory. The ongoing mutations in the existing virus rule out the possibility of lab manipulations. Coronavirus’ genomic sequence indicates that should there have been any man-made alteration, it would leave a trace. 
Myth 19: The virus is linked to corona beer. Pity the person who named this company.
Fact: Hah! No, all this shows is a bad marketing decision and a huge coincidence.
Myth 20: Netizens have been sharing an image online that says marijuana kills coronavirus. Should I become a drug addict?
Fact: It seems that whoever started this rumor thought of it as a jest, but not everyone got the joke. People panicked and shared it creating a hype leading to the call for the legalization of the drug.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists smoking as one of the things that are not effective against the virus and might cause harm. Since smoking weakens the lungs and causes tissue damage, smokers are more susceptible to infection.
So, there is no evidence to back up the claim that marijuana kills coronavirus.
Myth 21: Can we catch COVID 19 from food, grocery stores or restaurant? World sure is a dangerous place to live!
Fact: Flapdoodles and rumors like this will only create anxiety among people, make sure you are not a hand in spreading them. At this moment, we are not aware of any report of human illness that suggest that COVID 19 can be transmitted through food. In fact, there are no indications of any respiratory virus being transmitted through food in the past. If the coronavirus is present in your food, it can be destroyed by proper cooking.
Myth 22: The miraculous foods like bananas, garlic or Vitamin C enriched supplements and other alkaline foods will save you from the corona virus. Or will they??
Fact: Bananas and garlic are excellent food and we cannot simply deny the fact that these foods provide important nutrients in our diet. Banana are rich in fibers, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Whereas garlic has been known for its antimicrobial and antidiarrheal properties for a very long time in human history. But that still does not prove that they help killing the virus in any way. However, Vitamin C enriched foods, naturally provide our body with antioxidants and help it get rid of toxins, are known to alleviate symptoms of common cold and flu. But then again covid-19 is not just common cold.
Alkaline conditions in body do decrease the susceptibility of covid-19 infection, but you must remember your body is homeostatic, it maintains a specific Ph, and anything you take inside your body is processed and does not just alter the Ph of your cells whether be acidic or basic. So, alkaline foods won’t help you.
Nonetheless, scientists and researchers are carrying out studies to find out vitamin C effects on patients with corona virus.
Myth 23: Parcels from China are safe to use during pandemic or not? China must be losing it by now.
Fact: Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. health officials have said that there is no attestation to support the claim that packages from the COVID-19 embattled China transmits the novel coronavirus. As for the concern that the virus may stay on the surface of the packages, the WHO noted that, based on previous studies about the coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, the virus can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on different conditions. However, it is easy to kill the virus with disinfectants, if you have a hunch that a surface is infected.
Myth 24: Drinking Alcohol will bar the virus from entering your body. Fortunate Alcoholics!
Fact: It’s a false bait, another product of social media. According to WHO, alcohol does not keep you from the COVID 19 alcohol should always be used in moderation, and people who are not drinkers should not start drinking in an attempt to bulwark 2019- n COV infection. Again, do not become an alcoholic, it won’t help you.
Myth 25: Your blood type may make you more vulnerable to corona virus. Glad that I am a pureblood.
Fact: This one is a bit beguiling for those with blood group O. No matter how much you want to believe it, always beware. Centre for Evidence-Based and Translational Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University says that blood type A shows a higher rate of infection while blood type O is at lower risk.
But the doctors and NCBI have a different point of view. They believe that corona virus has equal potential to spread irrespective of the targets’ blood type.
Authors: Hadia Zafar, Khired Sajid, Maria Rafiq, Mishal Dar, Shameen Anwar.