INFO: Coronavirus myths – what you need to know

The coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) has now spread from Wuhan, China, to every continent on Earth except Antarctica.  According to Medical News Today some of the most common stories that are currently circulating on social media and beyond are just myths.  Here we cover a few that we think you should know about.

Spraying chlorine or alcohol on skin kills viruses in the body

Applying alcohol or chlorine to the body can cause harm, especially if it enters the eyes or mouth. Although people can use these chemicals to disinfect surfaces, they should not use them on skin.

These products cannot kill viruses within the body.

Cats and dogs spread coronavirus

Currently, there is little evidence that the coronavirus can infect cats and dogs. However, in Hong Kong, a Pomeranian whose owner had COVID-19 became infected. The dog did not display any symptoms.

Scientists are debating the importance of this case to the epidemic. For instance, Prof. Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, says:

“We have to differentiate between real infection and just detecting the presence of the virus. I still think it’s questionable how relevant it is to the human outbreak, as most of the global outbreak has been driven by human-to-human transmission.”

He continues: “We need to find out more, but we don’t need to panic — I doubt it could spread to another dog or a human because of the low levels of the virus. The real driver of the outbreak is humans.”

You have to be with someone for 10 minutes to catch the virus

The longer someone is with an infected person, the more likely they are to catch the virus, but it is still possible to catch it in less than 10 minutes.

The virus will die off when temperatures rise

Some viruses, such as cold and flu viruses, do spread more easily in the colder months, but that does not mean that they stop entirely when conditions become milder. As it stands, scientists do not know how temperature changes will influence the behavior of COVID-19.

If in doubt, don’t forget to check the official sources of advice and information:

NHS’s key advice on coronavirus – NHS Website

Calderdale Council – Advice and support

Government – Coronavirus FAQ’s