When it comes to the new novel coronavirus, it can become confusing trying to navigate what’s okay to do and what’s not. While there are still many things scientists do not know about coronavirus, but there are some concrete facts everyone should know, and some good practices to implement. Let’s separate facts from the myths.
Can my pet spread coronavirus?
With the knowledge that coronavirus derived from a meat market in Wuhan, China, seemingly having been spread by slaughtering animals, many people began to think their pets could be carriers.
False: This is a myth! The novel coronavirus is part of a family of coronaviruses that thrive in animal populations. Of these coronaviruses, there are seven known to affect humans, including the new novel coronavirus. However, the evidence suggests that coronavirus is more likely to be spread by a wild animal. There is no evidence to suggest domesticated animals, like dogs or cats, can be infected with this virus.
Coronavirus is the same as seasonal flu
False: This is a myth! Although the novel coronavirus is transmitted in the same ways that influenza is, they are not the same. In fact, coronavirus is more similar to SARS and MERS than it is to flu.
The novel coronavirus attacks the lungs and inhibits a patient’s ability to breathe without the use of a ventilator in many cases. This is how it causes death in the most extreme cases.
Coronavirus is transmitted through touching
50% False, 50% Fact: Not quite. This virus is transmitted through air droplets when coughing or sneezing.
Any that fall onto surfaces can be transferred to the hands when people touch these surfaces. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands transmits the virus. Once in the body, coronavirus attacks the lungs, damaging them and causing pneumonia.
Coronavirus is the same as COVID-19
Fact: They are the same in the sense that coronavirus is the virus that infects humans. Once it is in the body, it causes a disease known as Coronavirus Disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19 (CO=Corona, VI=Virus, D=Disease, 19=2019).
Washing your hands protects against coronavirus
Fact: Yes, washing your hands for longer than 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser will protect you from touching your face with unclean hands, which is how coronavirus is transmitted.
Coronavirus only affects the elderly
False: This is a resounding “No!” When it was first discovered, coronavirus was considered to be more dangerous to elderly populations and especially lethal to those over the age of 80. Recently, however, data shows that coronavirus is now also attacking younger people with the same ferocity. The youngest person to die from coronavirus was a six-week-old baby in Chicago in March 2020. The same month, some teenagers died, including a 13-year-old in the UK and a 17-year-old in the US.
Eating garlic can protect you from coronavirus
False: No evidence suggests eating garlic can protect you from coronavirus.
Handling packages from China is safe
Fact: This is correct.
Coronavirus does not live long enough on surfaces to survive the voyage from China and infect a handler in its destination.