Covid-19: Novel information, novel myths, novel coronavirus


Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. Analysis and test, experimentation. Sars. 3d render



Core Information:

  • Coronavirus is a new type of virus. It recently emerged with first cases going back to just January of this year. The virus primarily affects the respiratory tract. Fever, cough, shortness of breath are common symptoms. Generally, the infection lasts
  • In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or

How it spreads:

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the

·         Government helpline: 1166





  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse



Seek medical advice if you:

Develop symptoms AND

Have been in close contact with a person known to have coronavirus

OR live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of coronavirus.





Helping yourself:

  • [There is no vaccine or treatment available at this time.] The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this
  • Stay up to date on latest information. Government helpline:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Limit movement in the community
  • Limit visitors
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • You can disinfect your house by applying bleach. You may add two tablespoons of bleach per liter of water. Make sure the bleach is relatively high
    • You can also apply solutions that have 70% alcohol or
    • Use designated disinfectant solutions.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. See above.
  • Thoroughly cook all food items, such as eggs, meat, et al. Avoid eating under-cooked, lightly-cooked or uncooked



Helping others:

  • If you’re sick, stay at
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed


  • If you are sick, wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s
  • If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and
  • If you are caring for infected persons, wear a facemask if they enter your



Create a household plan:



  • Consider 2-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if
  • Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers).
  • Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of




  • As of now, there is not a specific treatment for the
  • People who become sick from COVID-19 should be treated with supportive measures: those that relieve
  • For severe cases, there may be additional options for treatment, including research drugs and



Common Myths & Reality (English)



Myth: There are medicines available that can treat coronavirus

Reality: There are no medicines available that can treat coronavirus. [However, there are medicines that infected people may need to help relieve and treat symptoms. Some medicines can help people feel better or recover faster. It is important to take the medicines that a qualified doctor prescribes to help deal with the infection.]



Myth: Antibiotics can treat coronavirus

Reality: Antibiotics cannot treat coronavirus. Coronavirus is a virus. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria – not viruses. [However, if a person is infected, one may receive


antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible and it is important to prevent or treat co- infections.]



Myth: Pneumonia vaccines, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), are effective in protecting against coronavirus

Reality: Pneumonia vaccines, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), are not effective in protecting against coronavirus at all. [Coronavirus needs its own vaccine. At this time, there is no vaccine available for coronavirus.]



Myth: China and America are developing vaccines which will be available soon.

Reality: While it is true that scientists are working on vaccines in China, America, Germany and several other countries, even the vaccines in their most advanced stages of development are just in their clinical trial phase. After testing, a vaccine needs to be mass produced and shipped to different parts of the globe. Once in a location, millions of residents need to be inoculated. This process will take time. It is difficult to say how quickly this process may be completed.

However, 18 months or so, is a more realistic timeframe for this to happen.



Myth: Eating garlic helps protect against coronavirus.

Reality: Garlic is a healthy food that has anti-microbial properties. there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus,



Myth: Regularly rinsing nose with saline water helps protect against coronavirus.

Reality: No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. [There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.]



Myth: Hot liquids kill off coronavirus and should be drunk frequently.

Reality: Even as staying hydrated is important, drinking hot or cold water, or gargling, does not prevent the coronavirus infection.



Myth: Coronavirus only affects old people.


Reality: People of all ages can be affected by coronavirus. [Older people have greater difficulty in recovering from the disease. This may be because of frailty, less immune capacity, a pre- existing condition, et al. However, this does not mean that young people cannot get affected. People of all ages are susceptible and should take necessary precautions.]



Myth: Taking a hot bath helps protect against coronavirus.

Reality: Taking a hot bath does not help protect against coronavirus. [Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.]



Myth: Coronavirus only spreads in hot and humid climates.

Reality: Coronavirus can spread in all areas. Spread of coronavirus does not depend on heat or humidity.



Myth: Coronavirus is only an issue affecting Karachi and Sindh.

Reality: Coronavirus is not an issue affecting only Karachi and Sindh. Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in all parts of Pakistan, including in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, etc. People in all areas need to take necessary precautions.



Myth: The government has imposed an emergency and people are under an obligation to stock up groceries, supplies and medicines.

Reality: While the extreme nature of the situation ion has led to dramatic steps by the government, no emergency regulations have been put in place. People are not under instruction to stock up on groceries, supplies or medicines. However, given the chaotic situation, it is advisable to maintain inventories of necessary items, including groceries and basic medicines, that can last for two-weeks or so. Remember, this is a precautionary measure and should not be taken to mean one needs to hoard supplies. In difficult times, everyone should do their part in helping everyone else maintain access to needed supplies.



Myth: Coronavirus is necessarily fatal and all affected die.


Reality: Coronavirus is not necessarily fatal. [It is a very serious disease and may need extensive medical care, including hospitalization. However, it does not always result in fatality especially if necessary medical care is provided. The affects are more severe on older people or people with pre-existing conditions. [While it is difficult to say exactly at this time, between three and four percent of affected persons may ultimately die. Of these, about 80% may be expected to be persons 60 years and older.]



Myth: Coronavirus is a Chinese disease/Coronavirus affects only Chinese or European people.

Reality: Coronavirus is not a disease linked with any race or ethnicity and can affect persons of any race and ethnicity.



Myth: Gargling with bleach can help protect against coronavirus.

Reality: Gargling with bleach cannot help protect against coronavirus. Bleach can be harmful to you. It is not recommended to gargle with bleach at all.



Myth: Taking steroids or ascetic acid will help protect against coronavirus.

Reality: There is no evidence to suggest that taking steroids or ascetic acid will help protect against coronavirus.



Myth: The new coronavirus was deliberately created or spread by humans.

Reality: Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.



Myth: A face mask is a necessity and guarantees protection against coronavirus.

Reality: Tight-fitting masks (such as the N95) can protect healthcare workers as they care for infected patients. For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight

disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don’t fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected. People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others. Bear in mind that stocking up on masks makes fewer available for sick patients and health care workers who need them.



Myth: Coronavirus does not spread through handshakes and advisories against hand-shaking are incorrect.

Reality: Coronavirus spreads through touch. This is especially because we tend to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with our hands. Further, we tend to touch our faces with our hands up to a dozen times per hour. This means that an infected person or a person who has been in a coronavirus-prone area can rapidly transmit the virus. Avoiding physical contact and staying six feet away from someone is advisable.



Myth: Closing public spaces, especially mosques, restaurants, cinemas, and similar, and imposing isolation will not stop coronavirus spread.

Reality: Coronavirus spreads when humans cough or sneeze out tiny droplets of mucus and saliva. If it lands on a hard surface like a doorknob or countertop, the virus can survive anywhere for quite some time. These when touch by others infect them as well. In addition, there is some evidence that if you breathe the air around an infected person who is coughing and sneezing, you can also contract the infection. Therefore, it is important to minimize contact between people such that it slows down the spread. In this, closing places which bring together large numbers of people and hold them together in tight spaces, can help keep people apart and reduce contagious spread. This is a standard public health practice and has continually been implemented around the globe in multiple contexts with relatively high success rates.






Based on:


John Hopkins Medicine: diseases/coronavirus/2019-novel-coronavirus-myth-versus-fact

The Guardian: vaccine-be-ready

WHO: public/myth-busters


Behzad Taimur

Public Health Professional

Lahore University of Management Sciences [LUMS]