Staying Protected from COVID-19 Amidst Fake News

With all the social media hype and multiple articles about the Coronavirus, it can be hard to decipher the facts from the “fake news." Every day there are new tips and tricks on how to protect yourself from the virus – and the public believes it all. From drinking lemon water everyday and keeping your throat moist, to wearing a face mask and sanitizing your hands - what should we believe and what should we ignore?

There is so much misinformation being spread that the World Health Organization is calling this an “infodemic." Despite much information circulating that is not true, there have been many helpful tips given and we are here to help you sort the facts from the fiction. Here are some top tips to help stay protected from the Coronavirus, without being misinformed (click here to read the full article): 

  • Since the virus is transmitted from person to person via contact, it is important to keep your distance. Not only are you advised not to shake hands, hug or kiss people (infected or not), you are advised to keep at least a meter distance between you and other people in public spaces. 
  • When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth – especially in public spaces! When you cough or sneeze, wash your hands and discard of any tissues immediately.
  • The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and releases respiratory droplets. Therefore, if an infected person coughs or sneezes on something, that thing is considered contaminated. It has been advised that everyone sanitizes their hands on a regular basis and avoids touching their face, especially mouths, noses and eyes. If possible, it is advised to wear gloves.
  • When washing your hands, wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water! Since soap is not always available, carry a hand sanitizer with you that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • You do not have to wear a face mask if you are not sick! A face mask is advised for people who are infected, so as to not spread the virus further. It is also recommended for people who are taking care of those who are infected. It is important to note that when wearing a face mask, your eyes remain exposed and in this way, you are still vulnerable. 
  • Try to disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. This does not mean you should go around your house disinfecting every surface. This refers to surfaces that are open to the public. If you deal with the public in your office or if you are a driver, for example, disinfect areas and surfaces people may have touched. 

Now that you know how to protect yourself, it’s time to look at a few examples of that 'misinfo' (click here to read the full article) which is being spread just as fast as the virus:

  • There is no evidence to prove that eating garlic, drinking water every 15 minutes or taking Vitamin C will protect you from the virus. 
  • Do not spray yourself with alcohol or chlorine because it will NOT kill the virus.
  • Although the virus can be transmitted through the touching of objects exposed to the virus, you cannot be infected by getting mail. Getting a package from China (or any other country) does not mean you will be exposed to Coronavirus. Researchers believe that the virus cannot stay alive for that long on an object.
  • While older people with pre-existing conditions are more vulnerable to getting seriously infected, this does not mean that children cannot get infected. Keep your children safe and teach them to wash their hands, especially in public spaces like parks and shopping malls.
  • This one is probably on everyone’s mind: if you get the Coronavirus, it does not mean you will die. When infected, there is a likely chance of recovery, with an estimate of 3-4% death rate globally. This, however, does not mean you are safe when infected, as your symptoms could lead to fatality.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to understand that this advice is not only to protect yourself, but others too. Since there is still no cure for the virus, it is crucial to follow these tips and stay safe. If you have a runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath and a fever that lasts for days, it is advised to get tested simply to rule out the virus. However, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases says only if you show these signs and have been in contact with an infected individual, have travelled, have worked in a facility where patients are infected or if you have a serious case of pneumonia with no cause, should you get tested, since the symptoms could just indicate the flu. If you think you have contracted the virus, please contact the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, and they will be sure to help you find the closest facility to get tested. 

NICD: 0800 029 999