COVID-19 Misconceptions Debunked
COVID-19 infodemic is pervasive in this age of global communication. Infodemic refers to the quick and widespread dissemination of accurate and erroneous information. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a flood of information reached people globally. Consequently, distinguishing facts from misconceptions become challenging. These misconceptions promote uncertainty, scepticism, and distrust, which can result in:
- and the public's disregard for public health measures.
Due to widespread misconceptions about the coronavirus, researchers estimated that about 6,000 people were hospitalized in the first three months of 2020. Thus, the United Kingdom and WHO collaborated to develop and publish information about COVID-19.
While widespread disinformation regarding COVID-19 continues to circulate, the WHO's Stop the Spread campaign aims to educate the public about the growing number of misconceptions. It encourages people to conduct fact-checking to prevent the spread of falsehoods.
Distinguishing facts from misconceptions can be difficult with so much information available. Therefore, here are some debunked myths about the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Ivermectin can cure positive COVID-19 patients.
Ivermectin is a parasite control medication used on both animals and humans. Typically, it is used to treat scabies. Taking excessive doses of this antiviral medication is risky and can result in severe organ damage. Irresponsible and deceptive reports insisting that Ivermectin can cure COVID-19 are proliferating on social media. However, according to WHO, evidence on the safety and effectiveness of Ivermectin in treating COVID-19 patients is still inconclusive. It is still not included in the WHO's guidelines on coronavirus treatments.
2. If you are exposed to the coronavirus, warm water or saline will protect you from becoming unwell.
According to false stories, drinking or bathing in warm or hot water, or washing the inside of your nose with a saline (salt) solution, will protect you from COVID-19. These allegations are untrue. COVID-19 is caused by a virus that is extremely small and cannot be rinsed or washed out of the throat or nasal passages. The most effective strategies to avoid illness are getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, practicing good hand washing, and maintaining physical distancing.
3. One COVID-19 test is enough.
No single test is infallible. Thus, it is better to conduct various tests for different scenarios. It's better to think of them as complementing tests that provide the complete picture possible of whether an individual has COVID-19 or not.
PCR test is susceptible to hunting for genetic material. It can identify even the tiniest levels of COVID in your body. Due to the increased cost and time constraints, these tests are not performed as frequently as antigen testing. Because PCR tests take longer to process, it isn't easy to take rapid action based on the results.
Antigen tests assist in identifying the most contagious individuals. These tests are faster than other molecular testing because they seek proteins rather than genetic material. It is available from stores and can be self-administered.
4. COVID testing increases the number of cases
COVID testing does not increase the number of positive tests. Suppose more people in a community test positive, transmission is likely to be high. COVID-19 surges indicate an increased number of infections and severe diseases; they do not indicate greater COVID-19 testing. Recognizing a surge can assist a community in mitigating future spread.
Testing provides you with the assurance you need as COVID-19 cases rise globally. Whether you choose to test in a health clinic or at home, you can rest assured that testing is a safe and effective method to stay informed and protect yourself and your loved ones.
5. Washing your body with bleach, disinfectants, and alcohol can protect you from the virus.
You can clean surfaces with disinfectants, bleach, soap, and water. However, you must never attempt to prevent or treat COVID-19 by applying bleach, disinfectants, and other toxic chemicals to any area of your body. While effective hand sanitizers can contain alcohol, they are designed to protect and clean your hands. If accidents occur, immediately call for help.
6. Vaccination will give 100% immunity from COVID-19
Some evidence suggests that being fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus may help prevent illness. This means that vaccinating yourself against the COVID-19 virus will protect you and other people from infection. However, this does not imply that immunizations will provide 100 percent immunity. COVID-19 mutations can impair the efficacy of vaccinations. Breakthrough infections are still possible to happen.
7. Vaccinated individuals are safe to travel abroad
Certain countries allow fully vaccinated individuals to skip quarantine and day 2 and 8 test upon entry. These individuals are at a lesser risk of contracting COVID-19 and are less likely to contract the virus and spread it to others. Even if you are entirely vaccinated, you should continue to take the same preventative measures.
WHO condemns organizations and government entities requiring vaccination proof before traveling abroad. They believe that this procedure is unjust, given the scarcity of vaccinations and that certain countries have greater access to vaccines than others.
How can you help lessen the spread of misconceptions about COVID-19?
Fact-checking and healthy discussions are critical in the fight against the COVID-19 infodemic. Everyone is responsible for combating myths. Here are some measures to control everyone from delving into inaccurate information.
- Be sceptical when it comes to social networking.
- Leave no misleading information on your online social networking sites. You can gently request that the individual who shared it take it down.
- Inform the platform administrators of the erroneous information.
- When in doubt, take the time to verify the information that has been presented.
- Make a greater fuss of truth than those who spread misleading information.
By making these small actions and frequently sharing credible information, you and your network will be less vulnerable to the infodemic's risks. Users of social media platforms are spending more time online than at any point in history. They must do their share to halt the dissemination of misleading and fake news, which will almost certainly continue to flourish even after this confinement period concludes.
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