Debunking the common coronavirus myths

We’ve took a look at some of the viral content doing the rounds and checked it for your peace of mind below:

“If you hold your breath for ten seconds without any discomfort – you are free of COVID-19”

A viral post recently makes the claim that if you hold your breath for ten seconds without discomfort, you are free of the Coronavirus and you have nothing to worry about.

This is false – a myth debunked by Faheem Younus, Chief Quality Officer and Chief of Infectious Diseases of Maryland UCH.

Younus states that “most young patients with Coronavirus will be able to hold their breaths for much longer than ten seconds. And many elderly without the virus won’t be able to do it.”

“You should gargle as a prevention for Coronavirus. A simple solution of salt in warm water will suffice”

The NHS recommends gargling with saltwater when you have a sore throat, however this is only to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat and is not a preventative measure.

The rumour of the gargling of saltwater were attributed to respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan of the Guangzhou Medical First Hospital. Nanshan was a vital figure during the SARS outbreak – and his office quickly this rumour, stating:

“Saline mouthwashing is good for cleaning the mouth and throat, and is helpful for (a) sore throat. However, the area invaded by the new Coronavirus is in the respiratory tract, and mouthwashing cannot clean the respiratory tract.”

“The virus is not heat-resistant and will be consequently killed in the summer”

COVID-19 is a relatively new virus so it’s difficult to say what temperatures it can withstand.

Some common myths circulating social media is that the virus cannot withstand temperatures of above twenty-seven degrees centigrade.

However, as you can see by the countries currently with active cases, the temperatures in quite a few of these countries are exceeding well and above twenty-seven degrees.

Fact finders

It’s the nature of the beast with social media that false information about the Coronavirus will spread rapidly – but there are plenty of ways you can check:

Now is a great time more than ever to be looking after each other, especially older and more vulnerable members of our society.

Part of this is limiting misinformation and the spread of it during these unprecedented times that we’re currently living in.

So before you forward that message on WhatsApp, share that post on Facebook or retweet that post on Twitter, be sure to check the source and fact check where necessary.

Last updated: 02 November 2020

Sources: Faheem Younus (verified Chief of Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland): https://twitter.com/FaheemYounus/status/1239710943568973827 Full Fact: https://fullfact.org/online/coronavirus-claims-symptoms-viral/ Arcgis: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6