11 January 2021

    Tarryn Temmers

    COVID-19 myths

    We take a look at some of the fake stories surrounding the Coronavirus.

    Article was updated on 08 January 2021.

    There is a lot of information about COVID-19 on the internet and particularly, going around on WhatsApp right now. We have listed some of the common myths out there and provide you with some facts.

    The new variant causes more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

    According to The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) there’s is no clear evidence that the new COVID-19 variant causes more severe disease or symptoms. The world’s medical experts are undertaking more studies to establish this and we will let you know should their findings show the new variant does change the course of the disease.

    This new variant is the same as the so-called “London variant” in the UK.

    While there are some similarities, the NCID explains that it’s definitely not the same variant. What it does tell us is that if we do not control the spread of the virus then it is likely to evolve in similar ways in different parts of the world.

    COVID-19 is airborne.

    The COVID-19 virus is not airborne. The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains that you can only contract the virus from someone who has the virus. It can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces the person is in contact with. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch it if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why social distancing and remaining more than 1 metre away from a person who is sick is vital.

    The new variant causes different symptoms.

    Again, the NCID says that there’s currently no evidence that it will cause different COVID-19 symptoms to those currently catalogued.

    You can’t get re-infected with the new variant if you have already had COVID-19 from one of the older variants.

    Unfortunately this is not clear at the moment. According to the NCID it remains best practice to continue wearing masks in public, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and keep up meticulous hand hygiene even if you have already had COVID-19. We will update this with more information once clinical studies provide a clearer answer.

    These home remedies can cure the virus.

    Eat raw garlic: Yes, garlic is good for your immune system, as it has some antimicrobial properties, however, there is no evidence that it can prevent or treat COVID-19.

    Take a hot bath: Many have been told that the Coronavirus cell has a layer of fat around it and by taking a hot bath or drinking hot tea; your body will be able to fight the virus. There is no evidence that this works. If you take a bath in scalding hot water you could, however, burn yourself.

    It only poses a threat to the elderly.

    People of all ages can be infected with COVID-19. The elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease just to name a few) are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. The WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene.

    Your personal actions do not make a difference to the spread of COVID19.

    It has been very clear that each one of us has the ability to help decrease the spread of the virus if we keep isolating. A study by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team in the United Kingdom explains that implementation of self-isolation and mass societal quarantine is extreme and painful, but it is effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

    Weather is not a deciding factor.

    Humid or sunny weather does not stop the virus from spreading. Countries with warmer climates have reported cases of COVID-19 as well. There is also no reason to believe that cold climates affect the spread of the virus. The body temperature stays the same 36.5C or 37C, despite the external temperature.  

    Mosquitoes cannot cause infection.

    The WHO has not received any evidence proving that mosquitoes can transmit the COVID-19 virus from one person to another.

    If you haven’t done so already, please download the Covid Alert SA App. It’s safe, and secure, and could save your life. You can download it for iOS  and for Android .

    Tarryn Temmers