Published: 30th January 2020
Coronavirus in India: Four myths about the virus you shouldn't fall for
According to the several news reports, the Chinese health authorities have confirmed at least 7,711 cases of Coronavirus in China
On Thursday, the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in India was declared in Kerala's Thrissur by the health ministry. The patient is a student studying in Wuhan University in China. She was tested positive and is in isolation in the hospital. The Press Information Bureau said that the patient is stable and is being closely monitored.
According to the several news reports, the Chinese health authorities have confirmed at least 7,711 cases of Coronavirus in China. Infections have also spread to at least 15 other countries. As a preventive measure against the outbreak of the deadly virus, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has been conducting thermal health screening of passengers, arriving from China including Hong Kong, in a total of seven airports in India which include Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Coronaviruses (CoV) are a "large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans." Soon after the news of the deadly virus spread, misinformation and myths concerning the coronavirus have come up. Here we debunk some of them.
Myth 1: The Coronavirus can be transmitted among humans through the air they breathe
Yes, the virus can be transmitted among humans. China’s top SARS expert, Zhong Nanshan, confirmed last week that human-to-human transmission of the virus is possible, after Wuhan’s Health Commission initially said there was no proof of it being transmitted from person to person, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.
Confirmation of the human-to-human transmission has since been supported by medical studies, including one published in the medical journal The Lancet last week by scientists from Hong Kong University and China’s State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases. However, researchers and experts are yet to find out how easily the virus can be spread between humans, and if airborne transmission is possible.
Myth 2: The outbreak was caused by the Chinese' practice of eating Bat soup
Claims in a number of tabloid papers said that the outbreak was a result of the people consuming bat soup. A young Chinese influencer who was captured eating the soup on her online travel vlog, was widely criticised for the practice as researchers had thought about the possibility that bats could be the host of the virus. After becoming the victim of massive trolling, Wang Mengyun was forced to issue a clarifier, explaining that the segment had been shot in 2016 in the Micronesian nation of Palau, where farmed bats form part of the islanders’ everyday diet.
Myth 3: China is building mass graves
In recent days, the Chinese government announced the start of construction on two hospitals in Wuhan to cope with the virus crisis. The facilities are expected to be completed by February 5, with a collective capacity to treat 3,300 patients. Images of the construction have fuelled numerous theories that the bulldozers seen in the pictures are in fact digging mass graves for the thousands of deaths expected from the outbreak in coming months. But the answer is no, they are building hospitals.
Myth 4: Indian medicine has a cure for the Coronavirus
The Government of India's Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) released an advisory on Wednesday detailing methods of "prevention" for an infection from the novel coronavirus.
The prevention methods put out by the ministry lists good practices for hygiene during a viral epidemic, but also cite homoeopathy and "symptomatic management" of a coronavirus infection using Unani medicine. They said this when experts around the world have said there is no cure or vaccination which has been invented for the deadly infection yet. There isn't also any evidence to back the prescribed medicine or diet for Coronaviruses.