People are panicking about coronavirus (also called 2019-nCoV), which was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week. And as fear over transmission of the virus spreads, so does the uptick of misinformation.
If you haven’t been following the news, there’s a current outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. The virus has been traced back to Wuhan, China, and experts still don’t know how easily the disease is spread.
But public health officials do know some basics about coronavirus and are trying to combat myths that have been popping up online.
Here are three totally bogus, and potentially dangerous, coronavirus myths that are found online:
Coronavirus is linked to Corona beer
Internet searches for “Coronavirus beer” have increased and appear as a “breakout term” according to Google Trends. It’s not clear whether people believe that drinking Corona beer may help cause or cure the illness. However, a representative for Constellation Brands—the company that owns Corona—has spoke to news outlets to clear the brand’s name from any association with the virus.
“We believe that consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our beer/business,” a spokesperson explained to CBS on January 30.
Coronavirus can be cured by eating garlic
People have been falsely spreading information that garlic may help cure the coronavirus, according to a Tweet from Dr. Gia Sison.
This has been circulating in the group chats I am part of. Please be informed that this is not true. The 2019 nCov Acute Respiratory Disease is viral and no cure has been established yet except for early detection and prevention and symptomatic treatment. #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/mEo9XPEsU9
This is completely false. In response to this myth, the WHO has taken to social media to clear up the misconception by Tweeting, “Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from 2019-nCoV.”
Q: Can eating garlic help prevent infection with #2019nCoV?
A: Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from 2019-nCoV#KnowTheFacts pic.twitter.com/n4y5xfgwYz
You can get the coronavirus from mail or packages
Some consumers are concerned that their Asian-made products may be contaminated with coronavirus. However, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says you likely have nothing to worry about.
“In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of 2019-nCoV associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of 2019-nCoV in the United States associated with imported goods,” the CDC writes on its website.
For more information on the coronavirus, visit the CDC website.
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