COVID-19 | Coronavirus

COVID-19: Finding Myths About the Coronavirus

As the crisis deepens, The newspaper separates the true from the false and presents what we know about the virus that makes the world tremble.

• Read also: Practical guide to the Covid-19


COVID-19 was developed in the laboratory and could be a biological weapon.

FALSE. Even if the exact provenance remains to be confirmed, COVID-19 shares more than 95% of its genome with a coronavirus found in bats. The spread would therefore come from the animal world, some experts suspecting the pangolin, a wild animal present in China and sold for its meat, to have been the intermediary between the human and the bat.

COVID-19 patients are recovering from it.

TRUE. According to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the spread of the virus, about 50% of people who have contracted the virus worldwide have since recovered and are considered to be cured.

Coronavirus is like any other flu.

FALSE. Although the symptoms may be similar, the coronavirus has a higher degree of contagiousness than that of the flu (2.2 vs 1.3). The incubation period of the virus is also longer, which increases the risk of spread. According to recent data, the death rate from COVID-19 is also 20 times that of influenza, according to University of London professor of biology François Balloux.

The flu or pneumonia vaccine protects against the coronavirus.

FALSE. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, although scientists are actively investigating the matter.

You should fear your online shopping, delivered from affected regions.

FALSE. According to the World Health Organization, the virus cannot survive long enough on an inert surface to be transmitted by mail.

If I have successfully obtained an N95 mask or another type of mask, I can only use it once.

TRUE. As soon as the mask is worn, it is possible that it has been exposed to contaminants. There is no way to clean it. Moreover, the mask serves more to protect others from your own symptoms than the reverse, recalls the Public Health of Quebec.

There is a drug to treat coronavirus.

FALSE. The Quebec Department of Health specifies that there is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID ‐ 19. However, “supportive” medications can be used to reduce the effect of symptoms like fever or cough.

I can’t get the coronavirus, I’m not even sick.

FALSE. It is possible to be asymptomatic and still be a carrier of COVID-19. This is why basic precautionary measures such as hand washing are important for everyone to avoid spreading. “Many sufferers have only mild symptoms. This is especially true in the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to contract COVID-19 in contact with a person who, for example, has only a mild cough, but who does not feel sick, “says the WHO.

Water and soap are as effective as hand sanitizers.

TRUE. The good old way of soap and water does the job of killing germs. In fact, public health experts point out that disinfectant fluid is only an alternative when you don’t have access to soap or water.

Tough myths

Alcohol won’t protect you from the virus …

27 people lost their lives in Iran after consuming significant amounts of adulterated alcohol, believed to have the healing properties of COVID-19. It is not so. The WHO also warns that coating the body with alcohol or chlorine will not help more.

… and neither does cocaine

The French Ministry of Health had to notify the public on Twitter last week, after the spread of this false news on social networks. “No, cocaine does NOT protect against COVID-19,” the ministry said, adding that it was more of an addictive drug.

Rinsing the nose with saline water does not prevent infection

The WHO says, “There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline protects people from infection with the new coronavirus.”

Donald Trump made the mistake of minimizing the impact of the virus

While all the world’s health organizations warned against large gatherings and warned of the spread of the virus, the American president downplayed the impact of the pandemic. This attitude makes the United States one of the fastest growing countries on the planet, even though it has announced a blockage of flights from Europe and declared a state of emergency.

What we know about the virus

How does the virus spread?

Research is still ongoing into the spread of COVID-19. It is currently believed that the virus is spread by droplets expelled during a cough or sneeze. Contamination occurs during close contact with an infected person. Coronaviruses survive a few hours to a few days on surfaces and can also be spread by hand to infected surfaces, which are then brought to the mouth, nose or eyes.

What is the incubation period?

The incubation period represents the time from when a person becomes infected with the virus until the first symptoms appear. During this interval, the person is infected and contagious without their knowledge. According to an American study based on the analysis of 181 cases, the incubation period of COVID-19 is approximately five days. However, it could extend up to 12.5 days.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, fatigue, and a dry cough. Some patients will be infected and show no symptoms. The coronavirus is still more virulent than the common cold or the seasonal flu, says Caroline Quach-Thanh, full professor in the Department of microbiology, infectiology and immunology at the University of Montreal. The expert also insists that a runny nose and nasal congestion are symptoms of a cold, not COVID-19.

What should I do if I have symptoms of the virus?

The government originally recommended contacting Info-Santé (811). The line having been overloaded in the past few days, it is better now to call 1-877-644-4545. Starting next week, a remote consultation service with a doctor should be set up in Quebec.

How serious are the symptoms?

Most people with the virus recover on their own. Still, one in five still required hospitalization to treat the symptoms of COVID-19. In a study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on nearly 45,000 cases in China, 80.9% had flu-like symptoms and were able to treat themselves at home, 13.8% were hospitalized for severe symptoms, while 4.7% required intensive care.

Who are the people at risk for a severe form of COVID-19?

Those most at risk of complications are people who are immunocompromised, those with chronic diseases, who have health problems (high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes) and the elderly. It is strongly recommended that anyone returning from a trip or presenting symptoms of the coronavirus to visit these vulnerable people.

What is the death rate?

In rare cases, the disease can lead to death. COVID-19 is said to kill 3.7% of those diagnosed, according to the World Health Organization. Mortality increases with age, with the disease generally being mild in children and young adults. It’s higher than the flu, which has a death rate of 0.1%, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Which countries are most affected?

Iran, South Korea and Italy were the fastest hit countries after China. The number of cases has rapidly increased in Europe, to the point that the World Health Organization on Friday identified the continent as the “new” epicenter of the pandemic. More than 115 countries now count cases all over the globe.

Is there a cure for coronavirus?

There is currently no treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Note however that the biopharmaceutical company of Quebec Medicago claims to be working on a vaccine. If pre-clinical animal testing is successful, clinical trials in humans could take place by August.

Could the arrival of spring slow the spread of the virus?


Archive photo, QMI Agency

Like all seasonal respiratory viruses, spring may slow the spread of COVID-19. But it is not excluded that the virus will reappear in the fall.

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