The coronavirus, being the most talked about subject for last two months, has not only gained popularity because of the mortalities it has caused but also being exploited because of the erroneous information. Corona, labelled nCOV-2019 by researchers, is the virus responsible for a recent pandemic. It has been declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 31 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters in Geneva. The Chinese government and other affected countries have already collaborated to reduce the prejudice of the pandemic.

Coronaviruses are a group of virus of subfamily orthocoronavirinae and family coronaviridae, that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections including the Common Cold. Rarely these cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A person affected with the virus may suffer with fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose and diarrhoea. No vaccines or antiviral drugs are approved for prevention or treatment.

On February 4, 2020 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency authorisation allowing public health labs to use the 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, a test that can detect whether someone is infected with the new coronavirus. Further, the FDA emphasised that although a positive test result likely means infection with 2019-nCoV, negative results doesn’t rule out the fact that someone is not affected by the said virus and doesn’t come under the category of those who require treatment.

As of February 6, 2020 there are 28,353 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, with 1,382 recovered and 565 deaths, according to the data from Johns Hopkins University. Recently the disease has made its way to both Iran and Pakistan as well. Up till now, there are only two persons reported to have the disease in Pakistan. They are getting treatment in a quarantined setup, where they are admitted in isolated wards so as to prevent the transmission. One of them has recently been discharged while being declared free of the virus. 

The coronavirus pandemic has put people around the world on edge. As a result of which there has been a surge of conjectures about the virus which could end up worsening the public health crisis. To name a few:

Corona is a Bio-Hazard spread by USA in China.

Rumours doing the rounds that the virus has been spread by USA as a result of China’s buoyant economy as compared to the US.

A vaccine to cure corona virus is available but not introduced to gain profit by pharmaceutical companies. 

Conjectures about the availability of vaccine against corona virus have been speculating around the social media. Rumours has it that the pharmaceutical companies have the cure but the reason of it not being introduced in the market is to gain profit from the government for the research and development of already formed vaccine. Later, it was said that there has been no vaccines formed against the virus but researches are being carried out to form one because it takes years to complete such researches.

Gargling with bleach or acids are protective against the virus.

This is not just untrue but obligatory to a great extent. Gargling or swallowing bleach, acids, essential oils doesn’t protect you against corona virus, rather it can affect you in ways that are disastrous such as acids can burn the mucosa(inner lining) of the oesophagus and causes caseous necrosis (cell death). Bleach on the other hand can cause perforation of the gastrointestinal tract. So these remedies harm a person instead of doing any good for them.

Ordering products from China will make a person sick.

The virus is known to not sustain on hard objects for a long time. It requires optimum conditions to survive. Shipments on the other hand take 10-12 days to deliver and the virus can not grow for so long on those objects.

Consumption of meat can transmit the disease.

The novel disease is known to transmit the disease from humans to humans. There is no transmission from an animal to humans, therefore it is safe to consume meat.

Transmission from pets.

Of all the misinformation that is propagating about Corona Virus, one being that the pets and cattle’s can transfer the disease. 

The disease is 100% fatal.

The disease has a mortality rate of 2%, which means that every 100 people affected from the disease, only 2 of them die from it. The death is inversely proportional to a good immune system. The better the immune system the less are the chances of mortality. Though children, elderly and the immuno-compromised people are at greater risk because of their weak immune system.

Onion water and lemon juice are protective.

This is a disinformation about nCOV. No remedies whatsoever can neither protect you from the disease nor cure it.

Masks are 100% protective.

It is advised to use masks in crowded places because it can prevent the bigger droplets to enter the mouth or nose when an infected person sneezes or coughs. However, it’s not 100% protective. In short, wearing a mask doesn’t mean that a person can never have the disease, it is just used as a precautionary measure.

As far as the facts about corona virus are concerned, it spreads through coughing, sneezing, and coming in close contact with the diseased person. It can be prevented by wearing masks and washing hands thoroughly and adopting good hygienic measures. It is also said that a distance of one meter from the diseased person can prevent the transmission because the virus can not travel past one meter. All other myths are not to be believed until proved otherwise. 

The government should introduce a website against such a pandemic which guides the masses about the infective agent, focuses on the preventive measures and most importantly aware people not to believe everything they see on social media, rather read more information about it. Also, the public should refrain from sharing any news until confirmed by a third party which could be anyone from a health professional to a government official, who has a better knowledge of the said news.


About Author

The author is a final year MBBS student, who is passionate not just about writing but bringing forth a whole new perspective about Balochistan through it.

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