4 Coronavirus Myths Busted By An Expert : Latest Update

At the time of writing, there are more than 119,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus or COVID-19 worldwide. It’s an alarming statistic, especially considering that it can take up to five days for symptoms to show.

It also doesn’t help that the internet is awash with conflicting information about how the virus spreads and how best we can protect ourselves. Here, Dr. Kieran Kennedy speaks to Women’s Health to separate fact from fiction.

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Myth #1

The keto diet can help to cure coronavirus

You may have seen a theory circulating online that following the keto diet acts as a kind of cure-all for the Coronavirus. However, no reputable sources support this. In fact, Dr. Kieran says this myth is “overtly toxic.”

“There is no scientific or medical backing that a Keto Diet helps prevent or (arguably more dangerous still) even cure Coronavirus infection,” he explains. “I’m aware of some studies that have looked into virus immunity in mice placed on Keto-like diets, but we need to be very clear that this does not equate to any kind of evidence for Keto diets having a significant influence on coronavirus infection in humans.”

Myth #2

Facemasks protect us against coronavirus

There’s so much debate right now over how the Coronavirus spreads and whether or not wearing a facemask will actually stop you getting sick. As a general rule? They are useful – just not necessary all the time.

“A facemask might help reduce risk of transmission of Coronavirus from us to others or from others to us IF we’re unwell, or in close contact with someone with the virus,” Dr Kieran says. “In general, we don’t need to be wearing masks out and about as routine.”

Respiratory/nasal droplets and secretions (e.g. coughing and sneezing) are some of the most common sources of transmission, which is why it’s important to cover your mouth and nose. Still, it’s not guaranteed protection.

“Many masks might not block finer particles from crossing and to work they need to be placed properly. Another source of spread is if viral contaminants on our hands touch our face, so pulling a mask on and off whilst touching around our mouth and nose is likely less helpful for most.”


Myth #3

Coronavirus is spread via overseas packages

Just because the first cases of Coronavirus came out of China, does not mean that race, ethnicity or culture has anything to do with the virus. 

There’s been some dangerous (and disappointing) rhetoric flying around lately about what connection the Coronavirus has to people and items from China,” Dr. Kieran says. While it is believed that the Coronavirus can survive for a short time outside the body on objects (say, a table that someone sneezes on), researchers say it’s “highly unlikely” that packages coming from overseas can lead to transmission.

“We don’t need to avoid receiving things from China or buying products shipped from other countries,” Dr. Kieran reiterates.

Myth #4

Coronavirus is just like the flu

There are similarities between the flu and the Coronavirus. Firstly, both are viruses that cause symptoms such as fever, fatigue, coughing, a runny nose and aching. They both can also result in severe infections in the lungs and throughout the body – and, in some cases, even death. Despite these, Dr. Keiran stresses that Caronavirus isn’t the same thing as the flu.

“We still don’t know many of the details around Coronavirus and patterns of spread, infection and outcomes appear different to your typical flu,” he explains. “Yes, it’s true that many people are infected with the flu and die (sadly) each year due to it – but that doesn’t mean Coronavirus is less or more worrisome per se.

Based on current statistics, the chance of contracting complications from Coronavirus is much higher than the flu (it has a 2-3 per cent fatality rate.)

“Seasonally, rates of flu infection remain much higher yes, but time and further research is needed for us to know just how coronavirus tallies up in comparison,” he adds.

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