The sad truth is that any health crisis will spawn its own pandemic of misinformation. In the 80s, 90s, and 2000s we heard the spread of dangerous lies about Aids – from the belief that the HIV virus was created by a government laboratory to the idea that the HIV tests were unreliable, and even the spectacularly unfounded theory that it could be treated with goat’s milk. These claims increased risky behaviour and exacerbated the crisis.
Now, we are seeing a fresh inundation of fake news – this time around the coronavirus pandemic.
Is coronavirus a myth or a reality?
The misinformation from social media is that Coronavirus as a bioweapon. This is one of the myths of COVID-19. The reality of this is from the analyses that have been done. There is not any evidence that this virus has been engineered or is different from something that has been found in nature. There is no evidence debunking the fact that the virus is a naturally occurring virus-like other deadly viruses of the past.
There is speculation that the virus is immune to children which were debunked by Tom Iglesby, MD, Director, Johns Hopkins centre for health security, he said: “ We have seen [in a study out of China] that children are being infected in the same distribution as another age group, they’re just not symptomatic.”
The good news continues to be that so far no reports have come out saying that kids are getting the severe illness in high numbers, but it does appear that kids are getting infected in the same way that other age groups are getting infected.
However, there is also misinformation that one can do self-medication of COVID-19 by taking chloroquine phosphate, Although chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been mentioned as possible treatments for COVID-19 but it is a dangerous, lethal poison if not used correctly with a physician.
Recently on social media, it’s said that 5G mobile networks are the cause of the spread of COVID-19. The truth is that Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.
There is a myth surrounding COVID-19 that drinking alcohol protects us from coronavirus. The reality is that alcohol does not protect us against COVID-19. It can be dangerous. Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of health problems.
Above all, Coronavirus is real and we should respect all the preventive measures to curb the spread of this virus. Safe safe.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Akanji Abdul Azeez is a political scientist, an Educationist, an advocate of humanitarian activities and a Public Administration student of ABU, Zaria.