Coronavirus myth vs. fact: World health officials tackle COVID-19 rumors



TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As concerns over the coronavirus grow in the United States and throughout the world, so does the spread of misinformation.

The World Health Organization is working to stop the spread of rumors about the virus and has set up a “myth busters” site to address some of the false information. Here’s a look at some of the myths being busted by WHO:

Coronavirus and hot weather

A popular rumor being spread and talked about online is hot weather having an effect on coronavirus. But WHO officials say COVID-19 CAN be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates.

“From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather,” the organization says. “Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in or travel to an area reporting COVID-19.”

Coronavirus and cold weather

The World Health Organization says cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the coronavirus.

“There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases,” the organization says.

According to WHO officials, that’s because the normal human body temperature remains the same regardless of external temperatures and weather.

Coronavirus and hot baths

WHO officials say taking a hot bath will NOT prevent you from catching COVID-19. Regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower, health officials say your normal body temperature remains the same.

“Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful as it can burn you,” the organization says on its website.

Coronavirus and mosquito bites

A big concern for many, particularly in Florida, was whether or not coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. But the World Health Organization says the virus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

“To date, there has been no information or evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes,” the organization says. “The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.”

Coronavirus and hand dryers

Health officials say hand dryers are NOT effective in killing the coronavirus.

“To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water,” WHO officials say. “Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.”

Coronavirus and UV lamps

The WHO says they have seen questions about whether or not ultraviolet disinfection lamps can kill the new coronavirus. But officials say UV lamps should NOT be used to sterilize your hands or other areas of skin.

“UV radiation can cause skin irritation,” officials warn.

Coronavirus and thermal scanners

WHO officials also say they’ve seen questions on how effective thermal scanners are in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus. The organization clarifies that thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a FEVER because of the infection.

“However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever,” the organization explains. “This is because it takes between two and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.”

Coronavirus and alcohol/chlorine

World health officials warn that spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will NOT kill viruses that have already entered your body.

“Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes,” the WHO says. “Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.”

Coronavirus and pneumonia vaccines

The WHO says vaccines against pneumonia DO NOT provide protection against the new coronavirus.

“The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccines,” the organization explains.” Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.”

The organization says researchers are trying to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus and the WHO is supporting those efforts.

Coronavirus and saline spray

WHO officials say regularly rinsing your nose with saline does NOT help prevent infection with the new coronavirus.

They do say there is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing your nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from a common cold.

“However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections,” the organization says.

Coronavirus and garlic

While garlic is a healthy food that health officials say may have some antimicrobial properties, there is NO evidence that eating garlic has protected anyone from the new coronavirus.

Coronavirus and age

The World Health Organization says they have seen questions over whether or not younger people are also susceptible to the coronavirus. They say people of ALL AGES can be infected.

“Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus,” the organization says. “WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus.”

Coronavirus and antibiotics

The World Health Organization says antibiotics DO NOT work against viruses, like the new coronavirus. They only work against bacteria.

“The new coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment,” WHO officials say. “However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.”

Coronavirus and medicine

WHO officials say, to date, there is NO specific medicine that is recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19.

“However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care,” the organization says.

The WHO says some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials.


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