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COVID Mythbusters - Part 2

We continue our series on some of the common theories/rumours/myths circulating along with some verified sources to help combat some of the misconceptions.

BREATHING TECHNIQUES WILL CURE YOU

The internet – especially social media – is full of cures for anything and everything, and when it looks like a doctor is endorsing them, they look credible. A few social media posts have already circulated with theories like this.

If I need some wizarding advice I’ll come to you, otherwise…

Techniques like ‘controlled coughing’ help with conditions like cystic fibrosis to clear the airways of mucus (which is relatively safe to do as the mucus in CF isn’t usually infectious), but for COVID-19 this is the opposite as the virus infects others through airborne droplets that you can cough up.

Simply put, there’s no clinical trials or evidence that this will cure you of COVID or its symptoms – it’s difficult to understand how controlled coughing would help when you’d be coughing so much anyway. 

Managing symptoms in the community

THE HOT/COLD WEATHER WILL KILL THE VIRUS SO JUST WAIT FOR SUMMER/WINTER

The virus has spread across the world in hot, cold and temperate climates – your resting body temperature does not change depending on the climate you live in, as the virus is active in all types of climate.

Take protective measures whether you live or travel in areas that are naturally hot, cold or in-between. The most effective way to stay safe is to wash your hands frequently with alcohol-based solutions or with soap and water.

World Health Organisation's advice to the public

ORDERING GOODS FROM CHINA SPREADS THE VIRUS

From the beginning, rumours spread about anything China-related that could spread the infection, which was pushed by the media and certain politicians with dodgy tans…

The CDC, WHO and NHS have clarified that this isn’t the case - the risk of contracting the virus by opening boxes or touching packages that originated overseas is very small. Even if a package shipped from China or anywhere else did have droplets containing coronavirus on it, it’s likely those droplets would be dried out — with the virus killed — by the time the package arrived at a warehouse, a store or your front steps.

The NHS has said “There is currently no evidence that you can catch coronavirus from parcels and letters”, and it is “very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.”

Nevertheless, if you happen to receive a package from anywhere known to have coronavirus outbreaks, it makes sense to take the same precautions that experts all over the world have been advising people to take – i.e. wash your hands, cover your mouth and social distance.

Studies have shown that the virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard.

NHS Coronavirus latest information

CDC Coronavirus FAQs

HERD IMMUNITY WOULD PROTECT US FROM COVID-19

Herd immunity is a method where, if enough people become immune to an infection, then the entire population is protected because infectious people rarely encounter a non-immune person, and so transmission will die out.

Herd immunity has only ever been attained by vaccination and can only be built if the immune response prevents individuals from picking up and transmitting the virus. The WHO Chief said “herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it”.

There is little evidence that natural immunity to COVID-19 will stop transmission, but it is certain to increase the number of deaths. Recent data now shows the presence of ‘long Covid’, symptoms lasting for weeks or months.

SWEDEN USED HERD IMMUNITY AND IT WORKED FOR THEM

The Sweden example has been put forward to promote ‘herd immunity’ but this has been studied extensively, and their own government ministers have gone on record to dispute these claims.

They didn’t have a policy of herd immunity, but their leading epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said “we could have done better in what we did”. Compared to neighbouring countries, Sweden’s death rates were much higher – 581 deaths per million, compared to Denmark (99), Finland (62) and Norway (44). Italy’s highest was 555 and the UK was 567, bearing in mind that Sweden has a population of around 10 million.

A range of lockdown measures were introduced after the initial period – High schools and above were moved to online lessons, travel restrictions are in place, social distancing in public areas, close contact with the elderly is restricted and a combination of national and regional lockdowns are part of the response to spikes in infections and deaths.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organisation said that “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic," adding that it would be "unethical" to rely on this strategy.

Covid-19: Comparing Sweden’s response with the UK’s is “misleading”

Sweden’s prized herd immunity is nowhere in sight

ANTIBIOTICS CAN KILL THE VIRUS

Antibiotics only work against bacteria – coronavirus is a viral infection. GPs and hospitals have prescribed them on occasions where they are concerned that there may be a risk of a secondary infection, but COVID-19 itself is a viral infection.

WHO – Antibiotics and COVID-19

First Practice Management members can access our Pandemic Toolkit, along with a wide range of regularly updated draft policies and documents relating to information security and governance from our Policies and Procedures Library.

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