NEW YORK - The global coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 4.5 million and killed more than 300,000 people worldwide. The World Health Organization has urged governments, businesses and individuals to take steps to deal with the spread of the virus.
But misinformation, misunderstandings, and outdated information about the virus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, seemingly spread as easily as the pathogen.
To fight these myths and lies, the WHO created a series "mythbusters" based on the latest clinical and research information about the novel coronavirus. The WHO has updated the mythbusters as new rumors and lies surface in the public consciousness.
Here are those mythbusters (produced by WHO; compiled and summarized by FOX 5 NY):
Do 5G mobile networks spread COVID-19?
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.
Does drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach prevent or cure COVID-19?
No and doing so can be extremely dangerous. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are poisons. Drinking them can lead to disability and death. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are sometimes used in cleaning products to kill the virus on surfaces – however you should never drink them. They will not kill the virus in your body and they will harm your internal organs.
Does spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body protect you against COVID-19?
No and this can be very dangerous. Do not under any circumstance spray or introduce bleach or any other disinfectant into your body. These substances can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes. Bleach and disinfectant should be used carefully to disinfect surfaces only. Remember to keep chlorine (bleach) and other disinfectants out of reach of children.
Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?
No. 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 (i.e. eyes, mouth).
Is wearing rubber gloves effective in preventing coronavirus infection?
No. You can still pick up COVID-19 contamination on rubber gloves and then touch your face and infect yourself. Regularly washing your bare hands offers more protection.
Does adding pepper to your soup or other meals prevent or cure COVID-19?
No. Hot peppers in your food, though very tasty, cannot prevent or cure COVID-19.
Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
Is hydroxychloroquine or another drug licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19?
While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19. The misuse of hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects and illness and even lead to death. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat COVID-19.
Does being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort mean you are free from COVID-19?
You cannot confirm COVID-19 or any other lung disease from this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia.
Does catching the new coronavirus mean you will have it for life?
You can recover from COVID-19. Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies.
Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. 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.
Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
Is COVID-19 transmitted through houseflies?
To date, there is no evidence or information to suggest that the COVID-19 virus transmitted through houseflies. The virus spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.
Can the new coronavirus be transmitted through mosquito bites?
To date, there is no information or evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. 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.
Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?
UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
Can taking a hot bath prevent the new coronavirus disease?
No, taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you.
Can exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) prevent COVID-19?
No. You can catch COVID-19 no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19.
Will cold weather and snow kill the new coronavirus?
There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather.
Those are your COVID-19 mythbusters. Please stay at home as much as possible. Remember to practice social distancing when you are in public.
"If you need to leave your house, wear a mask to avoid infecting others," the World Health Organization says. "Why? Avoiding contact with others will protect them from possible COVID-19 and other viruses."