The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm since late last year. With more than 200,000 people infected all over the world and over 5,000 deaths, the novel COVID-19 virus cannot be taken lightly. In Kenya, there have been twenty five confirmed cases so far with the government urging people to stay at home, in addition to being more hygienic in order to contain the spread of coronavirus. However, this has been affected by a lot of misinformation about COVID-19 that is floating around. This can be very dangerous as it may cause may people to not be very careful and unintentionally spread or catch the virus. Here’s the truth about some of the common coronavirus myths that you may have heard in Kenya.
This new strain of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, originated from the Wuhan province of China. After a while, the virus spread to other countries, mostly in Europe. This is what led to the myth that black people were immune to coronavirus on social media when people noticed that no cases had been confirmed in Africa. However, that has since changed as shown by the confirmed cases in Kenya and the rest of Africa. The truth is that black people are not immune to coronavirus and can also test positive. In fact, anyone around the world can get coronavirus.
While it would be good news for Kenya and Africa if this myth was true, that’s not the case. In fact, the novel strain of coronavirus can survive in any type of weather. This is because outside temperature doesn’t affect the interior of the virus cell, which is what you need to worry about.
Coronavirus is spread via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These can be spread through coughing or exhaling, and also when the droplets land on nearby surfaces and objects. Coronavirus is transmitted to others when they touch those surfaces and objects, or breathe in infected droplets. As a precaution, WHO has recommended that you stay at least 1 meter away from anyone who is sick. In addition, make sure that you frequently wash your hands, disinfect surfaces and avoid touching your face.
According to the World Health Organisation, antibiotics cannot work against viruses, only bacteria. Since COVID-19 is a virus, you would only be given antibiotics if you tested positive and it resulted in a bacterial co-infection. Furthermore paracetamol will only make coronavirus symptoms more bearable, but won’t cure coronavirus. At the moment, there is no cure for the coronavirus, even though most people who catch it make a full recovery at home.
For many people in Kenya, this is one of the coronavirus myths that seems to be the most believable. However, the best way to clean your hands and protect yourself against coronavirus is by using soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. In addition, make sure that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t find hand sanitizer at your local shop, you can also make some yourself.
Here in Kenya, a man from Mwingi was arrested on 15 March for allegedly publishing misleading and alarming coonavirus myths on his social media channels. This was contrary to section 23 of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act of 2018. If convicted, he risks a fine not exceeding five million shillings or a jail term of not more than ten years.
Featured Image Courtesy: EWN