6. Fact-checking : seek information only from official sources

Messages containing "simple and accessible" recommendations to counter the coronavirus epidemic have been shared thousands of times on Facebook, WhatsApp and by e-mail channels in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe. A wide majority of these tips and information is based on false or unsubstantiated claims.

Here is a sample list of these incorrect recommendations or information:

"Even without symptoms, a person carrying the coronavirus is contagious."

TRUE AND FALSE

According to what is knows today, people without symptoms are not the main sources of contamination.

The disease is spread mainly through respiratory droplets expelled by people who cough. Sick people are most contagious when they are most symptomatic. It is not yet clear whether asymptomatic people infected with the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) are contagious or how long they are contagious before symptoms appear.

 

"The virus is not heat resistant, it dies if exposed to temperatures of 26-27°C."

FALSE

To date, it is not confirmed whether the climate or temperatures have an impact on the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is also impossible to say that spring or summer heat can literally "kill" a virus. Furthermore, exposing your clothes to the sun to destroy viruses that may have been deposited on them is unnecessary. This also applies to hand dryers, which are ineffective against coronavirus.

 

"Hot liquid neutralizes the virus."

FALSE

Hot water or the frequency of water consumption has no effect on this virus. There is no need to change the temperature of the water you drink. Drinking water is always important, not just for the coronavirus.

 

"The virus survives on inert surfaces for about 6 to 12 hours."

UNSUBSTIANTED

It is not yet clear how long the COVID-19 virus survives on inert surfaces, but it appears to react like other coronaviruses. Studies (and preliminary information on COVID-19) suggest that coronaviruses can continue to exist on surfaces from up to a few hours to several days. This may depend on different parameters (e.g. surface type, temperature or humidity).

 

"Eating more ginger, garlic, pepper, etc. protects against coronavirus."

FALSE

While some foods may have virtues for the body, none of them specifically fight against the coronavirus.

 

"Because of its large size, the coronavirus can be stopped by any type of mask."

FALSE

The Geneva health authorities recommend that medical masks be worn only by health staff members:

  • who examine, treat or advise people with respiratory symptoms (cough and/or fever), without being able to keep at a distance of at least two metres.
  • who examine, treat or advise persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, and who cannot keep at a distance of at least two metres.

 

FFP2 masks are required only if the presence of COVID-19 is suspected in a patient and if a high level of aerosol formation is expected during a medical procedure (e.g., bronchoscopy, reanimation, open aspiration, non-invasive ventilation).

Healthy people should not wear medical masks in public.

 

 

"Drinking water and gargling cures COVID-19."

FALSE

Salt water can relieve a sore throat, and people are advised to drink water to stay hydrated when they are sick with the flu or the new coronavirus. Drinking does not eliminate the coronavirus in any way.

 

 

"You can contract COVID-19 from a mosquito bite."

FALSE

There are no studies to support that the coronavirus can be transmitted by a mosquito bite.

 

"Dogs and cats can transmit the coronavirus."

UNSUSBSTANTIATED

There is no evidence that pets such as dogs and cats can transmit the coronavirus.

 

"Rinsing your nose regularly protects against coronavirus infection."

UNSUSBSTANTIATED

There is no evidence that rinsing your nose with a saline solution protects you against coronavirus infection.

 

"Coronavirus only affects vulnerable people."

People of all ages can be infected with the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Elderly people and people with pre-existing conditions (asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, heart disease, etc.) seem more likely to become seriously ill from this virus.

People of all ages are advised to take measures to protect themselves from the virus (social distance of 2m, regular and meticulous hand washing, good respiratory hygiene, etc.).

 

"Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating coronavirus infection."

FALSE

Antibiotics do not work against viruses but only against bacteria. Since the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a virus, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for an infection with CoV-2-CASR, you may receive antibiotics since bacterial co-infection is possible.

 

"Chloroquine cures COVID-19."

UNSUSBSTANTIATED

To date, there is no drug known to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Some treatments are tested in numerous research protocols around the world. Therefore, Chloroquine treatment is currently reserved for patients in hospital settings or as part of a research protocol.

 

"Fabric masks are an efficient substitute for surgical masks."

FALSE

Fabric masks are by no means a substitute for surgical masks. In fact, surgical masks are the only masks where there is scientific data regarding filtration efficiency and air tightness.

Fabric masks or other hand-made masks do not provide the bearer with any proven protection against coronavirus.

 

 

This fact-checking list is regularly updated.

The Geneva health authorities warn the population against spreading unfounded rumours that circulate on social networks and the internet.

Obtain information only from official sources!

 

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