3 Coronavirus myths that need to be busted

Will eating a ton of garlic help prevent infection from coronavirus? Not so fast.

Two dozen new cases of the novel coronavirus popped up in the United States over the weekend, with the first two deaths from the infection confirmed, according to CNN. The virus, which has infected a total of 89 people in the US as of Monday, includes new cases that appeared in New York and Florida on Sunday, multiple outlets reported.

As worried patrons raid supermarkets around the world in preparation for outbreaks, it’s important to know what can help (and what doesn’t help) protect you from coronavirus.

Currently, there’s no vaccine that prevents the novel coronavirus disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, which preventive actions that help maintain the spread of the virus could be your best bet for staying safe in case of a possible outbreak in the US.

Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Throw the tissue away.
  • Clean and disinfect regularly used objects or surfaces with cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not around.

But what about face masks or using a saline spray in your nose, will that help stop the spread of infection? Let’s separate fact from fiction with coronavirus.

Face masks

If you’ve walked around Manhattan recently, you’ve definitely seen a new accessory around the faces of numerous people — face masks.

Sales of face masks have soared in recent weeks, with worried buyers stocking up and leaving businesses with little to none left. While the idea of owning a face mask might seem like a preventive step to not contracting coronavirus, it’s literally ineffective.

“CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19,” the CDC said. “Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.”

The surgeon general even chimed in on Saturday urging people to stop buying masks.

“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” Jerome M. Adams said in a tweet. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Will drinking Corona give you the coronavirus?


One recent myth linked Mexican beer brand Corona to the virus, which created a hysteria recently backed in a study.

A survey conducted by 5W Public Relations found that 38% of respondents said they’d stop buying Corona due to the virus, while 16% said they were confused about why the two were linked.

“There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus. Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying “Hey, can I have a Corona?” or “Pass me A Corona,” said Ronn Torossian, Founder and CEO of 5WPR, in a press release “While the brand has claimed that consumers understand there’s no linkage between the virus and the beer company, this is a disaster for the Corona brand. After all, what brand wants to be linked to a virus which is killing people worldwide?”

Despite the scare, Constellation Brands, which owns Corona, said sales of its Corona Extra beer remain strong despite the outbreak, according to Reuters.

“We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well,” Bill Newlands, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.

Some other coronavirus myths, busted

Thinking about installing a hand dryer in your bathroom to kill the coronavirus? That’s a waste of money.

The World Health Organization laid out the truths behind some myths that have floated around including the use of garlic, ultraviolet disinfection lamps, and whether pets at home can spread coronoavirus.

Hand dryers: Not effective.

Ultraviolet disinfection lamp: Should not be used to sterilize hands. UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

Thermal scanners: While thermal scanners can detect whether someone has developed a fever, they won’t detect people who are infected. It takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected to become sick and develop a fever.

Spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body: While both alcohol and chlorine can be used to disinfect surfaces, using it on your clothing or body can be harmful. It will not kill virus that have already entered the body.

Receiving mail: Recently bought something China? Don’t worry, it’s safe. The World Health Organization said the virus doesn’t survive long on objects like letters or packages.

Pets at home: No evidence that animals or pets can be infected with the virus, but wash your hands with soap and water after touching your pets.

Vaccines against pneumonia: Nope, doesn’t work. The virus doesn’t have its own vaccine yet, as researchers rush to develop one.

Saline spray: While it could help with the common cold, regularly rinsing your nose hasn’t been proven to stop respiratory infections.

Eating garlic: Unless you want bad breath, there’s no link between the outbreak and consuming garlic that’ll help protect people. Garlic does have some antimicrobial properties, but there’s no link to helping with the virus, according to WHO.

Sesame oil: Nope.

Antibiotics: Again, no.