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Fact Checked

6 COVID-19 myths that refuse to die

Published on January 10, 2022

A viral WhatsApp video, circulating in India, peddles old misleading claims about the coronavirus in an engaging way.

By Tej Kumar

Amidst reports of surging COVID-19 cases across the globe, there has been a resurgence of old misleading claims about the coronavirus. Albeit in new packaging. Consider this viral WhatsApp video circulating in India, for instance. None of the claims are new, yet the presentation is engaging and inspiring people to share it widely.

So, here’s debunking 6 common myths about COVID-19 that refuse to die:

1) Coronavirus pneumonia is a dry cough with no runny nose.

Fact: Two years into the pandemic, experts agree that COVID-19 symptoms can include dry cough and shortness of breath as well as congestion or runny nose, along with one or more of the other symptoms, such as fatigue, fever or chills, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, headache, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, and the like.

2) The virus is not heat resistant and will be killed by a temperature of 26/27 degrees. It hates the sun.

Fact: Despite the popularity of this long-standing claim, there has been absolutely no scientific evidence to prove that the coronavirus can be
killed by sunlight or any kind of heat.

3) When a person infected with the virus sneezes, the infectious particles drop to the ground at a distance of about 10 feet and are no longer airborne.

Fact: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. Another person can then contract the virus when infectious particles that pass through the air are inhaled at short range (this is often called short-range aerosol or short-range airborne transmission) or if infectious particles come into direct contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth (droplet transmission).

Last year, The Lancet published 10 global scientific evidences establishing that the coronavirus is airborne. You can view the article here.

4) The virus can live for at least 12 hours on metal surfaces. So if you come into contact with any metal surface, wash your hands immediately.

Fact: Research shows that the coronavirus may last on different surfaces for varying amounts of time, and these findings may or may not be applied to the real world. On metal surfaces, studies find that the virus can survive for up to 5-9 days. However, experts have come to the conclusion that chances of surface transmission is 1 in 10000.

5) If you don’t drink enough water regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and lungs. That’s very dangerous.

Fact: Staying hydrated is important for overall health and well-being. However, it cannot prevent COVID-19. Also, drinking too much water can lead to hyponatremia, wherein sodium levels in the blood plasma become too low. Read our fact-check story on healthy water consumption here.

6) Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you complete it successfully without coughing, discomfort, stiffness or tightness, it proves that there is no infection or fibrosis in the lungs.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that one can confirm the presence of coronavirus in the body with any breathing exercise. In fact, this can be dangerous. The best way to diagnose COVID-19 is to do an RT-PCR test or an Antigen test.