Coronavirus: Separating fake news from truth

Just because a person might not be coughing or running a high fever does not mean there is no infection.

By World Israel News Staff

With the world practically shutting down due to the dangers of catching coronavirus, the truth about the deadly virus can often mix with fiction.

To help protect from unnecessary fear, Euronews spoke over the weekend to Morgan Gaia, a researcher on the co-evolution of viruses and cells at the French public research group CEA.

Created in a lab?

False. This is a conspiracy theory because viruses play a regulatory role in nature.

“When we reduce the distance between the natural world and the human world, when we leave so little space for wild animal and plant species, we encourage viruses that are natural to other species to be transferred to human beings,” he said.

There are two main conspiracy theories, saying the coronavirus originated in a top-level Chinese research laboratory, a report by Vox says.

One rumor accuses China of trying to develop a secret bioweapon, and another suggests the novel coronavirus “leaked” out from the lab due to poor safety precautions.

Age makes a difference

True. Statistically, severe coronavirus symptoms are more prevalent in the elderly. Many people believe it is related to the immune system, as often older people have weaker immune systems.

Still, this does not mean younger people can’t become seriously ill from the coronavirus.

A 22-year-old Israeli coronavirus patient, with no preexisting medical conditions, was placed on life support on Friday.

Further research is still needed to determine why age makes a difference.

Symptoms means infection

False. Just because a person might not be coughing or running a high fever does not mean there is no infection. In fact, many researchers believe the rapid spread of coronavirus has been primarily caused by asymptomatic people.

The U.S. government seems to be adopting this approach.

In a Saturday press briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, said that even though the full scope of how asymptomatic coronavirus effects transmission is not yet understood, it is important for Americans to know there is a risk.

Once immune, always immune

False. Some viruses, such as chickenpox, generally won’t reappear again because the body generally gets a lifetime supply of anti-bodies after recovery. But viruses that affect the respiratory system, such as colds, keep reappearing because immunity from them lasts only a short time.

Popular Science explains there are four different common types of influenza that display the same types of symptoms, such as chills, cough, body aches, and mucus.

Unfortunately, the anti-bodies from one type of strain won’t help fight off the other type.

Warm weather kills it

Unknown. It’s possible that warmer weather will slow down the contagion like many other viruses, but there is not enough evidence yet to confirm the theory.

A study quoted by BBC suggests a link between the spread of the virus and seasonal temperatures based on the weather in 500 locations around the world where coronavirus cases have been reported.

Breathing transfers coronavirus

Unknown. It is not clear if coronavirus is transmitted only by saliva droplets in the air or also by the breath of an infected person.

“We know that the main routes of entry are saliva, nasal excretions like cough and sneezing, and hand contact with a contaminated surface,” Gaia said.

According to the parameters laid out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronavirus only seems to spread “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”

Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences, sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday claiming coronavirus can be transmitted through breathing, reports CNN.

“While the current [coronavirus] specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing,” Fineberg wrote, as quoted by CNN.