Page update at 09:20 September 10th 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
myths, busted

There’s one thing on everyone’s mind at the moment: the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Unfortunately, this also means that there are a lot of rumors and myths going around. We’ve created a list of commonly-shared myths, debunked and clarified by Babylon doctors.

Myth 1 - The coronavirus is man-made.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is a zoonotic virus. This means that it originated from an animal. It’s likely to have jumped the species barrier to humans. This process is probably how the virus that causes COVID-19 came about. It was not made in a lab.

Myth 2 - Hand sanitizers don't work to kill coronavirus.

Although this is true for a few strains of viruses, like the norovirus (or “cruise ship virus”) that causes diarrhea, that’s not the case with coronavirus. Using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will kill the coronavirus. Use the hand sanitizer properly by following the CDC’s recommendations.

Myth 3 - Pets can transmit the virus too.

There is no evidence that the virus which causes COVID-19 can be transmitted by pets. That being said, we are still in the early stages of this pandemic, and scientists are keeping a close eye on things like this. To be on the safe side, wash your hands thoroughly after petting or handling any animals.

Myth 4 - Heat, applied to the skin or taking a hot bath will kill the virus.

Once a virus is in your body, it is up to your immune system to kill it off. Hot baths and hot drinks cannot reach or kill the virus — it lives inside cells in your body. Your body regulates its temperature very carefully and won’t allow it to raise much in response to outside stimulus. The best way to kill the virus if you may have come into contact with it on your skin is to wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, both in accordance with the CDC’s guidelines.

Myth 5 - You can prevent the virus spreading by gargling bleach.

Gargling bleach can cause irritation of your mouth and food pipe, sometimes even leading to internal burns. There is also no evidence that regularly gargling with anything (whether it be bleach, hot drinks, or plain water) will prevent you from being infected by the coronavirus. Disinfecting non-porous surfaces with bleach can be helpful to stop the spread of coronavirus. Follow the directions on the bleach packaging to ensure you’re using it safely.

Myth 6 - Eating garlic will help prevent you from catching coronavirus.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet with fruit and vegetables (including garlic) is always a good idea, but there is no evidence that eating garlic will prevent you from getting COVID-19.