CORRECTING COVID-19 MISINFORMATION

Corona Virus

Information about COVID-19 (also referred to as coronavirus disease) is released on a daily basis as scientists, medical professionals, and public health experts learn more about the virus and the disease. Unfortunately, a lot of rumors, unconfirmed statements, and misinformation also circulates and often goes viral. Sutliff & Stout, PLLC wants to help you separate fact from fiction and provide you with reliable information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this article, we’ll look at things you may have heard about prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

1. Drinking Water Regularly Can Prevent COVID-19

You may have seen a viral post describing how drinking water every 15 minutes and keeping our mouths and throats moist can prevent COVID-19 because it will wash the virus into your stomach where it will be killed by your stomach acid.

There are a few reasons why this doesn’t make any sense.

  • The virus can enter people’s bodies through several pathways. Viral particles entering through the mouth is just one of them. Infections can also start from exposure through the nose or eyes (which is why experts are telling people to avoid touching their faces). Drinking water would have no effect on those other pathways.
  • The mouth is not considered to be the main way that the virus transmits from person to person. The main risk comes from breathing in tiny droplets containing viral particles that are put out into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • The idea that stomach acid will kill COVID-19 viral particles is not supported by evidence. In fact, scientists are instead looking into whether the COVID-19 virus can infect the digestive tract.[1]

2. Warm Weather or Sunlight Will Kill Off COVID-19

Another claim that has been making the rounds has to do with temperature. The claim that warm weather or sunlight can destroy the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 has been made a number of times. Unfortunately, there is little to no scientific evidence to support these assertions.

  • While warmer weather could slow down the disease, we do not have enough evidence to be able to predict how COVID-19 will behave over an entire season. Experts do not believe that warm weather will be enough to completely eliminate the disease.[2]
  • There is no evidence that sunlight can kill the COVID-19 coronavirus. In fact UNICEF has debunked the claim.[3] Some may find this believable because high-intensity ultraviolet (UV) light can kill some viruses. However, the UV in sunlight is not intense enough to destroy the COVID-19 virus or cure someone with COVID-19.[4]

3. Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine Can Treat COVID-19

A small study out of France indicated that chloroquine or a closely related drug, hydroxychloroquine, would be effective in treating COVID-19. However, people should not rush out to find these substances to treat themselves. Not only may these drugs eventually be shown to be ineffective at best, if taken without a physician’s supervision, they are potentially harmful and the current hoarding is causing indirect harm to others who need the substances to treat conditions unrelated to COVID-19.

  • While experts agree that the two substances should be studied further, they have warned the public that they should not be rushing out to obtain these drugs and physicians should not be writing prescriptions for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine.[5]
  • The original study has been criticized for being small and poorly designed.[6]
  • A second study produced results demonstrating that chloroquine is no better than regular care at treating COVID-19.[7]
  • Not only is there no reliable evidence that chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are effective in treating COVID-19, the drugs can be have very dangerous side effects and in some cases, lead to death.[8]
  • Because of the rush of people trying to get these drugs, there are now shortages and patients who require these drugs for other conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, are unable to fill their prescriptions.[9]

[1] https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200319-covid-19-will-drinking-water-keep-you-safe-from-coronavirus

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-cases-flu-like-drop-linked-with-high-heat-humidity-2020-3

[3] https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/11/facebook-posts/sun-exposure-does-not-kill-coronavirus/

[4] https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/20/greg-murphy/no-sunlight-has-not-been-proven-kill-coronavirus/

[5] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-pharmacies/states-work-to-limit-prescriptions-of-potential-coronavirus-drugs-idUSKBN2190XC

[6] https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/489679-what-is-chloroquine-and-will-it-cure-coronavirus

[7] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-25/hydroxychloroquine-no-better-than-regular-covid-19-care-in-study

[8] https://www.popsci.com/story/health/chloroquine-coronavirus-treatment-drugs/

[9] https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/insane-many-scientists-lament-trump-s-embrace-risky-malaria-drugs-coronavirus

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