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14 misconceptions about coronavirus

As the new coronavirus continues to infect people all over the world, news and social media posts about this virus are also spreading on the internet. In particular, the information pollution in the precautions to be taken against the disease and the advice given to avoid getting sick also prevents people from reaching the right information.

Bayındır Kavaklıdere Hospital Infectious Diseases Specialist, who stated that only sources with proven scientific competence should be trusted against the information pollution experienced. Dr. Levent Doğancı warns about the well-known misconceptions against the disease.

Very likely to originate from bats

COVID-19 virus is a mutated virus and is very likely to originate from bats in nature. Contrary to popular belief, its ability to be a biological warfare microbe is illogical. It is necessary to see the fact that a biological agent, 80% of which is asymptomatic or does not show a lethal effect on the young population with few symptoms, cannot be a very effective offensive weapon, given that the “military society” consists of young people aged 18-25.

In any case, no country in the world can stray from reason and logic enough to use a biological weapon without hesitation, which may return to the source country without knowing its protective vaccine and treatment, and which may expose itself to an economic, administrative and social problem. Could it be a lab accident? Although we do not know the answer to the question exactly, the starting point of the epidemic in the People’s Republic of China is a region where more wild animal meat (such as bats, mice, snakes) is consumed, the same virus has been seen in wild animals, as well as bio-safety laboratories working with live viruses. We can say that this probability is also very weak due to reasons such as being kept under very strict control.

It is transmitted by respiratory secretions

As in respiratory tract infections, transmission in Covid-19 occurs through respiratory secretions and is called droplet contamination. When people talk, they cough and sneeze and spread respiratory secretions in the form of tiny droplets of liquid into the air. These droplets larger than 5 microns hang in the air for a very short time. It then descends to the surfaces and can remain contagious for a while on these inanimate surfaces.

Surface cleaning and washing hands prevent the spread of these contagious droplets remaining on the surface. On the other hand, the suspended droplets (liquid particles as small as 1-2 microns) dispersed in dental treatments with aether and interventional medical procedures such as bronchoscopy increase the possibility of polluting indoor spaces with the breeze. Therefore, dental treatments (where an aerator should be used) need to be postponed for a while.

Treatment routes

Viruses do not die with the wide variety of antibiotics we know. It is extremely easy to destroy viruses in the external environment, where we produce them in laboratories (which can be living cell culture or living egg cell membranes), with various drugs or substances added to the environment. This is what we call in-vitro. That is, out-of-body production. Anti-viral drugs are needed to destroy viruses in-vivo. While these drugs do not harm human (or animal) tissues, organs or cells, they provide healing by destroying the virus.

Acyclovir used in herpes virus, oseltamivir used in influenza virus, many anti-virals used in HIV have this effect. However, a COVID-19 specific drug is currently experimental. Their knowledge is not sufficient for their activities. However, there are anti-viral and immune response regulating drugs that can be used at the experimental stage, and it is understood from the case reports that positive results are obtained and they facilitate the exit from the intensive care unit by reducing the duration of the disease.

Scientific interpretation of drug efficacy and clinical laboratory results on thousands of patients is required in order to show that treatment models are useful in a disease such as COVID-19 that may result in 80-85% recovery. This situation will present with the difficulty of interpretation experienced in another epidemic (as in the interaction of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever-Ribavirin). In this case, it would be useful to look at the guidelines of scientific organizations such as WHO or CDC for treatment decisions. In fact, CCHF also produces a cytokine storm, similar to the COVID-19 disease. However, the tissues and organs that our immune system targets and damages are different.

Misconceptions about coronavirus

– Liquids such as garlic water, alcohol, salt water, various antiseptic mouthwashes or application to the nasal mucosa is definitely not protective. These applications may disrupt the integrity of the mucosa and facilitate the attachment of viruses to cells in these regions.

– The information that vitamin drugs, various nutritional supplements and herbal products strengthen the immune system is completely wrong. In our normal physiological state, this system stays in full balance, no drug or substance has an immune-enhancing effect. Because an overworked immune system invites auto-immune disease group. Good nutrition, good sleep and rest, avoiding smoking, tobacco products and excessive alcohol, keeping our mental state pleasant, avoiding excessive mental tension are essential for a balanced immune system.

– Hot application, sauna, humidity or cold application cannot destroy viruses. Viruses die at 56C, but at this temperature, the proteins inside our own cells are also denatured, leading to the death of our cells.

– COVID-19 also has the potential to make people sick in very cold or very hot regions. The disease is less common, as these regions are areas of little social intimacy and fewer people live (Deserts, tropical forests, extremes of Alaska and Siberia, arctic).

– Living cells are absolutely necessary for viruses to survive. The possibility of contamination by cargo or various products purchased remotely is very low, or even impossible.

– Keeping products from COVID-19, which can survive on plastic, steel, cardboard in a short time, outside the home for 1-2 hours is sufficient to eliminate the possibility of contamination, especially the products that come with grocery shopping. Disinfecting these products can also be risky as some disinfectants are toxic.

– It is wrong to rely on the protection of the mask. By staying at home, we need to protect the one and a half meters that we call social distance, and perform social intimacy actions such as hugging, shaking hands and kissing.

– It is known that masks and surgical gloves do not protect people and may pose a greater risk to other people.

– Masks should be used for patients with fever or respiratory symptoms (such as cough, sneezing, runny nose, sputum production) to protect other non-patients. More importantly, masks that can isolate viruses such as N-95 should only be kept for healthcare personnel who give intensive care to these patients or perform procedures.

– It will be a risk to other people if a person wearing gloves feels safer by thinking that they are protected and touching everywhere with dirty gloves. Washing hands frequently with soap and water for 30-60 seconds is sufficient.

– Malaria drugs, drinks containing tonic water, drugs containing quinine are never protective. Their use poses a risk to public health in terms of encountering side-effect problems.

– A special drug used in malaria and some rheumatic diseases is included in the treatment protocols of COVID-19 patients who have caused lung damage. If this particular drug is used incorrectly as a preservative, it can weaken the immune system and increase the likelihood of the disease.

– Our pets or stray animals have no role in transmitting this coronavirus, which has gained the ability to transmit from person to person.

– Extremely speculative numbers about death rates in the epidemic increase our social panic. Let’s point out right away that the real fatality (death) rate can be accurately determined by measuring the social immunity. This period is 7-8 months according to the best estimates. Towards the end of the year, the measurement of specific IgG antibodies to COVID-19 in very crowded populations exposed to the disease, the proportion of those who have had the disease without symptoms, and the number of recovered patients to the number of patients ending in death will give us the real death rates. It wouldn’t be surprising if this rate is far below the current rate.

Things to do

– Stay at home as much as possible, don’t go out unless necessary.

– Do not go to hospitals and healthcare facilities unless necessary and in an emergency.

– Postpone your routine health problems.

– Protect your elders (65+). Isolate them from the community and from yourself and other household members if you have to get them in and out of the house.

– Do not believe and spread the accuracy of every information you hear from your relatives or read on the internet.

– Do not waste your economic power with unnecessary precautions.

– Don’t panic and do things that will relax your soul.

– Take care of your mental and physical hygiene.

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