FACT CHECK: Coronavirus Not Transmitted By Air, Killed By Sun?

FACT CHECK: Coronavirus Not Transmitted By Air, Killed By Sun?

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Winston Wang
Democrat
Managing Editor
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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False.

With every news cycle regarding the coronavirus, more specifically COVID-19 comes rounds of myths and false claims.

Trending on popular Facebook messenger Whatsapp is a new message, purportedly from UNICEF, claiming to provide tips to prevent the virus.

The message reads:


Unicef has issued the followings on COVID 19:

1.Corona virus is large in size where the cell diameter is 400-500 micro and for this reason any mask prevents its entry so there is no need to use pharmacists to trade muzzles;

2. The virus does not settle in the air but is grounded, so it is not transmitted by air;

3. Coronavirus when it falls on a metal surface, it will live 12 hours, so washing hands with soap and water well enough.

4. Corona virus when it falls on the fabric remains 9 hours, so washing clothes or being exposed to the sun for two hours meets the purpose of killing it;

5. The virus lives on the hands for 10 minutes, so putting an alcohol sterilizer in the pocket meets the purpose of prevention;

6. If the virus is exposed to a temperature of 26-27 ° C. it will be killed, as it does not live in hot regions. Also drinking hot water and sun exposure will do the trick;

7. And stay away from ice cream and eating cold is important;

8. Gargle with warm and salt water kills the tonsils’ germs and prevents them from leaking into the lungs; Adherence to these instructions fulfills the purpose of preventing viruses.

*UNICEF*

This message is false and there is no such record of UNICEF issuing such a message. We have reached out to UNICEF for a comment and will update this if they reply.

UNICEF’s current recommendations for preventing COVID-19 are:

  1. Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub 
  2. Cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue, when coughing or sneezing, and throw away the tissue into a closed bin
  3. Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms
  4. Seek medical care early if you or your child has a fever, cough or difficulty breathing

Furthermore, many of the claims in the message are also false or misleading. Here, we break it down.

1. Corona virus is large in size where the cell diameter is 400-500 micro and for this reason, any mask prevents its entry so there is no need to use pharmacists to trade muzzles

The COVID-19 absolutely not large in size and the CDC recommends that those who will be in extended contact with those who have the virus use a N95 mask at minimum. The N95 can filter out 95 percent of particles that have a diameter of 0.3 microns, or micrometers. According to the CDC and other various disease control agencies, normal surgical and face mask are not effective in preventing the virus.

Furthermore, according to the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet, the COVID-19 virus has a viron (single virus) diameter of 50–200 nanometers, or 0.05 to 0.2 microns, not 400-500.

2. The virus does not settle in the air but is grounded, so it is not transmitted by air

This statement is also downright false. Respirators are used for the reason that the virus can be transmitted by air. According to the CDC, the virus can be transmitted by “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.”


3. Coronavirus when it falls on a metal surface, it will live 12 hours, so washing hands with soap and water well enough.

While studies regarding this are still in progress, a paper published by The Journal of Hospital Infection found that similar coronavirus stands like MERS and SARS can persist on surfaces for up to 9 days, depending on factors like temperature and humidity, with the virus average 4-5 days on various surfaces. Generally, scientists say these statistics can be transferable to the COVID-19, which has similar characteristics.

In case this, this statement is somewhat accurate, though the virus can persist longer. As always, maintaining good hygiene is a must.

4. Corona virus when it falls on the fabric remains 9 hours, so washing clothes or being exposed to the sun for two hours meets the purpose of killing it

As stated above, the lifespan of the COVID=19 virus on inanimate surfaces is still under study and unclear. While increasing the temperature of the object did decrease the viral lifespan, there is no specific evidence or study at this time that says sunlight will kill the virus in two hours. According to an article that cites several Chinese health experts, increased heat does reduce the lifespan of the virus on surfaces, but does not decrease its infectivity.


Therefore, trusting the sunlight will kill the coronavirus is very unreliable and not recommended.

5. The virus lives on the hands for 10 minutes, so putting an alcohol sterilizer in the pocket meets the purpose of prevention

At this point, there is also no conclusive study that states the survival period of the coronavirus on your hands. However, the CDC does say that using alcohol-based hand sanitizers with more than 60% alcohol is effective. However, it’s recommended to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds for best prevention.

6. If the virus is exposed to a temperature of 26-27 ° C. it will be killed, as it does not live in hot regions. Also drinking hot water and sun exposure will do the trick

While higher temperatures do decrease the virus’s survival time, it will not be killed immediately and can persist in hot regions. Drinking hot water and sun exposure has not shown to be effective. Sun exposure and drinking water boosts your vitamin D and immune system respectively, but there is no specific effect of hot water or sun exposure on the coronavirus. A fact check by China Daily found that “sun exposure cannot kill the novel coronavirus.”


7. And stay away from ice cream and eating cold is important

There is also no evidence not eating cold foods will prevent the coronavirus. The Harvard Health Blog called preventing the coronavirus by modifying your diet “useless.”

8. Gargle with warm and salt water kills the tonsils’ germs and prevents them from leaking into the lungs

As we covered in our fact check about drinking water to prevent the coronavirus, Dr. Belk, an internist said that “It’s simply not possible to “wash” all potential viruses entering your mouth or nose into your stomach. Viruses infect people by latching onto, then infecting target cells in our bodies. They do this quickly and effectively. A sip of water, or even a big gulp of water, won’t stop them from doing what they’re naturally programmed to do. “

The coronavirus is a respiratory disease and targets the lungs, not the throat or tonsil. It’s transmitted by inhaling droplets that contain the virus into your lungs. Gargling water won’t affect your lungs and kill the virus.

A similar claim that “advises readers to clean their throat three times per day with betadine, a topical antiseptic, to prevent or minimize risk of the virus entering the lung through the throat” was refuted by Dr. Ashan Pathirana, Sri Lanka’s Health Promotion Bureau Registrar to the AFP.

Coronavirus Questions? Let Us Answer Them

Read more:

FACT CHECK: Taking Colloidal Silver Prevent Coronavirus?

FACT CHECK: Drinking Water Can Wash Away and Prevent Coronavirus?

This is part of our ongoing series to help fight coronavirus misinformation by temporarily fact-checking related claims. While we are not an IFCN signatory, we are committed to the truth and source all claims to reliable sources.

Content from The Bipartisan Press. All Rights Reserved.


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COMMENTS (5)

  • comment-avatar
    Ankur M March 6, 2020

    Thanks for spreading awareness.
    Who is benefitted from spreading such message on whatsapp? Could this be initiated by whatsapp/Facebook, to increase their network traffic?

    • comment-avatar

      The chance that it’s spread by WhatsApp is very, very unlikely.

      More so, it’s most likely due to friends/family spreading it trying to spread awareness but not realizing it’s false

  • comment-avatar

    I dont think there is anything misleading to the people, If the precautions says eat dirty food, shake dirty hands, dont clean yourself, stay in dirt , when someone cough stay close to them… that make it seems like false… as the precautions are safe so we can take them serious and try to follow what we can and try to avoid what we cant..

  • comment-avatar

    Why don’t you spread useful information instead of trying to keep everyone in fear? Tell the people what the chances% are of getting the virus . What temperature does kill the virus ?? What are the %chances of someone healthy dying from the virus??Is there a way to get tested? Where can someone get tested ?? Explain more about the decrease in virus lifespan caused by higher temperatures. Stop spreading fear and confusion.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve Collins April 13, 2020

    I’m not sure why you wasted the effort on this particular piece of drivel. The poor writing, grammar, sentence structure and wording make it obvious that it is bogus.

    One correction to your comments regarding Item 4 in the listing regarding sunlight. The action of sunlight in disinfection is not through heat, rather it is through the ionizing and DNA/RNA damaging effects of the UV radiation that is part of the solar spectrum. There are some “myth busting” sites that are claiming that sunlight will not kill the SAR-Co2 corona virus, but I just finished reviewing several scientific journal articles that attest that sunlight is an effective disinfection.

    The duration of time exposure is quite variable based primarily upon seasonal variations in sunlight. In New York City for instance, the intensity of UV light from the sun is 10 times what it is in December. UV disinfection can take several hours, but it is effective for many bacteria and viruses (including some corona viruses), though I haven’t found any studies yet on the specific SAR-Co2 virus that is causing the Covid-19 infections.