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4 Coronavirus Myths Causing Unnecessary Alarm

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4 Coronavirus Myths Causing Unnecessary Alarm

A few weeks into the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization warned not of an epidemic but of a “massive infodemic.” A deluge of media reports flooded consumers with information that blended the true and the false.

The WHO said the threat “makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” The environment has made the new coronavirus all the more dangerous and prompted WHO to establish an around-the-clock media operation to monitor and correct misinformation.

Here are some myths that have been debunked:

There Are More Infections Than Reports Suggest

Early into the outbreak, unofficial vlogs by Chinese residents claimed domestic incidence rates beyond 90,000. The WHO has recorded no more than 76,000 worldwide cases since it began to monitor the spread.

Some global media outlets have propagated falsehoods about the scope of the virus, noting spread to most nations across every continent. WHO has tracked cases in just 26 countries. The Sun, The Daily Mail and multiple Australian news outlets incorrectly interpreted a map of global flight routes as conveying the course of infection.

It’s A Conspiracy

Some have theorized on social media that COVID-19 was an institutional mechanism for population control or a genetically engineered weapon maliciously deployed by spies.

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) and Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google have been working to remove content peddling this misinformation.

"The evidence we have is that the mutations [in the virus] are completely consistent with natural evolution,” coronavirus investigator Trevor Bedford told The Financial Times.

Vaccines Exist

Accompanying the conspiracy theories are claims that existing vaccines are being withheld from vulnerable populations. In fact, there are no existing vaccines for COVID-19.

All patents for coronavirus vaccines exclusively preeent other strains, like SARS and MERS, according to FactCheck.org.

Treatments Exist

Not only are there no vaccines, but there are also no therapies.

One far-right group recommends what is effectively a form of bleach, and one naturopath promotes a silver solution, but health authorities reject these alternatives as ineffective and unsafe.

As of Feb. 5, WHO the reported no effective treatments — artificial or natural — for COVID-19.

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