Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim to offer expert advice on the novel coronavirus, including symptoms, prevention and how it spreads. This is misleading; experts and health agencies say there is not enough research on the virus to make these specific claims.

The posts — which have been distributed by various users copying and pasting it — is made up of 14 points on the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, all allegedly provided by the uncle of a friend “who worked in Shenzhen Hospital (Guangdong Province, China).” The post has been shared in Canada, the United States and Britain, but several of the claims it makes are inaccurate.

What are the myths?

Common cold vs novel coronavirus symptoms

The Facebook posts warn readers that having a runny nose and sputum means the patient has a common cold, while the novel coronavirus manifests itself as pneumonia featuring a dry cough and no runny nose. This is false.

Virus resilience on various surfaces and temperatures

According to the post, the novel coronavirus dies at temperatures above 26/27 degrees, but it can survive for five to 10 minutes on someone’s hand, six to 12 hours on fabric, and 12 hours on metal. However, medical experts have not made such specific claims about the new virus. The CDC states on its novel coronavirus information page: “It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19.”

Drinking water

The posts also claim that “drinking warm water is effective for all viruses,” say people should avoid drinking water with ice, and advise drinking plenty of water in general. Water temperature is not a factor when it comes to hydration. Brown told AFP that there is “no need to change the temperature of your drinking water,” while adding that, “drinking water is always important, not just for coronavirus prevention.”

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?

Symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. Health Canada also said that certain patients may have little to no symptoms, and people may not know if they have symptoms of the virus “because they are similar to a cold or a flu.”

Also read: Coronavirus: A nightmare for world’s economy


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