Fears regarding the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has led to a lot of rumors circulating online.
There are so many claims popping up each day that VERIFY is compiling a week’s worth of coronavirus fact-checks every Friday. That way, you can easily find every fact-check the team has made about the coronavirus every week.
Here are the fact-checks for the week of April 3:
Continue taking your asthma medication
Rumors claiming asthma medication like Nebulizers or inhalers make COVID-19 worse are false. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says getting your asthma under control is the most important thing you can do if you do have the virus. Since the symptoms of COVID-19 can worsen asthma, it’s important to continue taking your medication. You should not stop taking your medication without talking to your healthcare provider first.
COVID-19 death totals aren’t comparable to totals for other common causes of death
In attempts to downplay the severity of the virus outbreak, people have said that the number of COVID-19 deaths so far this year are far less than the number of deaths from other diseases, like the seasonal flu or HIV/AIDS. That is true so far based on estimates, but they aren’t really comparable.
COVID-19 deaths have been exponential, which essentially means each new day there are more deaths in that single day than there were the day before. Additionally, the worldwide death totals for different diseases and causes of deaths aren’t tracked on a weekly basis, they’re estimated at the end of the year or sometimes estimated every few years. That means you don’t for sure how many people have actually died at this point in the year to other causes of death.
Don’t wash your fruits and vegetables with soap
A family physician from Michigan made a video about safe grocery shopping that went viral. Much of the advice he gave was fine, but one thing he got wrong was his suggestion that you should soak fruits and vegetables in soapy water. That’s dangerous -- Dawn themselves say ingestion of their dish soap can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The doctor said he was editing the video to say not to use soap on produce after he spoke with food science experts.
Chiropractor on Instagram spreads false information
A chiropractor uploaded a video to Instagram where he downplayed the severity of COVID-19 by listing off incorrect ways to kill it and then mused about existing coronavirus patents. The video then spread to other social media platforms. The information in the video is correct; many of the methods of killing the virus that he listed have been debunked already. His questions about the patent have also been covered before -- they are for research and vaccines on other viruses in the coronavirus family, which includes viruses that cause the common cold, SARS and MERS.
The U.S. did send about 18 million tons of medical supplies to China in early February
It’s true that the United States sent China about 17.8 million tons of medical supplies to China in early February. However, it’s worth noting that contrary to many claims not all of it was personal protective equipment. Additionally, the State Department said those supplies were privately donated rather than from the public stockpile.
Malaria drug chloroquine has not been recommended as a treatment for COVID-19 yet
The malaria drug chloroquine is currently in clinical trials, but the FDA does not recommend its use as a treatment for COVID-19 as of yet. Even in clinical trials, the FDA does not believe it’s suitable for every patient. Its use was rolled back in China because of side effects.
While UV lamps can kill bacteria and viruses, they are not safe to use for yourself
UV lights are often used to sterilize airplanes and hospitals. However, this is often done by robots or machines so it can be done away from humans. This is because exposure can cause skin cancer or cataracts. So don’t try to use one yourself -- especially on your skin. You can’t really use sunlight to kill the virus either, but that’s because it simply doesn’t work. The WHO addresses both of these claims on their Myth Busters page.
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