Inaccuracies and conspiracy theories about the mockery of what we can do
What is a virus, what do we know about them and why are they so resistant?
The global turmoil over the outbreak of the new coronavirus epidemic SARS-CoV 2 from China and deadly infection Covid-19 has put several countries on a "red alert". Thousands are dead and more than 1 billion citizens are quarantined. Conditions we may never have imagined we would ever face.
Logically, in situations like these, the emergency comes with a wave of misinformation or deliberate misinformation and collective paranoia. A climate in which conspiracy theories and unscientific myths thrive. Misconceptions that are transmitted by word of mouth (or from screen to screen if we consider the internet as part of the collective) and acquire outrageous dimensions. At dangerous points when dealing with public health issues. It example of Great Britain it is revealing.
Also the recent example in Greece and the encouragement, or rather the non-prevention, of the official Church of Greece to the faithful to use the same utensil to receive, is indicative. After a few weeks however the state took matters into its own hands by suspending mass religious ceremonies.
Below you will outline the inaccuracies that have been circulating out there lately in relation to the coronavirus epidemic, the mode of transmission and self-protection measures. We will also try to record what we know about viruses in general and what is it that makes them resistant.
Inaccuracies, myths and answers (according to what we know so far)
It is not very easy to give answers to such delicate questions, of a scientific nature as those concerning the coronavirus. This is because even the scientists themselves are quite "collected" in terms of their statements and how confident they appear in the evolution of the spread of SARS-Cov-2.
At Italy On Tuesday, March 10, it was announced that unnecessary travel is prohibited throughout the country in order to limit the spread of the epidemic. Neighboring countries, of course, along with Spain and France, are facing a real tsunami of deaths on a daily basis. The images of military vehicles in Bergamo carrying corpses that did not fit in the city and were transported elsewhere for cremation are creepy..
That particular announcement about the travel ban caused a raid on supermarkets by citizens who realize that they will be placed in compulsory quarantine.
In front of these scenes that we watched and continue to watch daily from the neighboring country (and while the victims on 23/3 were close to 6.000) let us highlight some important points:
"Virus is man-made": In recent days, the paraphilology that the coronavirus was made as a bio-weapon in a Chinese laboratory from which there was a leak has become more widespread. This logic is interspersed with catastrophic scenarios of targeted killing of vulnerable groups to reduce costs and population.
Experts from both China and the West have refuted this theory from the outset, trying to pinpoint the exact source of the coronavirus strain.
Information wants the original strain to be found on the bench and others on bats. Also each conspiracy theory is successful precisely because it steps on the inability of experts to give convincing and simplistic answers to critical questions.
This is how "Mr. Microsoft » Bill Gates. In 2015, Gates warned of the danger of a pandemic. Even US newspapers published articles that reported that Gates paid for an experiment that would make the entire population of the planet sick, so that he and his subordinates could then command the antidote.
"Masks have no value": Certainly a mask is not the inaccessible shield. However, because the virus does not exist in the air alone but flies in droplets that fall to surfaces after one meter, then it is considered a first precautionary measure for both those who are sick and those who want to be protected.
In any case, if you have to move constantly, to enter MMM, public places, schools, universities, cafes, restaurants, gyms, stadiums, etc., it is considered unlikely that you can effectively protect yourself with just a simple pharmacy mask.
At the moment in Greece there is a ban on useless travel, but this does not mean that all travel has been banned.
"5G networks are responsible for the coronavirus": Fake news hit new technologies as well. How it could be done and otherwise you will tell me.
Thousands of anonymous and branded people daily post on the internet that the development of the new network is related to the spread of SARS-Cov-2.
According to one version, five weeks before the first cases, the 5G network was launched in Wuhan.
Other conspiracy theorists claim that the cruise ship Diamond Princess has technology 5G, that is why 696 of his passengers fell ill.
"Coronavirus is no more dangerous than seasonal flu": The vast majority of SARS-Cov-2 patients will have mild flu symptoms. What worries scientists is the rate of increase in deaths.
Experts who visited the affected areas of Hubei province to investigate how the Chinese authorities dealt with the outbreak found that "we do not only see the tip of the iceberg."
According to the data so far, the mortality from the virus seems to be stronger in relation to the seasonal flu. About 290.000 to 650.000 people die from seasonal flu. The data concerning him coronavirus show that this number can be exceeded.
"It only kills the older ones, the younger ones can relax": Most people who do not belong to the vulnerable groups due to age will not face serious problems if they get sick. THE virus but it leads to more severe respiratory symptoms than the common flu. There are groups of younger citizens who can get sick more easily than others. And these are the public servants and the health workers.
The experts' suggestion is "no havoc, no panic". Younger people with symptoms should isolate themselves to protect other vulnerable groups.
"If you are close to a patient for less than 10 minutes you do not get stuck"Hospital guidelines for the flu state that someone is considered exposed when they are 2 meters away from someone who coughs or sneezes for ten minutes or more.
With coronavirus, however, it is possible for someone to get stuck with less time or physical contact (and inhaling microparticles is physical contact) than 10 minutes. Even from contaminated surfaces. Although this mode of transmission is considered less likely.
"The virus mutates and becomes more deadly": After the initial transmission of the coronavirus, the original strain evolved into a new type and since then both strains have been transmitted to humans. Chinese scientists reported that the most aggressive strain (L) spreads faster and is responsible for about 70% of cases, while the least aggressive strain (S), which is responsible for the remaining cases, seems to be the original strain. Aggressive strain L was found to predominate in the outbreak of the Wuhan epidemic, but in early January it began to lose ground and become more often the milder strain S.
Scientists in the West, however, say the findings are interesting but too early.
What do we know about viruses in general?
We could consider the flu and them coronaviruses (SARS, SARS-Cov-2, MERS) as a "synergy" of proteins and lipids.
They are transmitted from person to person through physical contact and can survive in the droplets contained in human cough or sneezing. Droplets which can then survive on hard surfaces.
Exogenous factors can degrade the course of a virus's life when it is outside the human body. For example, the alcohol contained in hand antiseptics makes the virus more unstable.
Viruses occur mainly in the winter months. This fact has some explanations according to scientists. Some believe that they are thriving at this time because the population is concentrated indoors in search of heat. So the transmission of viruses is easier.
Another explanation states that the droplets containing the virus in the cold and dry air are transported faster and farther.
Research in both experimental animals and in real conditions has shown that warm and humid environments do not allow viruses to spread. Scientists report that in the winter months the lack of moisture destroys the nasal secretions of people. Secretions that are the first level of defense along with the mouth in terms of exogenous factors entering the body. Dry air makes the secretions less effective at trapping and eliminating virus strains.
Ian Lipkin, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Columbia University, examined coronaviruses and commented that sunlight could be a powerful weapon against viruses.
"Ultraviolet radiation breaks down nucleic acid. Almost sterilizes surfaces. "Outdoors are generally cleaner simply because of UV radiation."