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Fake news is spreading alongside the coronavirus, as nonsense cures are doing the rounds. Coughs and sneezes may spread diseases, but so does clickbait. Beware!
As the Wuhan Coronavirus spreads around the world, so too does a plethora of fake news surrounding the novel virus.
Currently, conspiracy theorists are using the coronavirus as an opportunity to push a dangerous concoction that contains 28% bleach has been previously (and incorrectly) touted as a cure to malaria, some types of cancer and autism.
Proponents of the MMS (short for “miracle mineral solution”) are claiming that this bleach cocktail can prevent and cure the Wuhan coronavirus. The FDA has warned that not only is there no known cure for the virus, but that the sodium chlorite solution, when ingested, comes with great consequences including but not limited to liver failure and dangerously low blood pressure.
QAnon conspiracy theorists are among the promoters of MMS and falsely claim that it works because it is made up of compounds that supposedly destroy pathogens but don’t harm healthy tissue. Public health officials have been looking to suppress the sales of MMS as well as the misinformation paired with it since the beginning of last decade. The current state of affairs, however, is making it quite difficult and the scare tactics employed are perpetuating the fad.
Dog owners in China are scrambling to source face masks for their dogs amid the epidemic after one of China’s top infectious disease experts warned that pets could potentially contract the virus.
According to the Daily Mail, dog owners in China are scrambling to source face masks for their dogs amid the epidemic after one of China’s top infectious disease experts warned that pets could potentially contract the virus. However, the World Health Organisation is not convinced, citing that there have been no reports of domestic animals contracting it, nor does evidence exist that the novel Wuhan coronavirus can be passed onto domestic animals.
China isn’t the only country preparing their furry family members for the virus. Good Air Team, the USA company that produces the K9 Mask, has experienced a sharp increase in domestic sales over the past week, to the point where their inventory ran dry.
Not only is it unproven that pets can contract the virus; it might also be futile. Andres Romero, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Providence Saint John’s Health Centre in California, told Health that “…based on the currently available information, we can’t say surgical masks help prevent contracting coronavirus,” and this is in large part due to the fact that it isn’t yet known exactly how the coronavirus is transmitted.
When sharing information online, it is your responsibility to evaluate the source it came from; make sure the source is reputable and that the information was gathered correctly, whether that means checking the references, checking that they are an authority on the matter, looking for a meaningful sample size, etc.
When it comes to the issue of the novel Wuhan Coronavirus, your best bet is to turn to the World Health Organisation and the Australian Government Department of Health. Often, others will read/share research out of context, not understanding how the numbers were gathered or how they should be interpreted.