Eight myths about coronavirus and their refutation

Doctor and deputy Boris Mendelevich debunks common misconceptions about COVID-19

Eight myths about coronavirus and their refutation
Photo: Ilya Repin

The new coronavirus infection has caused a wave of fakes and myths in society. In his new column for Realnoe Vremya, State Duma Deputy from Tatarstan Boris Mendelevich debunks the most common myths about the virus and the relationship of society with it.

Myth #1. The coronavirus is no more dangerous than the common flu, which has a higher mortality rate

COVID-19 is the new coronavirus infection that, unlike the flu, has not yet been fully studied. It is this aspect that now complicates both the adoption of comprehensive preventive measures and the treatment itself.

Today, it is known that about half of those infected are asymptomatic. This means that the person does not know about the disease but is able to spread it. Another point — the virus on surfaces, according to various data, lives up to 3 days, which, of course, can significantly increase the number of infected. It is due to the insidiousness of its spread that the new coronavirus is much more dangerous than the flu.

Its complications are also terrible.

According to statistics, the number of deaths from the new coronavirus is 4-10 times higher than the mortality from flu viruses, and ranges from 1% to 5%, depending on the country. We can only get accurate data at the end of the epidemic.

But one thing is clear: the coronavirus is much more dangerous than the usual seasonal flu that humanity has recently faced.

Photo: Ilya Repin

Myth #2. Complications develop only in weakened patients, and they die from concomitant diseases

On the one hand, there is some truth in this statement. Indeed, in chronic patients, the immune system is weakened, and it is easier for the virus to attack it. But there is also the flip side.

Many chronic patients carefully monitor their health, go to doctors, and undergo regular examinations. This means that they know a lot about their body and its capabilities and strive to maintain health. At the same time, a healthy-looking person can also carry the beginnings of serious diseases, for the development of which the new coronavirus can become a catalyst. For example, such diseases include bronchial asthma, coronary heart disease, a number of autoimmune diseases, and others.

Medical statistics show that not only the elderly and chronic patients die from coronavirus. Young, healthy and active people are not immune from this. And everyone should remember this.

Photo: Ilya Repin

Myth #3. Lemons, ginger, bath, blueberries, sauerkraut, beaver jet and other folk remedies help to treat coronavirus

The human body in general and the immune system in particular is a complex system that is not built in one day. Our immune system has not yet been fully studied, but there are a number of established facts that allow us to say that the consumption of the above and other products is unlikely to dramatically help protect against infection, and even more so — to cure the disease that has begun.

Let me explain in more detail. It is proved that a person with a good immune system does not need additional interventions to maintain health. It is enough to follow a daily routine, eat a balanced diet, regularly exercise and include in your diet products with immunomodulatory effects, such as onions or garlic. But it should be understood that these products themselves do not protect anyone from coronavirus.

In case of the first signs of the disease, I recommend not to self-medicate and immediately consult a doctor.

Photo: Ilya Repin

Myth #4. Mortality statistics in Russia are underestimated

Indeed, there are similar opinions. Psychiatrists have even found a paradox. As a rule, the same people claim that the actual number of infected is greatly underestimated — and in parallel criticize restrictive measures, believing that people's life should not be stopped by measures such as self-isolation and quarantine.

Personally, I do not see the point of understating the statistics on mortality. Because, first of all, any doctor knows that even the body of a deceased person from coronavirus can become a source of infection. This means that it is dangerous to pass it on to relatives and friends. The second point: I don't see any practical arguments for this understatement.

Myth #5. Coronavirus is a biological weapon accidentally released, not a naturally mutated virus

In my opinion, this is from the field of conspiracy theories. I keep track of virologists' presentations and articles on this topic. At the moment, analysis of the genome of the virus itself and related other coronaviruses has not revealed any signs of artificial origin. There are other viruses in this group that cause diseases, but no one is talking about their artificial origin.

Myth #6. Smoking protects the body from coronavirus

This is one of the powerful myths that have been refuted by scientists and experts of the World Health Organization. The opposite is true.

The thing is that, as practice shows, coronavirus hits the lungs, and in smokers, their functions are already reduced. Therefore, the experience of smoking, on the contrary, makes it difficult for the body to fight infection.

Myth #7. Children do not get sick COVID-19 at all, they need to be released to playgrounds urgently

As these months of the pandemic have shown, the child's body is also susceptible to coronavirus. But unlike adults, they are most often ill without symptoms or with minimal difficulties to carry the disease. At the same time, children communicate with parents and grandparents who are at risk. And given the high ability of the virus to be transmitted from person to person, babies become a source of infection for the entire family.

Photo: Ilya Repin

I know that in many regions, including Tatarstan, visits to playgrounds are prohibited at the first stage of lifting restrictions. This is due to the fact that the virus lives on the surface for a long time, and an infected child can infect dozens of other people.

Myth #8. Restrictive measures are only needed to collect data about us, Big Brother is watching us, the iron curtain awaits us

There is also such a point of view. And even that the collection of data for electronic permits is an alternative to the population census and a method of further control of citizens in the police state.

But here's what I can say right now: it was the restrictive measures that helped the country avoid a sharp jump in the number of infected people, which eased the burden on hospitals and gave doctors time to prepare.

Yes, there are about 250,000 identified cases in Russia today. But this — in as much as 2 months. Imagine what would happen if such a number of patients, and most likely many times more, were admitted to medical institutions at the same time.

Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

None of the health care systems would be unable to cope with the influx. I am deeply convinced that only through restrictive measures have we managed to save the lives and health of thousands of people. As for permits, all the information about our phone number and passport is already in the databases of government agencies, so it was not necessary to enter such a sophisticated system.

By Boris Mendelevich