Friday, September 29, 2023

Covid-19 Advice Which is Really Lies

There is a lot of misinformation being shared on social media.

Misinformation is things which are not true, which are presented as though they are true, often with falsified credentials, or little bits of truth to make them seem more believable.

The spreading of unchecked information is always dangerous for one reason or another.  It can change the outcome of an election, or create a food trend which damages the environment by pretending to be eco-conscious, and in this case it can convince people to do things which will actually put people at risk and may lead to deaths due to doing the wrong things to protect oneself.

Journalists ought to check everything.  That doesn’t always happen, especially with mass media which aims to get people to click a headline which preys on a fear.  We don’t do that.  We’ll call them lies.

The following advice is being shared on social media, most of them have been shared with the lying claim that “a doctor said this”,  and they are all lies.

Drink the virus
  • CLAIM: That drinking water regularly washes the virus into your stomach, where your stomach acid will kill it.
  • TRUTH: Stomach acid will not kill the virus. There is no biological function which could be said to work in this way.   You cannot swallow what is breathed.  Microorganisms don’t hang about suspended between breath and saliva for minutes at a time waiting to see if you breathe or swallow.  The virus is breathed into your respiratory system.  This advice is contrary to science.  It is a lie.
The Breathing Test
  • CLAIM: If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds then you don’t have the virus.
  • TRUTH: This may seem believable because Covid-19, at its worst, has respiratory complications.  People who have been hospitalised will certainly be having that much difficulty with breathing, but the majority of infections will not cause a severe breathing problem which could be assessed, in a still functioning person, in such a way.
Drinking Silver
  • CLAIM: That drinking colloidal silver (metal suspended in water) will kill strains of coronavirus in 12 hours
  • TRUTH: This nonsense comes from the most crackpot of identifiable sources – US Televangelist Jim Bakker, who regularly ruins people’s brains and bodies with outright lies.  There is absolutely no evidence that this is effective for ANY health condition, let alone Covid-19.  There is tonnes of evidence that it stops other medications from working, and can cause kidney damage, seizures and literally turns your skin grey/blue.
Homemade Hand Sanitiser
  • CLAIM: That homemade recipes are as effective as 60% alcohol hand gel
  • TRUTH: With a shortage of hand sanitiser caused by selfish hoarding, most people are desperately looking for alternatives.  Unfortunately none of the homemade ones will work.  It needs to be 60% alcohol to work.  Off the shelf alcohol is not that strong, surface cleaning products are not alcohol based and will not kill it.  Wet wipes will not destroy it (but will damage the environment).  Household cleaning products, as well as being ineffective, will damage your skin as well, because they do not contain emolients to protect it.  40% alcohol will not partly kill it.  None of the recipes will protect you.
MMS/Chlorine Dioxide
  • CLAIM: That drinking Miracle Mineral Supplement will kill Covid-19 (and cure cancer)
  • TRUTH: This contains chlorine dioxide which is an industrial bleach.  If you managed to get out of English when the class was studying An Inspector Calls, you may not know that bleach kills you.  In diluted forms it causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea (you get to use all that loo roll), and severe dehydration, as well as permanent damage to your gastric system.  Sharing this advice is Actual Bodily Harm and Attempted Murder.
Eating Garlic
  • CLAIM: Garlic boosts your immune system to fight the virus
  • TRUTH: Garlic is good for you  There’s no reason not to eat more of it.  It does help with many illnesses.  It doesn’t fight Covid-19.  However, this advice has been taken to the extreme, eating tremendous amounts of garlic, which also causes problems because absolutely everything we can consume is toxic if consumed in enough quantity.  Eat a normal amount of garlic.  Don’t use it as a fire blanket.
Heat will kill the virus
  • CLAIM: Exposing oneself to all kinds of heat will keep it away
  • TRUTH: This sounds as though the fact that viruses thrive in cold dry air has been processed with homeopathic ideas – fight a fever by making yourself that hot anyway (and avoid cold things).  This thinking has no evidence to support it at all.  Heating yourself does not make your body inhospitable to the virus.  The real piece of this is not achievable because you’d need to heat the air to 60 degrees Celsius to kill the virus.  Heating your body up will make it work harder to stabilise your body temperature, leaving you weaker for defending against the virus if it does come near you.

Please don’t share advice that has not been checked.  There are always lots of people who will try to mess with people in a crisis, but it is dangerous to let them.  Your good intentions do not cancel out the damage of the bad advice.  If it has not been assessed by an expert (appearing on a recognisable reputable website or verified official account), or checked by a reliable journalist, and “someone you know” shared it from a random stranger, be wary of it.  It is likely to be a lie, or at best a misunderstanding of science.  Please feel free to send these rumours to Nailed and we will check them for you.

Clare Washbrook

Current Editor-in-Chief News and magazine editor since 1995 Post-grads: Literature; Theatre; Journalism, Ethics & Law Community Affiliations: Belper Goes Green, Belper's WW1 Poppies, Amber Valley Solidarity No political party memberships/affiliations.

One thought on “Covid-19 Advice Which is Really Lies

  • Paul Cashen

    excellent article well written, shame it wont reach more people.
    Jim Bakker would make a fitting President, very similar in intelligence to the incumbent.

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