In the last month we’ve had near on everyone weighing in with their thoughts, theories and #covidcures when it comes to the pandemic. Trump has reminded us he’s (surprise surprise) not actually a doctor, but other players in the COVID game have been less clear around the scientific evidence behind their claims (hint: there’s usually none).
Calling out the COVID-19 related myths and misinformation when it comes to information making the rounds online and across social media is incredibly important. Unevidenced information, proposed protective factors and falsified treatments not only have the potential to be dangerous, but only cause more confusion and anxiety. What we’re going through is more than enough already, so it’s key we question where information is coming from and whether it’s fact or just good old 21st century fake-news fiction.
1. THE 5G CONSPIRACY
Recent weeks have seen a lot of people online make one almighty leap to connecting the timing of 5G’s global launch with the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s been passed around in chat rooms, spawned angry online communities and tweeted out to the masses from celebrity twitter accounts.
That 5G networks might somehow be involved in creation of the virus, and that 5G frequencies might weaken our immune system leading to infection. Stranger versions yet have claimed that the COVID-19 virus might be able to actually travel on 5G waves and spread across the globe.
There is currently no evidence for any connection between 5G networks or radio frequencies and COVID-19. Current medical evidence doesn’t support any notable effect on the human body (or it’s immune system) and there’s similarly no rational biological or scientific means by which viruses might interact with, let alone travel on, 5G. While it hopefully goes without saying, this one is definite myth.
A relatively high profile media personality recently ran into a spot of hot water for selling a product online that claimed to boost the immune system, energise the body and offer (therefore) potential means of avoiding viral infection. We’ll leave the (massive) cost of this item aside, but this isn’t an isolated case. Online there’s been a clear increase in devices for sale that claim to boost immunity, protect from viral infection and (in some cases) potentially cure COVID itself.
That devices sold online using combinations of lighting, magnetic energy and various emissions can “boost” the immune system, reduce risk of viral infection and offer specific benefits when it comes to COVID-19. Specific examples here include “Bio-Energisers” sold at high prices to act as one stop shop for viral protection.
Machines and gadgets marketed online have no solid medical backing or clear evidence when it comes to a) boosting immune systems b) protecting from COVID-19 infection or c) curing the virus itself. Bio-energisers or similarly marketed products have no clear scientific evidence to back up the health claims noted down online. With all due respect to an individual’s beliefs, it’s important we know that devices sold online won’t have any impact on COVID-19.
3. IMMUNE BOOSTERS
We’ve touched on this one in our COVID Myths Round 1, but it turns out we need a bit of a reminder. Recent weeks we’ve continued to see any number of powders, tablets and supplements claiming immune boosting, health promoting and virus fighting abilities. Take your casual daily scroll through Instagram and you’ll see that COVID-19 isn’t just a pandemic, it’s become big business.
That our immune system can be “boosted” from baseline when our body is already functioning within a normal healthy range. Online supplements, powders and vitamin tabs claim immune promoting benefits and (conveniently) offer magical abilities to fight viruses and protect us from the clutches of COVID-19
It’s not possible to “boost” an immune system in the sense that we’re being sold the concept. For the vast majority of people our body is functioning within normal, healthy, limits when it comes to this, and ramping up an immune response would do more harm than good even if it was possible. There is no evidence behind claims from supplements, powders and tablets sold online or promoted on socials being able to boost immunity or protect us from COVID-19. So scroll on past, and save your money.
4. “WE’VE OVERREACTED”
It’s been really great to see all the hard work everyone’s being doing in Australia and NZ start to pay off when it comes to lock-down, social distancing and travel precautions. The curve IS flattening, but as it does there’s an increasing call for life to immediately return to normal.
That lock down laws, social distancing and transmission precations are an “overreaction” and were unnecessary to begin with. The slowing rates of transmission and flattening curve show that we don’t need these steps anymore and the virus is simply “dying out” on it’s own.
The economic and mental health aspects to lock down and social distancing are nothing to be scoffed at – but as COVID-19 rates begin to slow we need to remember that this is BECAUSE all we’ve been doing lately is working, not because it was an overreaction or unnecessary. Flattening the curve is a consequence of all our combined efforts when it comes to social distancing, and it’s vital we continue this at the moment and return to normal life slowly so rates of infection don’t flare up again.