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One of the more prevalent theories about the COVID-19 coronavirus is that higher temperatures can help prevent the spread or outright stop the virus completely.
St. George has a warmer climate that would be ideal to fit this hypothesis, but the World Health Organization has confirmed that warm weather does not prevent people from getting the virus.
There have been many different ideas as to how the coronavirus began, how it spread and how to stop it with a large number of those solutions proved either scientifically inaccurate or completely fabricated.
© Rick Bowmer, AP
A man wears his mask as he walks in downtown Salt Lake City Thursday, April 9, 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now advising Americans to voluntarily wear a basic cloth or fabric face mask to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In the interest of giving people correct information about the virus, its effects and how best to slow down its spread, here are a few debunked myths about COVID-19.
Myth: Temperatures above 77° Fahrenheit can prevent coronavirus
© Chris Caldwell / The Spectrum & Daily News
A look at downtown St. George from The Advenire hotel on St. George Boulevard.
The idea behind this theory is that because the common cold and flu tend to retreat a bit in the summer, the coronavirus may be similar and could dissipate with warmer weather above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
St. George is well on its way to warmer temperatures with the weather reaching highs in the high 70s as early as next week.
The World Health Organization has issued several statements debunking this myth by saying that COVID-19 can be caught no matter how hot or sunny the weather is, citing warmer-weather countries that still have cases of the virus despite higher temperatures.
“From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather,” WHO said on their website. “Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19.”
The coronavirus is a new disease and while scientists worldwide work on a vaccine, the best protection from the virus is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and keeping away from other people as much as possible.
Myth: Catching coronavirus means you have it for life
People who have the coronavirus have been ordered to isolate themselves and self-quarantine for 14 days because that’s how long it takes the virus to transition through the body.
Once a person has the virus and recovers from it, the World Health Organization says that it is over for the time being and is removed from an individual’s system.
A common misconception is that people who have contracted the coronavirus will have it for life and the WHO has confirmed that that is false.
“Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you catch the disease, make sure you treat your symptoms,” the World Health Organization says on their website. “If you have a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early — but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.”
Myth: Coronavirus only affects older people
Many of the early deaths due to the coronavirus adversely affected older adults, especially with underlying health conditions.
Lots of people took this to mean that only seniors and older individuals can get the virus and that has proven to be false.
On March 29, 24-year-old Silvia Deyanira Meléndez of West Jordan died at the University of Utah hospital as a result of the coronavirus.
Meléndez had undergone heart surgery two years ago and had diabetes, giving her an increased risk of suffering from the virus but age was not a determining factor in her death.
“People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” the World Health Organization said on their website. “Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.”
Myth: 5G mobile networks spread coronavirus
A common myth perpetuated heavily on internet chat rooms and by celebrities such as actor Woody Harrelson and rapper/musician M.I.A. in the past few weeks is the idea that 5G networks are helping to spread the virus.
This idea is categorically false but has gained traction online mainly due to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, being one of the first cities in the world to widely adopt 5G network towers.
It is true that many of the areas that were most affected by the virus also happened to be places where 5G networks have been installed, but that correlation is explainable due to the fact that COVID-19 spreads easier in metropolitan and urban areas with people living in closer proximity to each other.
Another related conspiracy theory is that radiation waves from 5G networks are weakening immune systems and making people more susceptible to catching the virus.
5G radio waves are not powerful enough to cause damage to cells in the body as they are extremely low frequency and use non-ionizing radiation which is the opposite of ionizing radiation sources like X-rays and ultraviolet rays.
“Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks.COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks,” WHO says on their website. “COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.”
Myth: Other vaccines protect you from coronavirus
Though respiratory vaccines can help those with respiratory issues protect their overall health and respiratory strength, other vaccines do not protect or treat the coronavirus.
Pneumonia vaccines have been said to provide protection from the coronavirus but because COVID-19 is a new strain of virus, scientists need time to develop their own vaccines for this novel coronavirus.
“Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus,” WHO says on their website. “The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.”
For more information to help educate yourself on myths surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus, head to https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters.
Follow reporter Terell Wilkins on Twitter, @terelljwilkins, call him at 252-367-8463 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Can St. George’s warmer climate prevent coronavirus? Answering myths about COVID-19