The Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is still very much at large in China, where it has claimed more lives than the country’s 9-month SARS epidemic. To date, there are 20,438 confirmed cases in China, and 425 have died from it. The virus has spread to 27 countries worldwide.
Hence, there’s growing panic and worry regarding the novel coronavirus – given how little confirmed information there is on it. Adding fuel to the fire are rumours and unsubstantiated claims being shared online as ‘facts’.
The best thing you can do, right now, is to stay calm and take reasonable precautions. So, here are some widely circulated myths about the novel coronavirus: debunked.
Myth: Wearing a face mask eliminates all risk of infection
Truth: You should wear a mask if you’re feeling unwell, or taking care of someone who is. However, the situation in Malaysia is currently under control. There is a low risk of infection, with confirmed cases – all Chinese nationals, thus far – placed under quarantine.
If you are in the high-risk group, N95 respirators are the most effective masks to get. This is because they filter out at least 95% of airborne particles. But, a note of caution: these masks have to fit correctly for best results, says Dr Peter Rabinowitz, a director of the MetaCenter for Pandemic Disease Preparedness and Global Health Security at the University of Washington, to TIME. He also adds: “They tend to slip and change position. It’s easy for air leaks to develop, even if they’re fitted correctly.”