Destroying conspiracies and myths about the coronavirus: 7 things you shouldn't believe

The illness In fashion it has provoked, as it happens in the periods of grief, all kinds of reactions in the population: disbelief, fear, hysteria, indifference and, of course, many crazy conspiracy theories. Since the origin of new coronavirus It took place in a supposed secret laboratory located near the Wuhan market that it is Trump himself who is benefiting from the expansion of COVID-19, happening because in reality the disease is a biological weapon designed by the CIA as a way to fight a war against China.

The conspiracy theories they are not something new and, according to some research, they tend to arise at the times when societies are going through a crisis (terrorist attacks, political changes, economic crises …), this is because they usually flourish in periods of uncertainty and threat, in which we seek to make sense of a chaotic world. Although we think that it is the first time in the history of the human being in which this type of theories have flourished, the truth is that studies have shown that it is not true.

For example, an analysis of conspiracies carried out by J. Uscinski and J.M Parent studied a total of 104,000 letters published in different newspapers and observed a prevalence of them with conspiring content that coincided with different times of crisis. The first peak happened shortly before 1900, at the height of the Second Industrial Revolution, and the second during the late 40s of the last century and early 50s, in full beginning of the Cold War. There is also evidence that it is not something specific in Western cultures, but that around the world (in Asia, South Africa or the Middle East) they also happen.

The conspiracy theories are not new, they arise in periods of uncertainty and threat, in which we seek meaning in a chaotic world

What is certain is that, due to the democratization of the internet, the emergence of conspiracy theories has accelerated. During the outbreak of Zika virus in 2015-16 It was suggested that it was a biological weapon as well, rather than a natural occurrence. An investigation examined Reddit comments about the outbreak and concluded that the more conspiracy conversations they had emerged as a way that people had to deal with the extreme uncertainty they felt about it, according to the psychology professor Daniel Jolley in 'The Conversation'.

Myths about the coronavirus

With the coronavirus the theories are so varied and crazy that the World Health Organization has had to write an official myth destroyer so that we don't believe everything we hear or read online.

1. Hand dryers kill the coronavirus. No, to protect yourself against it, the best thing you can do is wash yourself with soap and water frequently or use an alcohol disinfectant.

2. Spraying the body with alcohol can end it. The spraying of such substances may also be harmful to clothing and mucous membranes (eyes and mouth).

3. Receiving packages or letters from China is not safe. Although many people may be afraid, WHO says there is no danger, as coronaviruses do not survive long in packages or letters.

4. Flushing your nose with saline solution helps prevent infection. There is no evidence that that works for anything.

5. Eat garlic too. It is true that this food has some antimicrobial properties, but there is no evidence that it serves to protect against the coronavirus.

6. Dogs and cats can get the coronavirus. According to 'Wired', although some newspapers have said that a dog in Hong Kong gave a "weak positive" result, the truth is that there is no evidence that pets can catch the disease.

7. You have to avoid public transportation. No, unless you have recently been somewhere with an important outbreak or have been in contact with a confirmed patient of COVID-19. Of course, try to wash your hands if you have used it.

The conspiracy theories can be very harmful for society. Not only can they influence people's health choices, they can also interfere with the way different groups relate to each other, so governments should not only fight the spread of the coronavirus but also act to stop disinformation.