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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus myths: Eight things you should probably already know

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Coronavirus myths: Eight things you should probably already know | The Thaiger
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Two months after the first cases came to the attention of the world, a lot more is known about the coronavirus, aka. Covid-19. Here’s a few well established myths and a few scientific facts.

MYTH: ‘Face masks don’t work’

Wearing a face mask is no guarantee that you won’t be infected. However, masks are effective at capturing droplets and larger airborne particles in the seconds after an infected patient has coughed or spluttered – the main transmission route of coronavirus. Some studies estimate a roughly five-times protection versus no barrier at all.

Within health care facilities, special respirators called “N95 respirators” have been shown to greatly reduce the spread of the virus among medical staff. People require training to properly fit N95 respirators around their noses, cheeks and chins to ensure that no air can sneak around the edges of the mask; and wearers must also learn to check the equipment for damage after each use. These are very different than the flimsy paper masks people walk around with.

If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a properly-worn mask limitss the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re just walking around town and not in close contact with others, wearing a mask is unlikely to make any difference. The cheap, paper masks, often passed out for free by authorities are close to useless.

MYTH: The virus was made in a lab by humans

No evidence suggests that the virus is man-made. But the conspiracy theory has been a popular piece of fake news that keeps popping up in rubbish tabloid and social media. SARS-CoV-2 closely resembles two other coronaviruses that have triggered outbreaks in recent decades, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and all three viruses seem to have originated in bats. Unless there is a gang of super-bats that have conspired to create Covid-19 in their secret cave-lab, there is absolutely no evidence that this has either occurred or would even been possible.

In short, the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 fall in line with what we know about other naturally occurring coronaviruses that made the jump from animals to people.

MYTH: The virus is just a mutation of the common cold

Wrong. Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that includes many different diseases. All five of the known ‘flu’ coronaviruses have spiky projections on their surfaces and utilise so-called “spike proteins” to infect host cells. However, the four cold coronaviruses – named 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 – all utilise humans as their primary hosts. SARS-CoV-2 shares about 90% of its genetic material with coronaviruses that infect bats, which suggests that the virus originated in bats and later hopped to humans.

Evidence suggests that the virus passed through an intermediate animal before infecting humans. Similarly, the SARS virus jumped from bats to civets (cat-like nocturnal mammals) on its way into people, whereas MERS infected camels before spreading to humans – livescience.com

MYTH: ‘It is no worse or more dangerous than a normal flu’

Many individuals who get coronavirus will experience nothing worse than normal flu symptoms – sniffling, coughing, congestion and felling of illness. But the overall profile of the disease, including its mortality rate, could end up reflecting a more serious profile. This week, a World Health Organisation spokesperson, Bruce Aylward, who led an international mission to China to learn about the virus, noted that cases of the disease are now well exposed, it’s not just ‘the tip of the iceberg”.

If borne out by further testing, this could mean that current estimates of a roughly 1-2% fatality rate are accurate. This would show Covid-19 about 10 times more deadly than currently understood seasonal flus, which are estimated to kill between 300,000 and 660,000 around the world each year.

MYTH: ‘Covid-19 only kills the elderly’

Most people who are not elderly and do not have underlying health conditions will not become critically ill from Covid-19. That’s broadly true given the current cases studied in detail. But Covid-19 still has a higher chance of leading to serious respiratory symptoms, or potentially death, when compared to seasonal flu. There are other at-risk groups – health workers, who are more likely to be exposed to the virus.

The active precautions by communities around the world, to contain the situation in their immediate environment, will automatically be more likely to protect potential at-risk groups, like children. But, statistically, the majority of deaths have been in the elderly and in cases where there have been underlying causes. But there are children and previously healthy adults among the list of people who have succumbed to the virus.

MYTH: ‘You would have to be with an infected person for 10 minutes’

For flu, some hospital guidelines define exposure as being within 2 metres of an infected person who sneezes or coughs for 10 minutes or longer. However, it is possible to be infected with shorter interactions (even seconds) or by picking the virus up from contaminated surfaces (although this is thought to be a less common route of transmission).

MYTH: ‘A vaccine will be ready soon’

Scientists were quick to respond to this new strain of coronavirus, in the same family as the SERS and MERS viruses. Development os a vaccine, helped by the early discovery of the genetic sequence by Chinese researchers, is progressing much quicker than in the past. But a viable vaccine could be a long way off.

Several teams, separately around the globe, are now testing possible candidate vaccines in animal experiments. But the trials required before a commercial vaccine could be commercially rolled out are still at least a year away. Early human trials will also have to wait for possible side-effects and full evaluation.

MYTH: You can catch coronavirus eating at Chinese restaurants

Yes, some people actually believe this. By that logic, you’d also have to avoid Italian, Korean, Japanese and Iranian restaurants, given that those countries have also been facing an outbreak.

You have no more chance of getting infected by coronavirus, or anything else for that matter, at any Chinese restaurant, than being bitten by a giraffe in a telephone box.

I’ve had a dodgy Sweet & Sour Pork once and a Special Fried Rice that wasn’t very special, but I never caught coronavirus.


Early in the coronavirus news cycle there were many, many fake and invalid claims made about the virus. We listed a few HERE.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    bruce

    March 1, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    I’m not sure if you are serious or just complying with the government.
    The Wuhan china virus is now called covid19 by The WHO .
    There is in fact known evidence that the virus was engineered, possibly for research purposes.
    Further there is a credible accusation that it may have been stolen from a lab in Canada and shipped to china.
    I would not say the matter has been conclusively settled unless you believe the chicoms.
    But to assert that there’s no credible evidence about the possible engineering of the virus is itself fake news.
    Chucking terms like fake news and conspiracy theory around undermines a search for the truth when the powers that be are threatened by the truth.
    If I was a betting man with 20 plus years of experience in food process labs (and I am); I’d bet it’s not a naturally occurring mutation.
    I have been extensively trained on cross contamination issues and this is way outside any known normal parameters.

    Btw, I really enjoy your stories.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government warns Thai residents over fake contact-tracing sites

May Taylor

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Government warns Thai residents over fake contact-tracing sites | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

The Thai government has issued a warning after a number of complaints from people being sent incorrect links and annoying pop-ups when attempting to “check in” at various businesses. The country’s Covid-19 task force says the government’s official “Thai Chana” contact-tracing website does not do this and warned citizens to make sure they only follow legitimate links.

Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says anyone with concerns should report business venues that are using incorrect QR codes to capture customers’ data, possibly with the aim of using that data to promote products or services.

The Pattaya News also reports that all provincial governors must ensure the check-in process is being followed by all businesses, not just those that re-opened in the last round of easing of restrictions. All venues are obliged to provide both an electronic and paper-based means of checking in, even those that did not do so prior to the introduction of the technology. Anyone without a smartphone or who simply prefers to sign in using paper and pen may still do so.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Politics

Thai police deny using emergency decree as political tool

May Taylor

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Thai police deny using emergency decree as political tool | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English

Following the arrest of two activists in Bangkok on Friday, police deny using the emergency decree to suppress political dissent. Both activists were arrested at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre, where a small group was commemorating the 6th anniversary of the May 2014 military coup that swept PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to power, tossing out the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Authorities say both men, who were leading the group, were violating the emergency decree by holding an unauthorised gathering. Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen say the case will likely go to trial within the next month, where the activists could receive a sentence of up to 2 years’ imprisonment if found guilty.

The emergency decree, enacted by the government to handle the time of the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand, has been extended to the end of June.

However, according to a Khaosod English report, one of the men, Anurak Jeantawanich, says neither he nor fellow defendant Totsaporn Serirak, were doing anything to spread the virus, having taken all necessary safety precautions. He says the arrests are politically motivated and plans to appeal to the Office of the Attorney General. The arrests come just hours after several other political activists were arrested for staging a protest at Democracy Monument in the capital.

“The government is using the emergency decree to deprive freedom and liberty of the people, no different from under the junta.”

Kissana denies the allegation, saying the police are simply enforcing the current law that prohibits any gatherings.

“My job is not to make people believe or not believe. We enforced the law as usual. The organisers violated the decree and it’s the same with those found drinking alcohol in a group.”

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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