Becoming My Brother’s Keeper

THE reality of COVID-19 has been with us for some time now although many of us tended to ignore its truth, based on our non-adherence to safety protocols such as wearing a mask in public. However, over the past few days, the almost daily increases in positive cases seems to have awoken some of us from the dim-witted view we had of this pandemic.

With 76 cases, at time of writing, and counting, we are now faced with an unembellished reality that our world, as we know it, could capsize, leaving some, if not most of us, facing serious challenges with our finances, health, family and more.

If ever there is a time for ensuring that we protect each other from something then that time is now. And the protection we speak of is protecting each other from COVID-19.

It is in light of this that we dedicate today’s editorial to explaining certain facts about COVID-19 that should answer the question about keeping each other safe. We hope, through this medium, to correct common untrue rumours about the coronavirus as noted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

First the wearing of masks. Making masks is now a hot business in Saint Lucia and are made from all types of materials. However, most of these masks are not properly made so as to block the entry of the air particles carrying the virus. Medical masks however, are different. The term ‘medical’ conjures up the idea that such masks could be used without fear.

Well, according to the WHO, when properly worn, medical masks, also known as surgical masks, won’t make you breathe in too little oxygen or too much carbon dioxide but they could feel uncomfortable when worn for a long time.

Drinking alcohol will not protect you against COVID-19, in fact, consuming too much alcohol can increase your risk of other health problems, according to the WHO.

Consuming bleach or other disinfectants won’t prevent COVID-19. That is a dangerous move to make because these things are poisons. Also dangerous is the drinking of methanol and ethanol. They are poisons as well. Drinking them will not kill the COVID-19 virus in your body. What those things can cause are disability or death. (Source: WHO).

Holding your breath isn’t a test for COVID-19. Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort does not mean that you are free from COVID-19 or any other lung disease. The best way to confirm whether or not you have the COVID-19 virus is through a laboratory test.

Garlic is a healthy food that may kill some microbes, but there is no evidence that it protects people from COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to keep a safe distance from others and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

Young people can get the disease. People of all ages can be infected by the COVID-19 virus. Everyone, no matter how old, should practice prevention measures, such as cleaning your hands regularly and keeping a safe distance from others.

Heat and humidity don’t stop the spread of COVID-19. You can catch COVID-19 no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Also, eating hot peppers won’t cure or prevent COVID-19, no matter how tasty those peppers are.

And yes, there is currently no proof that any drug can cure or prevent COVID-19. We know several drugs are being tested, but so far none has shown definitive proof of curing or preventing the virus.

Also, forget about antibiotics as these can’t treat or prevent COVID-19 because they only work against bacteria, not viruses and COVID-19 is caused by a virus. The WHO states that patients with COVID-19 may receive antibiotics to treat bacterial infections that occur at the same time.

Cold and snow do not prevent COVID-19 nor do pneumonia vaccines and hand dryers. For those people who believe regular rinsing of their noses with saline protects them from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections the WHO says there is some limited evidence that they can help you recover faster from the common cold.

Most people who get COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms and recover with medical care. As for thermal scanners they can detect people who have a fever, which can be due to COVID-19. However, not everyone who gets COVID-19 develops a fever.

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