There’s been public disquiet as regarding the deadly coronavirus in recent times. But more is that health experts across the globe are yet to discover a vaccine for the disease.
A stir was recently caused on social media after clinical evidence suggested that Chloroquine Phosphate, a widely-used antimalarial drug, may be effective in combating the zoonotic ailment.
In 2014, during the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, claims about ingesting salt or having a saltwater bath had swirled across the country, threatening many lives and landing a number of Nigerians in hospitals in a wave of panic.
Six years later — in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak — there are now claims that drinking alcohol can, perhaps, forestall the possibility of one contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).
A Hindi newspaper clipping reportedly claimed that drinking alcohol will keep the coronavirus at bay, having translated, “Why cry now? Corona will be packed with one peg of alcohol.”
While it wasn’t clear as to whether or not the article is satirical, social media sources have further fueled such claims, suggesting that spraying alcohol all over one’s body would rid one of COVID-19.
Does alcohol really forestall coronavirus?
In the list of myths published on the website of the World Health Organisation (WHO), it was stated that alcohol does have a role in tackling the disease, albeit not through ingestion.
The substance, according to the WHO, works only when it is found in handwashes and hand rubs unlike claims suggesting that drinking booze while smoking alongside are more likely to prevent the deadly virus.
Although alcohol has proven to be effective in tackling the virus on surfaces, spraying or bathing in alcohol as misinformation have suggested will not kill viruses that have entered the body.
Alcohol (75 percent solution) and bleach or chlorine-based disinfectants are only appropriate for cleaning surfaces and can cause harm if not used appropriately.
Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, there has been a sharp increase in demand for alcohol disinfectants in many parts of the world.
The status quo, precautionary measures
83,774 people have been infected; 2,867 have so far died from the coronavirus, with Nigeria having reported its first case of the ailment after an Italian citizen tested positive in Lagos.
Akin Abayomi, the state commissioner for health, had urged citizens not to abuse social media and indulge in causing fear and panic by spreading misinformation.
“I wish to assure all Nigerians that have we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case,” he said.
Following the development, Nigeria became the 52nd country to confirm a positive case of the virus. The dreaded virus has been confirmed in Singapore, UK, Spain, Vietnam, Algeria, Germany, UAE, France, Japan, Thailand, Canada, Australia, Italy, Russia, the United States, among other countries.
According to the WHO, frequent handwashing; social distancing; avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth; and seeking early treatment or diagnosis are important in the fight against COVID-19.