Measures on COVID-19 that are shared on WhatsApp

A series of images circulate on social networks with recommendations against COVID-19 from the “SPC institute”. Although some of the statements are true, there are others that are actually taken out of context or are false.

On WhatsApp, the same content has been broadcast since March but as a 12-page PDF file. This material was shared so widely that one of our readers requested its verification via email ([email protected]).

Read more: It is true that viruses are not alive, but this chain on WhatsApp also has wrong information about COVID-19

We did not find a precise source on the SPC institute, in fact the EFE verifiers They also reviewed this content and pointed out that “when conducting an internet search for that name, its acronym and its logo, no institution with these characteristics appears.”

Dr. Nora Liliana Martínez Gática, epidemiologist and academic at the Department of Public Health of the UNAM Faculty of Medicine, helped us analyze the twelve statements, of which six are true, three are false, and three more are taken out of context.

Claim 1: “ALCOHOL or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ANY FAT, especially the outer lipid layer that protects the VIRUS (sic)”.

Dr. Martínez Gática says that is true, but clarifies that soap and water have the same effectiveness. “So it is more advisable to wash your hands all the time with soap and water. Only if we don’t have access to soap and water then we can use an alcoholic solution ”.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) points out that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, protects itself with an oily lipid membrane. “Like a nail that pops a tire, the end of a water-repellent soap molecule, a hydrophobic glue that can bind with oil and fats, stabs COVID-19 into a deflated, broken bag of cellulose cells. RNA, ”he explains.

Claim 2: “Any MIXTURE with 1 part of CHLORINE and 5 parts of WATER directly dissolves the protein, disintegrating the VIRUS (sic)”.

“Yes, it is also true,” says the doctor, but reiterates that soap and water must always be considered first when washing hands. “Chlorine and water can be used mainly to clean the areas inhabited by people confirmed with COVID.” In this case, it is especially recommended to clean the bathroom and objects. The doctor also points out that the usually recommended dose is 9 parts of water to one of chlorine.

“For smaller objects or objects that can be decomposed more easily, the recommendation is to wet a sanita or a clean cloth directly with alcohol”, he recommends.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States says that household chlorine bleach that is not expired is effective against coronaviruses if it is diluted properly. They also recommend following cleaning product manufacturers’ instructions. In this league Full recommendations for cleaning surfaces as a preventive measure against COVID-19 can be found.

Affirmation 3. “The VIRUS is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (RNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or oral mucosa, changes their genetic code (MUTAN) and turn them into aggressive and multiplier cells (sic) ”.

“Yes, the virus is not a living organism and in order to continue to exist it needs to adhere to a living human or compatible animal cell. A molecule of RNA genetic material gets into our cells, infects them, and then its genetic material begins to replicate. But what is not true is that our cells are aggressive, rather they are infected. They do not become bad, they are sick ”, clarifies the UNAM specialist

Genotype, a magazine specialized in news on medical genetics, explains that “the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus enters cells through the binding of a protein on their surface, protein S, with the ACE-2 receptor (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) of the host cells ”.

Claim 4: “The VIRUS is very stable in cold, humid and dark environments (sic)”.

According to Dr. Martínez Gática, this is correct. The Health Secretary It also points out that cold climates actually lead to an increase in respiratory illnesses.

Claim 5: “NO BACTERICIDE DOES! The virus is not an organism like bacteria, and if it is not alive it cannot be killed with antibiotics, viruses are DISINTEGRATED. So the solution is to break its chain of PROPAGATION and MUTATION (sic) ”.

“Yes, that is also true. It is not correct to use antibiotics at all. Unless there is a superinfection, ”warns Martínez Gática. “The virus affects the cells of the body and lowers our defenses. Bacteria can take advantage of this to cause an infection. Antibiotics are not to treat covid, but to treat a complication or an associated infection after COVID-19, “he explains.

World Health Organization WHO it also says that antibiotics are effective against bacteria, but not against viruses. “Since the new coronavirus is a virus, antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat the infection,” he says.

The WHO also specifies that “if you are infected by this virus and are hospitalized, you may be given antibiotics so that you do not contract bacterial infections.”

Claim 6: “The virus CANNOT get through HEALTHY SKIN (sic)”.

“If this is true,” says Dr. Martínez Gática. The academic explains that the virus reaches the body after being inhaled from an infected person who spreads the virus through the droplets that it expels from the nose or mouth when speaking, coughing, singing, etc. We also get infected if we touch our face after touching an infected surface. “If we touch something infected but then wash our hands, then nothing happens,” he says.

According to the WHO, “the main form of spread of COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who coughs or has other symptoms such as fever or fatigue. Many people with COVID-19 have only mild symptoms. This is particularly true in the early stages of the disease. You can catch it from someone who only has a mild cough and doesn’t feel sick. ”

Claim 7: “HEAT changes the state of the matter of the fat of the protective layer of the VIRUS, so it is good to use water MORE THAN 25ºC to wash hands, clothes and locations in which we are (sic)”.

The WHO explains that being exposed to the sun or temperatures above 25O C DOES NOT prevent COVID-19 disease, it also denies that bathing in hot water helps protect against this disease.

But Dr. Martínez Gática says that it is recommended to wash cloth masks with hot water. But if there is no hot water, it also works to wash it very well with enough water and soap.

Claim 8: “Don’t shake !! just with alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide or detergent on the surfaces! the virus attached to a surface disintegrates in a time depending on its material, 3 hours (porous fabric), 4 hours (copper and wood), 24 hours (cardboard), 42 hours (metal) and 72 hours (plastic). if they shake, the virus floats back into the air and can lodge in the nose (sic) ”.

“Actually, that depends on many factors, such as the amount of virus that is on that surface, the humidity conditions, the lighting conditions and the air flow. So this would be false ”, says Dr. Martínez Gática.

It also clarifies that it is unlikely that viruses can infect another person if these materials are shaken and contaminated.

According to the WHO “the most important thing to know about coronavirus contact with surfaces is that they can be easily cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus.”

Claim 9: “As the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, it is disintegrated. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it rests ”.

“That is true and in fact contradicts the previous one,” says the doctor.

Claim 10: The peroxide (OXYGEN WATER) dissolves the virus protein, this helps a lot after the use of soap, alcohol or chlorine to attack the VIRUS, but it must be used pure and if it is used on the skin it can HURT it ”(sic).

Dr. Martínez Gática says that the only thing we need to clean is soap and water, or alcohol if you don’t have access to water. But he points out that it is very dangerous to mix all these products such as chlorine, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol, since the resulting combination is toxic. “You don’t need to use these products consecutively, much less eat them,” he says.

In this video we explain why it is dangerous to mix different cleaning products.

Claim 11: “The virus is very fragile, the only thing that protects it is a very thin outer layer of fat, that is why any soap is the best remedy because the foam cuts the fat (you have to rub for 20 seconds or more and make a lot of foam ). By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and disintegrates itself (sic) ”.

The doctor says that is true, “soap disintegrates the virus.” To do this successfully, the CDC recommends these steps:

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold), turn off the faucet, and wash your hands.
  2. Rub your hands with the soap until it foams. Rub the foam over the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Do you need something to measure time? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean running water.
  5. Dry them with a clean towel or in the air.

Claim 12: A valuable recommendation, use your non-dominant hand to open doors at home or offices, transportation, bathrooms, etc. since it is very difficult to touch your face with that hand. This initiative was widely publicized in Korea (sic) ”

The doctor Martinez Gática He says that it is an unhelpful recommendation, “because we are not aware that is why it is the dominant hand and we use it unconsciously because our brain is already used to that”.

For this reason, what the specialist does recommend is “not touching the face, not touching the mask, not taking it off, not putting it on the chin, not adjusting it all the time”. “Once the mask is on, it cannot be removed or touched, if it gets wet it is changed. And if it is made of cloth, it is washed, ”he says.

The specialist also points out that we must not forget the healthy distance, wear face masks whenever you are in public places all the time, and avoid face masks with a valve. It is also important to initiate isolation if you have symptoms or have lived with a positive case or suspect. “It is the only way to break the chain of contagion,” he explains.

Although some of the statements are true, it is not possible to identify the author. At least half of the recommendations are unsupported or missing information, which could lead to misinformation about COVID-19.

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