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COVID-19 VARIANTS: Myths and facts

COVID-19, HIV treatment

COVID-19 VARIANTS: Myths and facts

All of us are aware that viruses constantly change through mutation. When a virus has one or more new mutations, it is called a variant of the original virus. In the current times, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has identified two variants of the virus SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) as variants of concern.

The alpha, gamma and beta variants are being monitored closely along with the mu variant. Delta and Omicron variants are the present areas of concern. The Delta variant is nearly twice as contagious as earlier variants and might cause severe illnesses. The Omicron variant might spread more easily than other variants, including Delta. It is not yet clear if omicron causes more severe infection and hospitalization.

There are many myths attached with the spread of these variants, particularly related to vaccines and their protection against Covid -19.

Here are a few of them:

MYTH: COVID-19 affects only rich people.

FACT: Anyone can get COVID-19, regardless of the money you have. It has affected people of all backgrounds, races, ages, and statuses.

MYTH: COVID-19 affects only old people, so the young don’t have to worry.

FACT: Anyone can get COVID-19, including young people – especially if they have low immunity and underlying health conditions like diabetes, obesity, blood pressure or cancer. However, COVID-19 can be more dangerous for older people.

MYTH: Most people who get COVID-19 will get very sick and die.

FACT: Most peoplewith COVID-19 willhave a mild form of this illness. They can easily recover at home without any hospitalization. Only in cases of difficulty in breathing, persistent chest pain, or loss of speech or mobility should you call a doctor or go to a hospital.

MYTH: Many COVID-19 vaccines are not safe to use.

FACT: The COVID-19 vaccines in use currently have been through a rigorous testing and approval procedure to ensure that they are safe and effective. Many trials have been done, including on people suffering from HIV, and the results show that these vaccines are very safe to use.

MYTH: Anti-malaria drugs and drugs used in antiretroviral treatment for HIV are effective against COVID-19.

FACT: Although trials were done with the anti- malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, in 2020, no evidence was found that the drug could speed up recovery for people needing a ventilator or those who were dying. There is also no evidence that antiretroviral drugs used in HIV treatment can prevent or treat COVID-19.

MYTH: COVID-19 cannot be passed on in warm weather.

FACT: Exposing yourself to the Sun or high temperatures does not prevent or treat COVID-19. Getting out in the sunshine is a good idea though, as this helps your body to produce vitamin D, which is extremely important for your immune system.

MYTH: Consuming hot drinks and food can stop COVID-19.

FACT: There is no drink that can protect you from coronavirus. Taking paracetamol, drinking lots of liquids and resting well can help you manage the symptoms. Most people who get COVID-19 recover on their own. As there is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19, it is important to check information from a reliable source like the World Health Organization or your government health authority.

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