You may think it’s impossible, but there is one thing out there more contagious than the coronavirus: FAKE NEWS.
For most people, FAKE NEWS is forwarded to you from your uncle every morning, because everyone needs a little dose of misinformation to start their day.
In the past, when you received such messages, like a video telling you that drinking water before breakfast could prevent cancer, you just dismissed it, because it was harmless.
But then the deadly Covid-19 virus started spreading all over the world, and people started sharing ridiculous methods to “prevent” or “cure” the disease on WhatsApp.
Because if there’s one place that you should go to for medical advice, it’s WhatApp.
One such tip encourages drinking warm water to prevent contracting the coronavirus.
Sounds stupid, right? Well, I didn’t receive this tip on WhatsApp; Malaysia’s Health Minister just said this on national television.
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M’sia Health Minister Drew Flak for Suggesting That Drinking Hot Water Would Prevent COVID-19
Malaysian Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba has advised Malaysians to drink warm water because it will “flush” any virus down to the stomach, where digestive acids will kill it.
Why? Because, according to him, the coronavirus “doesn’t like high temperatures”. Well, that makes two of us.
Speaking on RTM’s Bicara Naratif programme on Thursday (19 March), Adham said: “Do not drink water that is not boiled. Drink a glass of water that is warm because the virus does not like warm things. Make sure (the water) is not too hot.
“The virus will go down (the oesophagus) and when it reaches the stomach which has acids, the virus dies. That’s how we eliminate the virus.”
Yes, I’m not deceiving you. This is the health minister of a country.
Dr Adham’s remarks have since gone viral on social media platforms with many questioning his advice, reported The Star.
So, is this true?
Well, of course not.
Firstly, as the World Health Organisation has said, the virus can survive in hot and humid climates.
And the organisation has firmly reiterated that drinking water does not prevent Covid-19 infection.
Q: If drinking water alleviates a sore throat, does this also protect against #2019nCoV infection?
A: While staying hydrated by drinking water is important for overall health, it does not prevent coronavirus infection. pic.twitter.com/AWb1wK89Wj
— World Health Organization Philippines (@WHOPhilippines) February 8, 2020
Dr Nur Amalina Che Bakri, a Malaysian surgeon based in the United Kingdom also debunked Dr Adham’s claims, explaining that there was no evidence to suggest that acid in the stomach can kill the virus.
She said that a temperature of 60°C can “inactivate” the virus outside the body, but drinking a warm glass of water would not help once the virus has entered the body.
Even Dr Jason Leong, a comedian and actual doctor in Malaysia, weighed in on the situation.
Leong likened the minister’s claim to someone saying that dipping your penis in hot water can flush out the HIV virus into your anus, where you will eventually poop it out.
Yes, it’s funny, but it also shows how dumb this warm water theory is.
Be Wary of Misinformation
Now, more than ever, we need to be wary of misinformation about the Covid-19 virus. Do not believe any miracle cures you might see online, and more importantly, do not forward any coronavirus-related message whose source you can’t verify.
Instead, only share tips from credible organisations like WHO and the Ministry of Health (MOH), because these people actually know what they’re talking about.
In the meantime, wash your hands with soap and water regularly, practise social distancing, and don’t watch any interviews with the Malaysian Health Minister.
You can keep yourself updated by bookmarking MOH’s website here and registering for the Gov.sg’s WhatsApp service here.
And you can be a responsible citizen by downloading the TraceTogether app.
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