As coronavirus continues to spread across the US, myths and misinformation seem to run abound.
So far, there are more than 5,200 confirmed cases in America and 94 people have died.
Many have been preaching online and on social media about how to best protect yourself, including that masks are the best defense while others claim that if you’re infected, silver will help cure you.
Dr Mikhail Varshavski – a family practitioner in New Jersey, and better known by his YouTube moniker of Doctor Mike – spoke to DailyMail.com to set the record straight on why no natural supplements will cure you, why the outbreak is not contained and to implore people to stop buying masks.
MYTH #1: CORONAVIRUS IS SIMILAR TO THE FLU
In the early days of the outbreak, many politicians have compared the virus to the annual flu season, including President Donald Trump.
Dr Varshavski says that some of the symptoms between the two overlap such as fever, coughing and shortness of breath – but that’s where the similarities end.
‘One major difference of the flu from this new virus: a higher morality rate and we are lacking a vaccine and a medication to treat this,’ he told DailyMail.com.
Currently, the flu has a death rate of 0.1 percent while coronavirus’s death rate worldwide is about four percent, and about two percent in the US.
‘Saying coronavirus is factually inaccurate and lulls people into a false sense of security that it’s safe to go outside and be in large crowds,’ Dr Varshavski said.
MYTH #2: SILVER OR ZINC WILL CURE YOU OF CORONAVIRUS
On Friday, televangelist Jim Bakker was sued by the state of Missouri for selling a fake coronavirus cure on his website and show.
He claimed that one of his products, Silver Solutions, would help protect and/or cure viewers against the virus.
Meanwhile, TV star Dr Mehmet Oz has been recommending zinc tablets to prevent contracting the virus.
Dr Varshavski says that while medication is on the horizon – and that the Ebola drug remdesivir has been showing a lot of hope, none of the above treatments work.
‘You have people who are fake salesmen and prey on people’s fears, selling silver, zinc, vitamin C,’ he said.
‘I’m perfectly fine going on record saying there is no supplement for the average healthy person to prevent or treat this novel coronavirus.’
He added that people may believe taking supplements is beneficial because of the word ‘natural,’ but that can be misleading.
‘Natural does not equate safe and taking too many [supplements] can dangerous,’ Dr Varshavski said.
MYTH #3: WEARING MASKS WILL PREVENT YOU FROM CONTRACTING THE VIRUS
It’s not just the general public that have been pictured covering their noses and mouths.
Hollywood stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez have been pictured mid-flight wearing face masks.
And supermodel Naomi Campbell was spotted at the airport wearing a head-to-toe hazmat suit, face mask and goggles.
Dr Varshavski says that healthy people don’t need masks.
He added that the only people who should be wearing masks are those who are sick and doctors treating sick patients.
Some local stores in cities like New York, Houston and San Francisco have told DailyMail.com that supplies are running low and, while major retailers like CVS and Walgreens haven’t yet run out online or at the national level, shortages are starting to crop up.
‘People are buying up supplies and creating a shortage of supplies for people on the front lines like myself so [sick patients] don’t give us the virus,’ Dr Varshavski said.
MYTH #4: THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IS CONTAINED
As the stock markets tumbled and airline travel grounded to a halt, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow has insisted over the last three weeks that the US had the outbreak under control.
‘We have contained this,’ Kudlow told CNBC in one interview on February 25.
‘I won’t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight. We have done a good job in the United States.’
Dr Varshavski says that ‘airtight’ is far from accurate and that we haven’t yet seen the peak of cases in the US.
‘I thought that statement was inaccurate,’ he said. ‘The virus is certainly spreading through the community.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Mary Kekatos