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Health and Medicine

#StupidPandemicQuestions Are Trending On Twitter And They Just Raise More Questions

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Rachael Funnell

Social Editor and Staff Writer

clockFeb 28 2020, 13:40 UTC

Twitter. Creativeneko/Shutterstock

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, reported cases outside of China have now outnumbered those in China. To identify potential new cases, medical practitioners need to take in-depth histories of patients to assess how likely it is that their illness is the highly-contagious COVID-19. So, if you come down with flu-like symptoms having visited a place currently connected with the illness, you may find yourself being asked questions like...

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But it's not just doctors asking questions, as a recent trending hashtag on Twitter rounded up some of the best #StupidPandemicQuestions circulating on the Internet. These take coronavirus myth-busting to a whole new level.

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Amazingly, Google Trends reported that searches for the beer Corona Extra stepped up 1,100 percent in the US shortly after the outbreak first reached the country. The most frequent Google searches included "beer virus" and "corona beer virus". However, Anheuser-Busch, which owns Corona, has reported it expects to lose $285 million in revenue in China for the first two months of the year because of the virus. Fortunately, there's absolutely no link between the two, so you can enjoy a cold one while we wait for this all to blow over. 

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This one is less ridiculous, and many people seem to be trying to compare the two. Flu, or influenza, is indeed an annual epidemiological disaster causing many deaths and widespread illness. Each year, scientists release a new flu vaccine based on the knowledge of this season's most likely strains. Flu evolves constantly, so you need to get a new vaccine each year. However, while a few historic influenza outbreaks have been far more deadly, thanks to vaccines seasonal flu's mortality rate is 0.1 percent, well below the 1.5-3 percent estimated for COVID-19.

The issue at the moment with coronavirus is that there remain some unknowns. Flu always dies down when the warmer weather arrives, whereas we don't yet know how the rate of spread will change for COVID-19 over the coming months. This amazing though slightly unsettling animation shows how quickly the coronavirus is spreading compared to previous similar illnesses such as SARS and MERS.

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The good news is that, like flu, most cases of coronavirus will be mild and of the thousands of people who have so far been infected, the majority get better again. But anyway, enough real talk, back to genuinely #StupidPandemicQuestions...

There have been a few people claiming the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending bearded individuals get shaving to protect themselves against the virus.

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In fact, this infographic is not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak, it's from a 2017 demonstration of how the N95 mask needs to be fitted in order to properly filter air. To effectively reduce your chances of breathing in anything nasty they need to be very carefully fitted to your face in order to form a sufficient seal. These masks therefore don't work on bearded faces, which is why some medical workers have taken the step to shave. However, the CDC does not recommend using respirators outside of the workplace to protect against coronavirus. Put the razor down.

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While we're on the subject of masks...

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Unfortunately none as far as we're aware, but you can find out about the different face masks that do exist and what they do here. You needn't stress too much about masks, by the way, there are far more efficient ways to keep safe.

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 Some Twitter users took a more literal take on the matter.

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If avoiding pans is a smart move, this next potential cure is a non-starter...

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If pan-fried is wrong we don't want to be right.

Coronavirus is defined as a communicable disease as it can spread from one infected person to another, which has got some people asking...

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I mean, if you could, I imagine it would go something like...

We can't believe we're on this again but... 

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Coronavirus absolutely did not come from space. SMH.

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There's really only one question on our minds about this entire situation.

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Trash Can Paul/Instagram

If you're finding all the outbreak information a tad overwhelming, here's a useful question to ask yourself: Am I hearing this information from a reputable source? 

Generally speaking, it's best to head to official bodies for the latest, confirmed outbreak information. Newspapers want to sell headlines, social media posts want to drive engagement, and science writers want to show you dank memes. For the real-time facts in your area, head to the World Health Organisation.

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Here's what SARS-CoV-2 really looks like, plus find out what the CDC is actually saying about SARS-CoV-2 in the US.


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