BC Centre for Disease Control clears up some misconceptions about coronavirus

Jan 31 2020, 1:08 pm

The BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) wants to clear up “several misconceptions” being spread about coronavirus on social media.

In a series of tweets, the BCCDC provides a clear explanation about the virus and the ways it can and cannot be transmitted.

“The receptors for coronavirus are deep in a person’s lungs – a person must inhale enough of the virus that it can actually bind to those receptors deep in the lungs,” says the BCCDC, adding that the virus is transmitted through “larger droplets that fall quickly out of the air (for example, after a sneeze)” meaning it is not airborne.

The virus also doesn’t spread through “casual contact.” Individuals must be in close contact (within two metres) to be able to inhale droplets from a cough or a sneeze that is not covered.

If these droplets fall on the ground and a person touches them with their hands, “the risk of transmission is low in this case as those droplets must be of significant enough quantity to make it to the receptors in a person’s lungs.”

If an individual touches a surface or object that has droplets containing the coronavirus, they are not in risk of getting the virus in their body as long as they clean their hands before touching their face or mouth.

“Coronavirus is not something that comes through the skin. This virus is remitted through large droplets that are breathed deep into a person’s lungs,” says the BCCDC.

As for masks, they should be used by sick people in order to prevent transmission to others, as the masks help keep droplets contained.

However, it may be less effective to wear a facemask when a person is not sick, as they “may give a person a false sense of security” and increase times they touch their face in order to adjust the mask.

So what is the most important thing people can do to prevent themselves from getting the virus?

Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face, says the BCCDC.

“Cover your mouth when you cough so you’re not exposing other people. If you are sick yourself, stay away from others. Contact your health care provider ahead of time so you can be safely assessed.”

As of January 31, there have been no confirmed or probable cases of novel coronavirus in Alberta, according to Alberta Health Services.

AHS states that symptoms of novel coronavirus would be quite similar to those for the flu or other respiratory illnesses, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, and kidney failure.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a global health emergency on January 30.

The WHO announcement comes shortly after the Government of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to China – the third time it has issued such an advisory over the past week.

Currently, there have been four confirmed cases in Canada — three in Ontario and one in BC.