The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) took to Twitter to control some of the misinformation being spread about the coronavirus.
With so many news reports and public scrutiny, plenty of panic and concern is ringing through the streets regarding the outbreak of the disease.
But, the BC CDC says, there is a lot to learn about how the disease is actually transmitted.
Firstly, the agency says it’s a lot harder to catch coronavirus than most people think.
— BC Centre for Disease Control (@CDCofBC) January 30, 2020
The disease is not airborne — instead, it is carried in large droplets that are released when someone sneezes or coughs without cover. The receptors for those droplets are deep in the lungs, meaning the coronavirus cannot be contracted through casual contact.
The virus cannot be absorbed through the skin, but droplets can make their way into the lungs if they touch the face or mouth.
But as long as people clean their hands before touching their face or mouth, the virus will not get into the lungs.
— BCCDC (@CDCofBC) January 30, 2020
People should only wear masks if they have the disease already, as the masks contain those droplets.
If people without the illness wear the mask, it can actually increase chances of transmission, seeing as people wearing the mask are more likely to touch their face (to rearrange the mask, for instance).
The most effective way to prevent transmission is by washing your hands, the BC CDC says. People should also cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching their face more than is necessary.
Disease is no reason to be discriminatory: Chief Public Health Officer
In another tweet thread, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned that the coronavirus was no reason to be judgemental or discriminatory against Asian people.
Referencing SARS, which saw plenty of South East Asian communities face racism, Dr. Tam said that people must put aside their biases and avoid getting information from unverified sites.
1/5 I am concerned about the growing number of reports of #racism and stigmatizing comments on social media directed to people of Chinese and Asian descent related to #2019nCOV #coronavirus. #EndStigma pic.twitter.com/xpueZTcNn9
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) January 30, 2020
“Everyone has a part to play in preventing the spread of the virus,” Tam tweeted. “The Chinese community and all travellers from affected areas are a key part of these efforts.”
“Canada is a country built on the deep-rooted values of respect, diversity and inclusion. Racism, discrimination and stigmatizing language are unacceptable and very hurtful.”