Reitumetse Makwea
Digital Intern
4 minute read
13 Jan 2021
3:34 pm

Busting Covid-19 myths and conspiracy theories

Reitumetse Makwea

Here are some of the most famous myths going around on social media, and the facts to counter them.

Picture: iStock

South Africans have had their own share of conspiracy theories and myths when it comes to the novel Covid-19 and its vaccine.

Government has been trying to flag some conspiracy theories that have been making rounds on social media, such as linking the placement of 5G infrastructure to the spread of the coronavirus.

Recently, the Gauteng health department took to Twitter to bust some myths. Here are some of the most famous myths going around on social media and the government’s answers.

‘Does the long-term wearing of masks have any negative impact on one’s health?’

Prolonged use of any face mask has not been shown to cause carbon dioxide toxicity or lack of adequate oxygen in healthy people. Healthcare workers routinely wear masks for prolonged periods while performing their duties.

Cloth masks provide an additional layer of protection by reducing the number of microorganisms that a person releases into the air. Mass mask wearing will ensure that fewer potential viral droplets are released into the air. Wearing a mask reduces the risk that someone will be exposed to the virus.

‘Lockdown measures deprive people of their freedoms, keeping with authoritarianism’

The current measures are temporary and have been enacted to protect our nation and her people. Our freedoms will never be at risk and are protected by the Constitution, Bill of rights and our commitment to the rule of law and democracy and freedom.

‘Vaccines are unsafe and normal safety protocols have been circumvented to fast track their authorisation for use’

The fast development and approval of vaccines is a great human feat worthy of celebration. This was possible because we have learned over many decades how to develop and test vaccines, and we were able to take those lessons and challenge ourselves to produce a vaccine much quicker.

No step in the development, testing or ratification of the Covid-19 vaccines has been skipped. The world was able to develop vaccines quickly because scientists and governments around the world collaborated in a manner that has never been achieved before pooling resources and information to ensure that everyone can contribute to the knowledge. The socioeconomic devastation the virus is causing is what has motivated developers to move with urgency without compromising on quality standards.

ALSO READ: Icasa urges public to disregard conspiracy theories linking 5G to Covid-19

‘Vaccines can alter the recipient’s DNA’

Vaccines work by stimulating the body in the same way the virus would if someone were infected. That means when you receive the vaccine, the body then recognises that it looks like the coronavirus and then it releases certain chemicals that start a chain reaction to make immune cells that can fight the real virus.

The vaccine does not work on the DNA of the body. Some people think that because some of the vaccines are made using RNA technology, that means the RNA will interact with the DNA, which is not how it works. The technology is simply the way the vaccine is made, not what it will do to the body.

‘Vaccines contain a form of microchip that will be used to track and control an individual’

There is no vaccine “microchip” and there is no evidence to support claims that such a move is planned. Receiving a vaccine will not allow people to be tracked and personal information would be entered into database.

‘Government is complicit with big business in pushing vaccines despite the risks’

Government is committed to saving lives and livelihoods. The fastest way to return to our way of life is through ensuring that the majority of the populations protected from the virus. Vaccines are the simplest and most effective way to do this.

‘5G networks cause the coronavirus through radiation emissions’

The World Health Organisation has made it clear that viruses cannot travel on radio waves, mobile networks. It is also a fact that Covid-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

Covid-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

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