Do you remember when lawmaker Ann Chiang told the public that masks can be reused after steaming? The speech stirred great discussion and even the Centre for Health Protection quickly responded and dispelled the rumour on social media.
Credit: Centre for Health Protection (Facebook)
Ann Chiang has defended herself time and again since, claiming that steaming would only damage the mask’s material structure to a very limited extend. In a video she posted in late February, she continued her attempt to prove that steamed masks can be reused with several new researches. Most citizens just take the whole story as a joke.
After the outbreak of coronavirus, many unscientific and groundless rumours have gone more viral than the virus.
Ronny Chieng, a senior correspondent of The Daily Show, said, “The coronavirus is not just making people sick, it is also making people stupid.” It is not difficult to understand his reasons after seeing people overseas spreading misinformation like catching the coronavirus through Chinese RedBull, fortune cookies and Mi Goreng noodles. Sounds fantastical? There are even claims that drinking bleach can cure the disease and rinsing your nose with saline helps prevent getting infected.
Credit: The Daily Show (Youtube)
Even though many of the misinformation can be easily debunked, some have made significant impact on the society.
In Hong Kong, rumour had it that Mainland factories had stopped operating as workers were forced to stay home. People were lining up outside supermarkets at the break of dawn, stocking up tissue rolls. The shortage of tissue paper has lasted almost a month.
In some western countries, more alarmingly, irrational xenophobia has grown due to coronavirus. Many blamed Asians for spreading the diseases, as Wuhan is seen as the source of virus and China the epicentre of the outbreak. There has been rejections in hotels and even physical assault in the US alone.
Credit: CNN (Youtube)
Ignorance and fear of coronavirus incubates baseless rumours, which in turn fuel xenophobia. Staying healthy and safe, as well as informed and clear-headed, is the way to go in this battle against coronavirus.