July 24, 2020

During the entire circuit breaker, I was startled by the sudden proliferation of fitness fanatics that seemed to be everywhere. I envied the way they were running around the park maskless, inhaling fresh air while I wheezed miserably behind one. Then came the cyclists, who were breezing down the road blithely—again without masks on. I gawked in utter amazement, wondering to myself if they were playing with fire or had some form of immunity against Covid-19. Was it hubris or ignorance?

It’s been more than six months into the pandemic, and while the world is hoping for a vaccine soon, many authoritative figures (who are not health experts) have broadcasted their very ingenious thoughts on how to tackle the virus. In March, Boris Johnson said that the United Kingdom would stop tracking the contacts of suspected cases, but only test patients admitted to hospitals. His grand vision was for the nation to achieve “herd immunity,” where the majority of the UK’s population develop antibodies, indirectly protecting those who are not immune. He also boasted that he shook hands with everyone, even at a hospital full of Covid-19 patients. (That is a sure-fire way to contract the virus and he did eventually get it.) Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was adamant that hydroxychloroquine could be a miracle cure, conveniently neglecting to mention the accompanying side effects like severe heart problems, blood and lymphatic system disorders and liver failure. And the ever-mercurial Elon Musk also had a thing to two to say about the deadly pandemic by tweeting: “The coronavirus panic is dumb.” 

Clearly, the entire world is overreacting. 

Since there has been an avalanche of hogwash and prevarication, it’s easy to be misinformed. Here are the ten most ridiculous and inane advice floating around to combat the virus. Let us not get brainwashed by everything that we read or hear.

1. Injecting disinfectants like isopropyl alcohol directly into your body can ward off Covid-19. Or you can consume them neat, just like a whisky shot. Just remember, you are trying to kill the virus, not yourself.

2. Wipe that worried look off your face. The pandemic is “going to fade away.” And “99 per cent” of Covid-19 cases are “totally harmless.” In Trump we trust. 

3. Jared Kushner believes that the virus is “more about public psychology than a health reality.” Feeling under the weather? You are a hypochondriac imagining things; it’s all in your head. Mind over matter. 

4. Even if you are infected, you can still go to work. After all, it’s nothing more than a common cold, which you can easily recover from. Pay no attention to the current global death toll, which stands at 642,000. 

5. Drinking water every 15 minutes will wash the coronavirus “down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill all the virus.” Now if only we could magically wash away all the toxic people from our lives as conveniently, without a hitch.

6. Go out and stand directly under the sun. Apparently, the virus can be killed by a temperature of just 27 degrees. Some theories have said that when it gets warm in the summer, the virus will be obliterated. Historically, the sun has been purported to have the ability to kill vampires too. While you are baking gloriously under the sun, you might want to slather on the best sunscreen you can find. The point is to zap the virus and not get skin cancer.

7. Unsure if you have Covid-19, but don’t want to take a swab test? There is an idiot-proof way to diagnose yourself. Hold your breath for more ten seconds, and if you can do that successfully without coughing or feeling discomfort and tightness, it means that your lungs are not damaged. Congratulations, you are infection-free.

8. Love garlic? You are in luck. Many Facebook posts have claimed that garlic, with its antimicrobial properties, can kill the coronavirus. So, eat away at liberty. Just pray you don’t end up in the hospital like that woman who consumed 1.5kg of raw garlic and suffered from a severely inflamed throat. 

9. On the Jim Bakker Show, a quack doctor professed that colloidal silver can “deactivate” the virus. Bakker went on to suggest that this Silver Solution can cure a number of diseases and strengthen the immune system. There is currently no clinical research to support the assertion, plus there are major side effects like argyria, which turns your skin blue. Unless you enjoy looking like a smurf, avoid at all cost.

10. The Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), also known as a “miracle cure,” has been touted by anti-vaxxers and other fringe groups to fight off coronavirus. YouTuber Jordan Sather, a proponent of its healing benefits, even tweeted that “chlorine dioxide (aka MMS) is an effective cancer cell killer.” For the uninitiated, chlorine dioxide is a bleaching agent and it might just turn your insides white as a sheet.

The best “cure” so far is not to be gullible or undiscerning. We must not let the virus get to our common sense. With some preventive measures, psychiatric treatment and toilet paper, we can emerge unscathed.