Amid social media hysteria, the BC Centre for Disease Control went to Twitter in an attempt to set the record straight about the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The BCCDC was responding to misinformation being propagated on social media about the causes and spread of the novel coronavirus, which began, and remains largely concentrated, in Mainland China.
To date, there have been 17,493 cases of the virus, and 362 attributed to it. Only four cases have been confirmed in Canada, three in Ontario, and one in B.C.
On Thursday, Jan. 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared the spread of coronavirus a global health emergency.
Officials with WHO said it was in no means a lack of confidence in China, but served as a warning to countries with weaker health systems in place.
The BCCDC took to Twitter on Jan. 30 to correct some misinformation.
“There are several misconceptions on social media currently about hwo #coronavirus is transmitted,” the health agency tweeted. “Receptors for the coronavirus are deep in a person’s lungs – a person must inhale enough of the virus that it can actually bind to those receptors…”
This would be by way of inhaling the spray from an infected person’s sneeze.
“A person must be in close contact (within 2 metres) with somebody to be able to inhale those droplets if a person coughs or sneezes without cover, in front of them.”
Several people have been seen at Vancouver International Airport wearing masks and other devices after the coronavirus scare.
BCCDC says the masks may help prevent the spread of the virus from someone who is infected.
However, someone who is not infected may see little benefit from a mask.
“Masks may give a person a false sense of security & are likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face – to adjust the mask, etc.,” the BCCDC tweet states. “The most important thing that a person can do to prevent themselves from getting coronavirus is to wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their face.”
In the last week, warnings have been posted at Surrey medical clinics asking people with acute respiratory illness or who has risked exposure need to be masked and notify staff immediately.