Myth buster: 10 rumors about novel coronavirus

By Zhao Shiyue and Ma Chi | | Updated: 2020-03-10 07:30
A doctor teaches a patient to do a pulmonary rehabilitation exercise at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital. [Photo by Chen Zhuo/For]

Claim: Older people are more susceptible

That's not true. The fact is, people of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus but older people and those with underlying diseases (such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease) are at higher risk of severe illness.

There have been 55,924 lab confirmed cases as of Feb 20. The median age is 51, with the majority of cases (77.8%) aged between 30-69 years, according to the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Disease in children is relatively rare with around 2.4 percent of the total reported cases aged below 19. A very small proportion of those aged under 19 patients developed severe (2.5%) or critical disease (0.2%).

Claim: The virus was manufactured and leaked from a research lab in China

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, the top virus research agency in China, has been targeted by rumors and controversies since the outbreak. Rumors included the virus being artificially engineered and leaked from the institute's biosafety level-4 laboratory, which studies the deadliest pathogens, such as the Ebola and Marburg viruses.

One article published by The Washington Times on Jan 26 claimed the virus was part of a Chinese biological weapons program based at the institute.

There also were claims that the first patient contracting the virus was a graduate student from the institute and that the head of the institute sold experimental animals to a seafood market, where the first case of infection was reported, and leaked the virus from a lab.

In an open letter published in Lancet on Feb 18, 27 health experts from across the world condemned conspiracy theories surrounding the novel coronavirus.

The letter read "scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2), and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have many other emerging pathogens."

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next   >>|

Please feel free to contact us by sending your questions to or commenting on China Daily app. We will ask experts to answer them.

Editor's picks
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349