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Here's What Daily Mail Readers Might Think Is Happening With The New Coronavirus

Reality...looks somewhat different.

You're a busy person! You don't have time to actually read THE ARTICLE. Most of the time you can get the gist from the headline and caption you see on Facebook.

So if you're one of the more than four million people who like the Daily Mail Australia Facebook page — the biggest media outlet Facebook page in Australia — what do you make of all this coronavirus stuff? I took a look at some of its most shared Facebook posts over the last month to find out.

The coronavirus has 40 mutations, and it doesn't look good.

This claim is based on a Danish article about a study by a private Icelandic genetics company, in partnership with Icelandic health authorities. The Daily Mail's article notes that the unpublished study has not been scrutinised by other scientists.

If you've got Type A blood, things are looking pretty grim for you.

The Conversation says this is based on a study that has not been peer-reviewed and doesn't present "robust scientific evidence".

The vaccine is pretty much ready to go!

The scientists at the University of Queensland have a candidate vaccine that they "think will work". But it won't be trialled on humans until mid-year, and even if it works, it wouldn't be rolled out until those trials are complete.

Make that plural.

It's still just a potential vaccine, and it's months away from human trials.

And we've also got a cure. HUGE news!

Yes, scientists have found that a drug used to treat head lice can stop the virus growing in a cell — but they still have to do clinical trials and work out the safe human dosage.

There's also this potential Ebola drug cure...PLEASE work!

The antiviral drug, remdesivir, is not proven to work. Early trials are underway but the evidence has not been published.

We also need to worry about the deadly hantavirus, which comes from RATS.

The hantavirus has nothing to do with the current coronavirus pandemic, cannot generally be spread human-to-human, and has been around for decades.

This post has been edited — but if you'd read it when it first went up, you'd think Trump might have to self-quarantine after shaking the hand of the Brazilian president, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Jair Bolsonaro has denied receiving a positive test — though many in Brazil don't believe him.

You should be taking off your SHOES at home.

This advice has not been widely adopted. Yes, there is evidence that COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for days. Yes, that could include your shoes. But, as noted in the Huffington Post article this Daily Mail article is based on, there is "no proof right now that coronavirus comes into the house on shoes". The five-day figure is attributed to a single American doctor, and does not seem to be based on any published studies. If you are wearing shoes in your house, it's probably OK!

You need to be washing your fruit with SOAP.

The idea that you need to wash fruit and vegetables with soap is not widely held. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food. According to Australia's national science agency, the CSIRO, "washing fruit and vegetables in fresh water just prior to eating is enough" and "hand soap [and] dishwashing detergent are not designed for direct use on food". They also say to wash your hands with soap while preparing fruit and vegetables.

Watch out for air conditioning.

The research this claim is based on does not actually suggest that the coronavirus is airborne, that it spreads through air-conditioning, or that it is more contagious than previously thought. Instead, it suggests that virus-laden droplets can land on air-conditioning vents, like any other surface, and is a reminder to observe hygienic practices.

All asthmatics need to self-isolate for 12 weeks.

This happened in the UK, not Australia, and the recommendation is only for those with severe asthma. The Australian authorities have not made this recommendation. It's possible that having asthma can increase the likelihood of a severe COVID-19 infection, but there's not a lot of evidence at the moment.

BREAKING NEWS: Worst nightmare.

This doctor, professor Li Lanjuan, said she was worried about the prospect of a second major outbreak, not that there is one occurring already. She cautioned that China needs to prevent people bringing new coronavirus cases into China from overseas. Though highly qualified and a central part of China's response to the coronavirus outbreak, it's also not clear on what basis she is described as "Beijing's leading doctor".

Older Italians will be left to die.

This story, based on an article by the UK's Telegraph newspaper, referred to a proposal for managing demand for space if intensive care units were overwhelmed, which was apparently developed in the Piedmont region of Italy. While Italian doctors have had to triage cases because of limited numbers of ventilators, there is no evidence a blanket rule has been implemented that means people over 80 are left to die.

China might have created the coronavirus in a lab.

When you open the article, you can see the full headline acknowledges that Nationals MP George Christensen's theory that China deliberately created the virus is "bizarre".

Oh no...

The 14% stat comes from the disease control centre of China's Guangdong province, and it's probably because their negative test was inaccurate — not because they got the virus again.

Coronavirus is airborne.

The University of Nebraska study has not been peer reviewed or published and was based on samples from 11 patient rooms, which contained genetic material from the virus. The researchers have emphasised that their findings do not confirm that the virus spreads through the air. It is possible the virus spreads through the air, but there is no conclusive evidence.

31,000 international students have flouted Australia's travel ban.

Australia had banned direct travel from China, but the students had served a 14-day quarantine period in third countries and so were allowed to enter.

Look out for diarrhoea and vomiting, you might have COVID-19!!!!!

According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough, but some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. The Daily Mail article is based on a study of 204 patients in Wuhan, and its authors acknowledge that "further large sample studies are needed to confirm these findings". The Australian government says it is "rare" for COVID-19 patients to have diarrhoea.

Hannah Ryan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Hannah Ryan at hannah.ryan@buzzfeed.com.

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