The coronavirus doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t discriminate—it targets everyone who isn’t taking the necessary precautions and isn’t being safe.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of iffy “facts” and bits of fake news floating around the internet about Covid-19. Some people wholeheartedly believe these hoaxes and even help spread them. And that can have dangerous (and sometimes even deadly) consequences.

The internet is full of stories about how the same people who claimed that the coronavirus was a hoax ended up catching the virus, got very sick, and some even lost their lives. Scroll down and have a read. Just to make it clear, dear Pandas, we don’t think that anyone “deserves” catching this horrible disease. Read on for Bored Panda’s interview with Dr. Claudia Pastides from Babylon Health about why so many people believe conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and why this is dangerous.

One person who thought that the coronavirus was fake changed their tune after they got sick

According to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus map, there are over 2.49 million confirmed cases of infected around the globe, at the time of writing. The illness has claimed the lives of more than 171k people and the virus continues to spread, even though some countries are already relaxing lockdown measures.

Despite these numbers, some people still believe numerous hoaxes and dangerous pieces of misinformation. According to the BBC, even educated people can fall prey to coronavirus myths. This has a lot to do with information overload making it very difficult to fact-check every bit of news that we’re bombarded with each day. Another thing to consider is that some people are naturally better at overriding their reflexive reactions to information. That means that some people are better at resisting fake news than others.

Somebody who thought that the coronavirus pandemic was blown out of proportion died from Covid-19

Image credits: sunnmcheaux

Here’s what she posted about the coronavirus before getting sick

Karen’s family created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money after she died

Image credits: sunnmcheaux

“Because the coronavirus is entirely new, there is currently a certain lack of substantial and verified research and evidence to explain why the virus operates as it does. As a result, it is easy to fill this void with untruths about the virus’s effects and the prevention of its symptoms,” Dr. Pastides explained to Bored Panda.

“As people are desperate for more knowledge and information about the virus, they are more prone to believe these misconceptions. It is instinctive in humans to seek solutions to problems, and when there is a crisis, such as this pandemic, they might be willing to believe anything they hear without verifying it first.”

Another person who thought that the coronavirus was a hoax died while receiving treatment for the virus

However, what’s the best way to check if a piece of information is correct? Especially considering the amount of information we’re exposed to every single day.

“The World Health Organization has a dedicated coronavirus myth-busting page on their website, where they sum up the majority of the misconceptions flourishing on the internet at the minute. This is a great place to start to verify whether what you’ve heard is correct,” the doctor pointed out.

“Babylon Health also has a dedicated coronavirus page, which they update daily with information about the virus. This is another trustworthy site to verify information and you can access it here.”

She added: “A third option is to contact a medical professional, who will be able to tell you quickly if the theories you’ve heard are false or not. Do not call the emergency service unless you have Covid-19 symptoms, as they are already overwhelmed, but Babylon Health has medical professionals available to answer questions through their online app. They have a dedicated Covid-19 Care Assistant as part of their app, which also includes a symptom checker.”

According to Dr. Pastides, checking trusted news websites can also help determine whether something is true or false. She recommends reading the BBC or CNN.

“Not only will believing in coronavirus hoaxes not prevent you from catching the virus or cure you of it if you do catch it, but it could potentially be more harmful to your body. Gargling bleach, for instance, can be very damaging to your organs, or taking a scalding hot bath can severely hurt your skin. In turn, this could put more and unnecessary pressure on an already overwhelmed health service,” the health professional warned.

Pastor Spradlin who decried coronavirus “mass hysteria” died after attending Mardi Gras

Pastor Landon Spradlin, who was 66 years old, shared a misleading post on Facebook that compared swine flu and coronavirus deaths and suggested that the Covid-19 “hysteria” was politically motivated to harm President Donald Trump.

However, the pastor’s son Landon Isaac noted that his father didn’t think that the actual virus was a hoax; he thought it was real but believed it was blown out of proportion.

Spradlin died 8 days after being in intensive care when doctors discovered he had double pneumonia (in both of his lungs) and also tested positive for Covid-19. Earlier, he had visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras and it’s likely that he caught the coronavirus there.

Here’s the pastor and his wife

Image credits: Jesse Spradlin

Dr. Pastides debunked 6 common myths about the coronavirus that are flourishing online. According to her, the coronavirus isn’t manmade but originated in animals. What’s more, the doctor pointed out that hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol will kill the coronavirus, despite some hoaxers stating otherwise.

There’s also no evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by your pets. Dr. Pastides also pointed out that hot baths or hot drinks won’t kill the virus because it’s inside the cells of your body. But if you’ve come into contact with the virus and it’s on your skin, wash it off with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizer.

There’s also a very dangerous myth out there that gargling bleach can stop the spread of the coronavirus. This is wrong and you should not do this. Ever. Gargling bleach can lead to internal burns and land you in the hospital.

Much the same way, garlic isn’t a cure-all for the coronavirus. Dr. Pastides explains that eating a healthy and balanced diet is important, but there’s nothing to suggest that garlic can prevent you from catching the virus.