Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has led the World Health Organisation to declare a global health emergency. As typically happens when such outbreaks manifest themselves, stories fly fast as a degree of fear takes hold, and it’s not always easy to tell apart the myths from the truth.

Newsbook takes a look at some of the more common preoccupations concerning the outbreak.


  • The coronavirus is the most dangerous virus strain known to man.
  • The coronavirus is an automatic death sentence.
  • People need to wear protective clothing and/or face masks at all times.
  • Chinese people should be blamed at all costs.
  • Believe everything you hear about the outbreak.


  • Influenza claims more lives each year.
  • So far, only 2% of reported cases of the novel coronavirus have been fatal, and those who died generally had weaker immune systems than the general population.
  • Washing your hands regularly and sneezing into your elbow are always recommended.
  • Fake news, xenophobia and racism can be more dangerous than any virus.

Make no mistake, the outbreak is a cause for concern: so far, 14,000 have been infected and over 300 have died – only today, the first death outside mainland China was reported in the Philippines. But it’s always important to keep things into perspective.