A COVID-19 warning went viral on WhatsApp claiming to be advice by Dr. Leong Hoe Nam.
Take a look at it, and find out why it’s just COVID-19 fake news!
Viral On WhatsApp : COVID-19 Advice By Dr. Leong Hoe Nam!
This is the COVID-19 warning that went viral on WhatsApp, claiming to be advice by Dr. Leong Hoe Nam – the Singaporean doctor who often appears on radio and TV.
The viral message is long, so just skip to the next section for the facts!
COVID-19 Advice Is Fake + Falsely Attributed To Dr. Leong Hoe Nam!
This is yet another COVID-19 fake story, that was falsely attributed to Dr. Leong Hoe Nam to make it more believable.
Here are the facts…
Fact #1 : Rophi Clinic Confirmed That It’s Fake
Rophi Clinic, which is owned by Dr. Leong Hoe Nam, issued a notice on 25 September 2021, calling that viral warning “fake news”.
They also called for people to stop sharing the fake news, as it has “damaging information”.
Fact #2 : Viral Message Is A Mash-Up
The viral message appears to be a mash-up of at least two different messages.
The first paragraph appears to be written by one person, while the rest by another person based on the opinions of Dr. Taiwo Obembe – a public health specialist at the College of Medicine of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Fact #3 : Common Medications Do NOT Affect COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy
Common medications taken for diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and heart disease DO NOT affect the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Generally, only drugs that suppress your immune system will reduce the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, including NSAID painkillers.
They do not “neutralise” the vaccine, but rather – reduce your body’s immune response to each dose. Efficacy is reduced because your immune system does not react as vigorously to the vaccine.
That is why you are asked to continue taking your medications before and after each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but not NSAID painkillers.
Fact #4 : COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Drops With Time + Age
It is true that COVID-19 vaccine efficacy is lower in older people, due to their body’s reduced immune response to new antigens.
It is also true that studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccine efficacy will wane with time, but even with reduced efficacy, they continue to offer strong protection against hospitalisation and death.
What this mean is the elderly and the immunocompromised may require a booster dose to enhance their immune system’s ability to fight against COVID-19.
Think of the booster dose as a refresher course for your COVID-19 self-defence class!
Fact #5 : Delta Variant Do NOT Have Different Symptoms
Generally, patients infected the Delta variant exhibit the SAME SYMPTOMS as other COVID-19 variants :
- sore throat
- nasal congestion
- breathing difficulties
What’s different appears to be the prevalence of these symptoms.
According to the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, patients with the Delta variant appear to experience MORE fever, headache, nasal congestion and sore throat and LESS cough and loss of smell.
Fact #6 : Delta Variant Is More Transmissible + Deadly
The Delta variant is approximately 50% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself is 50% more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain.
It has also shown to be partially resistant to vaccines, and more deadly – leading to more hospitalisations and deaths.
Fact #7 : Delta Variant Does Not Skip The Nasopharynx
The Delta variant has “greater affinity” for the mucosal lining of the lungs, which means it is more capable than other variants to infect the lungs.
However, it does not mean that the Delta variant “directly affects the lungs”, as the viral message claims.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is immobile, and travels through droplets and aerosols that we breathe in. It is not a homing missile that goes in search of a particular target.
As the air we breathe passes through the nasopharynx before it reaches the lungs, that is where most of the virus ends up, and that is why we swab the nasopharynx to detect COVID-19.
Fact #8 : Nasopharyngeal Swab Still Picks Up Delta Variant
The current standard of obtaining a nasopharyngeal swab to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus still works for the Delta variant.
That is how Delta variant patients are detected. In fact, genomic testing to confirm the Delta variant is performed on nasopharyngeal swab samples.
As explained in Fact #7, the coronavirus is carried by droplets and aerosols that has to pass through the nasopharynx before reaching the lungs.
So unless the patient breathes exclusively through the mouth, the nasopharynx is the best place to obtain samples of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Fact #9 : Current Tests Still Detect Delta Variant
Both the rt-PCR test and the Rapid Antigen Test continue to detect all COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant.
While Rapid Antigen Test may deliver more false negative results, it is rare for the “gold standard” rt-PCR test to deliver a false negative result, and extremely rare to deliver two false negative results.
Fact #10 : COVID-19 Precautions Apply To All Variants
The COVID-19 precautions mentioned in the viral message are NOT unique to the Delta variant. They apply to all COVID-19 variants.
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