Now more than ever, we all need verified information on COVID-19. Fake news and fear-mongering will not only cause panic, but also discourage people to get tested when they experience symptoms.
Aside from bogus COVID-19 remedies spreading on Facebook and Viber groups, one tweet that’s making rounds is how uncomfortable a COVID-19 test via nasopharyngeal swab can be. It was first shared by infectious disease physician Dr. Edsel Salvana, who expressed that he’s not a huge fan of this testing method because it’s like “having a Q-tip stabbed into the middle of the brain.”
While I'm a huge fan of testing in general, getting a nasopharyngeal swab done is like having a Q-tip stabbed into the middle of your brain. Repeat test? 😖 No thank you Ma'am. I'll stop complaining about quarantine, Ma'am. #notfun #COVID19 #testingblues
— Dr. Edsel Salvana (@EdselSalvana) March 22, 2020
Salvana’s tweet was reposted by agricultural economist Benedict Exconde, saying, “This is another thing that those pushing for mass testing do not understand.” He also shared a diagram of how a nasopharyngeal swab is done as if to scare citizens.
This is another thing that those pushing for mass testing do not understand. pic.twitter.com/cX0XhO1dgN
— Benedict Exconde (@iskonglasalista) March 22, 2020
Ever since the number of COVID-19-positive cases in the Philippines started rising, citizens have called for mass testing which can help detect and treat patients early. But since the Department of Health (DOH) is still waiting for additional testing kits to arrive, they’re prioritizing vulnerable people (i.e. elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions) with mild to severe symptoms, have been exposed to suspected COVID-19 patients and traveled to countries with local transmission. This also means that asymptomatic patients don’t need to get tested and should self-quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days. (In other words, VIP testing shouldn’t be allowed.)
When you tell people how uncomfortable a certain COVID-19 test can be, you are discouraging them from going to the hospital and getting tested if they’re experiencing symptoms. There are already some people who aren’t getting tested or lying about their travel history which we can only guess is out of fear that they won’t get proper treatment if they test positive.
Fun fact that could actually save someone’s life: PhilHealth is shouldering COVID-19 testing and quarantine costs, including medication and other hospital-related expenses.
The amount of misinformation and fake news from all over the world is absurd. Once a person with influence online or offline shares these, their followers will believe them because this is a sensitive and scary time we’re living in right now. Just last night, Mar. 24, I saw a story about a man who died after ingesting chloroquine that’s used to clean aquariums because US Pres. Donald Trump claimed it can treat COVID-19.
Anyone who says misinformation can’t be dangerous is oblivious to the fact. We should all be helping and educating each other in what we can do to flatten the curve, not scare people because you’re against mass testing.
Also, we know this isn’t the pain Olympics, but there are other more uncomfortable hospital tests that people have to endure to get a proper diagnosis. Think of a nasopharyngeal swab or any COVID-19 test as a temporary discomfort to see if you are infected or not. If you test positive, you can self-isolate, keep the people around you safe and get treated. Yes, it’s scary, but early detection (if we have mass testing already) is the key to beating this pandemic.
If you want to know more about COVID-19, you can also check out this thread by curecovidph:
Corona Virus, Kaya Nating Talunin!
[A thread]Information is one of the most important ways to protect our communities. Share knowledge on the pandemic COVID-19! With our combined strength and cooperation, we can overcome it. Kaya natin ito!#COVID19PH #KaalamanHindiKaguluhan pic.twitter.com/ynSGQm9cTp
— curecovidph (@curecovidph) March 18, 2020
Art by Dana Calvo
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