Fear is a powerful reaction to unknown and unexpected dangers. The feeling of helplessness, and desire to safeguard the health of our families, can often cause us to jump at the chance to take action when it's presented. While that feeling can lead to the right course of action, it can also cause us to make snap decisions that may not be in our best interest.
For weeks now, the Covi-19 virus, or Coronavirus, has dominated the news. We see the impact of the illness all around us, as public events, travel, and schools are canceled or suspended. Cases of the virus are spreading in our communities, and while the majority of those infected do recover, we still focus on the danger. Moreover, we want to do whatever we can to stay healthy, and to keep those we love safe.
Unfortunately, there will always be those that take advantage of our fears in a time of crisis to capitalize on tragedy. The Coronavirus scare is just one more opportunity for them to do so. The lack of public and scientific knowledge about this virus makes us easy targets for charlatans peddling their false treatments and cures. At the time of this writing, there is no vaccine available. In the interest of keeping our customers and neighbors safe, we've run down some of the false treatments out there for you, so that you can avoid being swindled, or worse by one of these supposed "cures".
Jim Bakker's Silver Sol
Pastor Jim Bakker (Image Courtesy ABC News)
Jim Bakker, a longtime prominent televangelist has recently bilked many out of their money with his Silver Sol Liquid product, being sold on his website with the claim that it cures Coronavirus. The state of Missouri has engaged a lawsuit against Bakker, with the FDA filing a cease and desist order for the product. This product has not been approved by the FDA, and it is safe to say that it is not a remedy for the virus.
Alex Jones (Image Courtesy Info Wars)
Radio host Alex Jones of InfoWars, has been making bold claims that products such as toothpaste, creams, and dietary supplements sold by InfoWars are able to prevent or cure the virus. Jones has claimed, in particular, that his Superblue Toothpaste "kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range". Recently, a disclaimer has been added to the product stating it is "not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease". This came after New York Attorney General Letitia James ordered the radio host to stop claiming his products can protect against the virus.
As the virus continues to spread, companies and individuals are marketing health safety products, which are in high demand, with false claims, as well. Products such as facemasks, respirators, gloves, sanitizers, and others are a prime target for worried consumers. Some of the giants of the eCommerce industry, such as Amazon and eBay are taking steps to curtail sellers touting such products with claims to prevent or cure Coronavirus. Amazon has restricted the market to only a small minority of approved sellers of these items. eBay has gone even further, and has begun removing these products altogether.
The hoaxes don't end with fake treatments or supplies, though. There is also the risk from phishing scams. Check Point, a cybersecurity firm is warning of the dangers from websites springing up with "coronavirus" or "covid" in the name, creating portals to steal information from those trying to get the latest news and information. Visiting sites like these can lead to malware infections or email phishing scams. Many of these do their best to look legitimate, though they're anything but. For safety, stick to reputable information sources, such as the CDC or WHO.
What can you do?
While vaccines take time to create, test, and release to the public, there are measures you can take to limit your exposure. The best course of action is to simply stay clean. Wash your hands thoroughly, and avoid large gatherings of people. If you do have to gather, ensure that you sanitize your hands frequently. Visit the World Health Organization website concerning this virus, to see recommendations and common myths concerning it. Below, you'll find a video from the WHO.