As health officials learn about the new coronavirus outbreak from China, some odd internet searches and myths have popped up. Here’s a rundown of some of the strange — and incorrect — things that have been circulating about the virus, and some verified ways to protect yourself.

Many people, seeing the name of the virus, have concluded the virus has a connection to Corona beer. The Miami Herald reported that Google searches for “Corona Beer” and “Corona Beer Virus” were both up in the past week. The paper noted that the search engine may not have helped, as “corona beer virus” is the second option Google predicts when someone types in “corona.”

But other than the name, there’s no connection. The coronavirus is named as such because of the crown-like spikes on its surface. Corona means “crown” in Latin. So no, drinking Coronas won’t give you the virus, and it won’t cure it either. They’re just not related.

Another bizarre theory that’s been circulating about the virus is that it can be kept at bay by drinking bleach. The Daily Beast reports that right-wing conspiracy theorist group QAnon has urged its fans to drink the cleaning liquid — poisonous to humans — in order to protect themselves from the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers not to do this. And even without that warning, you should probably already know that.

More on the outbreak of new coronavirus

Crazy theories aside, there are several simple things you can do to protect yourself from the virus.

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People should wash their hands, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands, and avoid people who are sick. It’s a good idea to use basic etiquette, such as coughing into a tissue or elbow, and to disinfect things after coughing.

Face masks can also prevent the spread of coronavirus, but health officials didn’t urge Oregonians to rush out and buy them. The virus has so far had confirmed cases in Washington and California but there have not been any reported or confirmed cases in Oregon.

Watch for cold and flu-like symptoms, such as cough, fever, or in more serious cases, shortness of breath. The disease can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal, but others don’t experience more than a mild illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

©2020 The Oregonian


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the number of people in the United States and in China who have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. See the graphics below for up-to-date information.