FALSE: Coronavirus transmitted through humans only – Duterte

Rappler.com
FALSE: Coronavirus transmitted through humans only – Duterte
Health experts say the novel coronavirus can also spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects

Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte said COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is only transmitted through contact with other people.

The President said this in his message to local government units regarding the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine throughout Luzon. It was live-streamed past 1 am on Friday, March 20. (READ: ‘Stand down’: Duterte orders LGUs to follow IATF orders on Luzon lockdown)

During the speech, the President said: “Problema kasi nito (the problem here is), COVID-19 is passable sa tao lang (to humans only). It’s contact. ‘Yung handshake o ‘yung just maybe rubbing each other’s elbows.” 

He added: “Alam mo sa totoo lang, ang importante lang man malaman ninyo, we are imposing the social distance kasi nga ang transmittal tao lang ang puwedeng magbigay ng sakit na ‘yan sa ’yo. Hindi anong – walang ibang bagay. Tao ang magbigay sa iyo ng sakit na ‘yan.

(The only important thing you should know is that we are imposing social distancing because this disease is transmitted only through humans. Not anything else. Humans will give you that disease.) 

Rating: FALSE 

The facts: The novel coronavirus is known to spread mainly from person to person, but it can also spread through infected surfaces or objects.

Based on available studies so far, the Harvard Medical School said the virus primarily spreads when one person breathes in droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

“Coronavirus can also spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects. For example, a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” the Harvard Medical School wrote in its coronavirus resource center.

Studies also suggest that coronaviruses, including the one that causes COVID-19, may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. The World Health Organization said that this may also vary under different conditions, such as the type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment.

In a previous briefing on February 3, Duterte even mentioned himself that there is a possibility that inanimate objects can also get contaminated. Citing WHO, he said: “‘Yung doorknob, merong traces silang nakita (there were traces of the virus). It is not confirmed to be really a valid reason to avoid it, but there are indications that it can be transmitted also by inanimate things.” – Rappler.com

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