As the cases of COVID-19 related to the Minuwangoda cluster increase, a number of false claims related to COVID-19 have been circulating on social media. Perhaps some of the most damaging claims are related to pseudoscientific “tests” some sources claim one can “do at home”, claiming that such tests will allow you to determine if you have contracted COVID-19.
American rapper Swae Lee posted a video on popular video based social media site TikTok claiming that the test would help you determine if you had COVID-19. The caption reads “The No Corona test... hold your breathe #Corona10secchallenge”.
Popular gaming blogger ZelhanTV also posted the challenge
To determine the validity of these claims, Citizen Fact Check spoke to Media Spokesman for the Ministry of Health Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara. Dr. Bandara explained that holding your breath for 10 seconds cannot tell you if you have COVID-19. “You cannot determine if you have COVID-19 by holding your breath. If you can hold your breath for a sufficient amount of time it does mean that your respiratory system is working properly - that it true. But this is not a way to determine if you have the disease or not,” Dr. Bandara explained in response to our query.
He also added that such assumptions have quite obviously ignored the fact that many people who contract COVID-19 are asymptomatic. “We have found so many people who are asymptomatic. Then they would not show any signs at all so it’s very clear that you can’t determine if you have got COVID-19 in that manner,” he added.
Upon inquiry of whether there are any ways of determining if you have COVID-19 at home, Dr. Bandara stated that you cannot determine if you have COVID-19 at home through pseudoscientific tests. “The only way to determine if you have COVID-19 is through a PCR test. The only way to determine if you have had COVID-19 in the past is through an antibody test. There isn’t a single other way you can determine either one of those two things without the necessary test,” he said.
As with most other claims that appear to be deceptively simple, this claim is also too good to be true. While the COVID-19 pandemic can make one feel anxious and a claim like this might seem to make things seem more in your control, it’s clear that in reality such information does more harm than good. For now, the best way to stay safe is to follow the guidelines given by the authorities and medical professionals in order to prevent contracting the virus. This includes physical distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands and staying at home as much as possible and avoiding crowded places at all times. If you suspect you have the disease, you should visit the nearest government hospital without delay.