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VERIFY: No, sipping water will not prevent coronavirus, as claimed in viral post

A viral post makes two dubious claims about prevening coronavirus. The Verify team found the facts.

WASHINGTON — Question 1:  

Will drinking water every 15 minutes protect you from getting this latest strain of the coronavirus? 


No. Our experts said that this is not based on scientific fact, and is a complete rumor. 


Maryland Department of Health

Dr. Larry William Chang, M.D., M.P.H - Johns Hopkins Global Health Initiative

Fairfax Department of Health, Statement

DC Health Advisory


As the latest strain of the coronavirus continues to spread, it's put a lot of people on edge. For that reason, many have been quick to believe online posts providing a miracle cure for the virus.

The post calls this claim "serious excellent advice by Japanese doctors," arguing that it can help prevent COVID-19 cases. 

"Everyone should ensure your mouth and throat is (sic) moist," the letter said. "Never Dry. Take a few sips of lukewarm water every 15 minutes at least." 

The post claims that this water will wash the virus away, since the stomach acid "will kill all the virus." The letter then said not taking this action will allow the virus to "enter your windpipes and into the lungs." 

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To find the truth, the Verify team reached out to Dr. Larry William Chang, from the Johns Hopkins University. 

"There's no evidence of that whatsoever," he said. 

Chang said that the virus is transmitted by small droplets, that are released when someone coughs or sneezes. He said the tiny droplets will then attach themselves to a person's cells.

"When you're drinking water," he said. "You're not going to wash away virus, which may have already gone inside your cells." 

According to an advisory from the DC Department of Health, the best way to avoid the virus is to do the following: 

  • Wash your hands often, using soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid contact with those who are sick
  • Stay home when feeling sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

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Question 2:

Can you test whether you have coronavirus by holding your breath for 10 seconds? 


No. Health authorities told the Verify team that getting the COVID-19 test is the only way to find out if you have the virus. 


Maryland Department of Health

Dr. Larry William Chang, M.D., M.P.H - Johns Hopkins Global Health Initiative

Fairfax Department of Health, Statement


An online post claims there is a DIY method, that does not include the official test. The post claims that this is a trick from "Taiwan experts." 

"Take a deep breath," the post reads. "And hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you complete it successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stuffiness or tightness... it proves there is no fibrosis in the lungs, basically indicating no infection." 

To find out if this was true, the Verify team reached out to the Maryland Department of Health, which said this post is false. 

"A person may not be exhibiting overt symptoms," the department said. "But could be infected."

Dr. Larry William Chang agreed. 

"Unfortunately that's not true," he said. "The only way to really find out is to get the test done."

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