Normally, we sometimes dread New Year's Eve because of political debates in the family.
This year, a myriad of new subjects will sit on the table between the turkey and the log: viruses, vaccines, conspiracies ... The Covid-19 epidemic has raised many questions, whether on politics government health, treatment of patients or the vaccine strategy to come.
But within these questions have also crept many false statements that risk fueling heated debates.
Some come back to social networks on a recurring basis.
Here they are, explained and specified.
Covid-19 does not kill more than the flu
This is an idea that we see frequently on so-called alternative information sites.
The logic ?
The flu is also a virus that comes in waves and seasons, causing deaths, but it does not result in confinement or mandatory mask wear.
Why then do so much in the face of Covid-19?
In fact, Covid-19 is much more lethal and dangerous than the flu.
"There is a sharp increase in the case fatality rate with age, but overall it is around 0.6%", explained in October Maria Van Kerkhove, responsible for the management of Covid-19 at the WHO, in an interview with AFP.
"It may not seem like much, but it's much higher than for the flu," she added.
The seasonal flu case fatality rate is 0.1%.
According to some specialists interviewed by AFP, these data on Covid could even be underestimated, due to the methods of counting cases and deaths which vary internationally.
This difference in deaths between the Covid and the flu can also be seen in the figures in France.
In the unconfined country, seasonal flu causes an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 deaths annually.
The Covid-19 has already caused more than 61,000 deaths in less than a year, with two confinements to limit this number.
We manage to design a vaccine against Covid, but not against AIDS?
This argument comes up often on Facebook, where we are surprised to see that the AIDS virus, which has existed for much longer than Sars-CoV-2, still does not know of a vaccine, although it took less one year to manufacture the one against Covid-19.
This can be explained by various factors.
First, the structure of these two viruses is very different.
That of HIV, the AIDS virus, makes it undetectable by an immune system, and causes it to mutate too quickly - rendering the use of a vaccine ineffective because its target is constantly changing.
Sars-CoV-2, on the other hand, resembles Sars-CoV-1, which has caused previous outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
“We had accumulated a lot of data on this virus.
We knew that the antibodies provided protection, ”explained Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, head of the infectious diseases department at Henri-Mondor hospital in Créteil, not long ago.
The structure of Sars-Cov-2 is therefore simpler and easier to fight.
Why was no vaccine against AIDS ever found, when it only took a few months for the Covid-19?
Another factor: the resources allocated.
Around the world, states and institutions have allocated billions of euros to research into vaccines against Covid-19, which has accelerated its design.
The manufacturing and validation processes have also been accelerated, while maintaining the same rigor.
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RNA technology, which is the basis of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, also makes them easier to mass-produce, which is why they are rapidly entering the market.
Messenger RNA vaccines are dangerous
A vaccine in which one component, RNA, comes close to and acts on DNA?
At first glance, this may seem dangerous.
This explains why, upon the announcement of the arrival of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna messenger RNA vaccines on the market, some people worried about seeing their DNA modified if they were administered these doses.
This will not be the case: the messenger RNA vaccine actually serves to tell cells how to make a specific protein for the coronavirus, and to teach the body to defend itself against it.
There is therefore no question of intervening on your genes.
There is "no risk that messenger RNA can have any action of epigenetic modification in a cell", explains the Covid-19 Federation, a group of doctors working on disinformation around the epidemic. and have an explanatory page on this vaccine.
This coronavirus is a laboratory creation / was released to wipe out the population
From the start of the epidemic, suspicions about the origin of the virus were born, both online and in the mouths of commentators on television sets.
What scientists can guarantee at this stage - including the Pasteur Institute in France - is that it is a natural virus, passed through bats and then another animal before infecting a first human being. .
The pangolin has long been considered a possible animal transmitter, before this thesis was dismissed because it lives in an ecosystem different from the bat.
However, doubts persist about contamination from animals to humans.
The hypothesis of the accidental escape of the virus is not formally ruled out.
“It could have been grown in the laboratory on cells or animals in order to understand how this virus is able to cross the species barrier.
However, the virology laboratory in Wuhan, the city where the epidemic broke out, has the techniques to work on this subject, ”virologist Etienne Decroly, of the CNRS, explained to us in November.
“Even if it turns out that an accident has occurred, it would not be a conspiracy,” he added.
The vaccine will contain nanoparticles / microchips to control us
This theory was notably relayed in the much watched - and much commented on - film "Hold-Up", which has raised many controversial voices about the pandemic.
The thesis developed there ensures that the Covid-19, and its vaccine, were designed to better control the population.
According to "Hold-Up", the vaccine would allow the insertion of nanoparticles making it possible to follow the movements of people and then to destroy them.
This plan would have been fomented by the powerful of this world, like the American billionaire Bill Gates.
This information includes real facts, such as the commitment of Bill Gates, through his charitable foundation, in favor of vaccination, particularly in developing countries.
They mix these facts with conspiracy theories already existing before the epidemic, such as the recurrent one of the existence of a secret society of powerful at work to destroy part of humanity.
Theories for which we have, at this stage, no formal proof.
Covid-19: “Hold-up”, behind the scenes of a well-organized coup
Between questions about the flu and questions about a global conspiracy, there is a gulf.
And for the psychosociologist Sylvain Delouvée, specialist in collective beliefs and social thought, all the false information discussed during the holidays will not deserve the same degree of response.
“If your mother-in-law says wrong things without consequences, you should ignore it.
If your brother-in-law tells you about reptilians or platism, amazing things, you can use irony.
On the other hand, when you are dealing with your sister who has conspiracy as a reading of reality, you have to accept the discussion, ”he sums up.
Expose your interlocutor to another point of view and redirect the discussion to more concrete questions about the pandemic, all without alienating him.
"We must not treat someone who is a madman or an idiot," recalls the teacher-researcher at the University of Rennes 2. "Whoever is in there is looking for meaning, he wants to be reassured, he wants to have an answer to everything about the pandemic which affects us all, ”he adds, adding that this approach also makes it possible to“ maintain social ties ”with all members of his family.
Which would not be too much for a Christmas following two confinements.