Theories about how the coronavirus can spread varies across 16 countries with some myths holding more prominence in regions like emerging markets, according to the latest survey by Ipsos.
In a global poll of nearly 16,000 people conducted from May 28 to 31, more people believe COVID-19 can live up to three days on surfaces over all other theories presented with a majority of respondents saying this is true in 11 of the countries.
People in Canada and the United Kingdom (69%), Australia (66%), Spain and Brazil (61%) are most likely to believe this, while those in China (32%), India (26%), Germany and South Korea (25%) and Italy (24%) are most likely to say it’s false.
But at the same time, people are more divided on whether COVID-19 can be spread by boxes and packages sent from other countries where the virus is present.
Respondents in emerging markets of India (54%), South Africa (50%), Brazil (45%) and China (42%) are most likely to believe this, while those in Italy (66%), Russia (61%) and Germany (55%) are most likely to disagree.
In terms of treatment for COVID-19, a majority of people in 11 countries do not believe that hydroxychloroquine is a cure for the virus with those in Canada and the U.K. (80%), Australia (73%), the United States (69%) and Spain (67%) most likely to say this is false. But people in India (37%) are mostly likely to believe the drug is a cure for the illness. Indians are also among the most likely to say that if a test for antibodies shows you have already been exposed to COVID-19, you cannot get the virus again. Those in Germany are also mostly likely to say this is true at 28%, followed by 20% in Russia. Meanwhile, those in South Korea (70%), Japan and China (68%) are most likely to say this is false.
When it comes to myths around exposure to the sun and temperatures to prevent contraction of COVID-19, people in India (35%), Russia (29%) and South Africa (27%) are most likely to believe this, while those in the U.K. (73%), Canada (70%) and Australia (63%) are most likely to say this is false.
In terms of human transmission, a majority of people in all the countries disagree with the theory that children cannot get COVID-19 with this sentiment highest in the U.K. (93%) and Canada (91%). Mexico is the only country where nearly one in five (17%) say this is true.
People are more divided on whether pets can transmit the virus to humans. Those in hard-hit countries like Italy (83%), France (60%) and Spain (59%), followed by Mexico (58%) and Brazil (56%) are most likely to say this is false, while more than a third of respondents in Asian nations of China (40%), India (36%), South Korea (35%) and Japan (33%) said it is true.
When it comes to what you can eat to prevent infection, people in India (34%) and South Africa (14%) are most likely to say that eating garlic protects against infection of COVID-19. But, a majority of people in 15 countries said this is not true.
Lastly, there is consensus that 5G mobile technology cannot spread COVID-19 with a majority in all 16 countries saying this is false. People in the U.K. (88%), Canada (84%) and Germany (82%) top the list on this.