The world is desperate for a cure for COVID-19.

And for a magic bullet that will surely, without a doubt, keep us healthy and safe in the meantime. Something easier and less inconvenient than hand washing, social distancing and self- isolation.

Ultimately, underneath it all, we’re desperate for hope. And when hope is at a premium, it seems to be human nature to grasp at straws.

Straws such as:

• If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without experiencing any discomfort or respiratory distress, it’s a sure sign that you don’t have COVID-19. (It’s not.)

• Inhaling smoke and gas from fireworks and firecrackers will prevent COVID-19. (Seriously? It won’t — and it’s dangerous.)

• Slathering yourself with sesame oil will keep the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 from entering your body or, alternately, the oil will kill the virus. (Nope.)

• Eating garlic, gargling with mouthwash, rinsing your nose with a saline solution and/or drinking plenty of water will protect you from COVID-19. (Again, nope — even though these are good ideas in general).

If there was an easy answer, we would know it. And it would come from a reputable source.

Remember these names: On the federal level, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. Locally, the name to remember is Dr. Philip Keiser, the local health authority for Galveston County. These are sources you can trust.

Add the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the University of Texas Medical Branch to the list, as well.

Look for directives from reputable hospitals and health-based nonprofit organizations. And for information responsibly sourced and properly attributed by trusted national and local news organizations.

Even when it comes to local politicians, doctors, police and other first responders, remember that they, while acting in your best interest, also are acting on information that often has trickled down through layers. Trust, but be aware of what you are hearing from the larger sources.

The one place not to look for concrete information is social media. Use Facebook and other platforms to reach out to one another, to check on friends and family, to share inspirational quotes and stories — all that good and necessary stuff that swaddles us in a much-needed blanket of support and camaraderie.

Also on social media, read and share medical news from — and this is key — the actual authorities. No matter how official something looks or sounds, question it. Be wary, critical even. Look beyond the post to the source.

If a reputable news/medical source is posting on social media, it most likely will already have provided the information on its own website. Look for it. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, every other week something circulated on social media “from the Mayo Clinic” that most of the time left the actual Mayo Clinic scratching its head and going, “Huh?”

These are worrisome times, no doubt. But grasping for straws masquerading as sound medical advice won’t allay any fears. It is the stress-intensifying antithesis of the self-care we’ve all been told to practice to keep us mentally and emotionally well as we work to flatten the curve and beat this beast into submission.

Meanwhile, here’s some advice you can trust: Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

• Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner: 409.683.5227;

Deputy Managing Editor

Margaret joined The Daily New in December 2019, bringing more than 20 years of editorial experience to the team. A Philadelphia native, she lives in Galveston County with her husband, Steve, and their dog Nanook.

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(25) comments

Ray Taft

We should extend this advice to not to listen to false tales to those who spread false tales about President Trump and his team’s efforts to combat the coronavirus.

That would include Speaker Pelosi, her band of do-nothing Democrats in Congress and the MSM. Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress have repeatedly tried to undermine/take-out Trump from the start. Whatever Trump is for, they’re against no matter the cost to the American people.

In Congress, Pelosi held up the coronavirus relief bill for political purposes. Pelosi marched in San Francisco’s Chinatown back in January asking everyone to come there when Trump stopped travel from China. Pelosi tore-up Trump’s State of the Union address, calling it all lies, and in it Trump warned America about the coronavirus. And the MSM is on their side and covers for Pelosi and the damn Democrats.

They are all trying to spin a false narrative just to undermine Trump for political reasons. They are working against the American people as we struggle to beat the coronavirus. Democrats should be working to help America, not hate America, and not out to score points to try to beat down President Trump.

Without any doubt, Democrats and the MSM are not to be trusted and, they are the enemy of the people.

Bailey Jones

lol. Your familiar bile is an inspiration, Ray. A beacon of partisan permanence in these uncertain times.

Gary Scoggin

Thanks Ray for this partisan slant on a useful message. It really contributes to the public good.

Raymond Lewis

What on Pluto does any of this have to do with the writer's article??

Ray Taft

Hello Raymond. This is the planet earth where Democrats and their puppet media minions give everything a political spin. So once in awhile, we-the-people need to push back with some coherent common-sense thoughts.

Raymond Lewis

It appears (following this article) it was you, Mr. Taft, that added the unnecessary political spin about a virus that could care less about any of our beliefs.

Linda Garcia


Bailey Jones


Jim Forsythe

Ray, what does what you posted have to do with the story that Margaret penned.

In your attempt to make it about politics you have tried to cause friction between Americans, which has no place at this time. If you want to debate politics, start your own thread about it with a letter to the editor.

Ray Taft

Do you live in an alternate realty where you can pretend the MSM and Democrats are not political partisans?

Ray Taft

Or do you feel that the MSM and Democrats can do and say anything they like because they’re your comrades?

Ray Taft

Or do you feel that if someone writes something disagreeable to you they need to go elsewhere so you’re not disturbed?

Jim Forsythe

f you want to debate politics, start your own thread about it with a letter to the editor.

Ray Taft

I’ll comment on the articles in TDN anyway I feel is appropriate. If it doesn’t fit into your scheme of things, too bad for you and all your PC comrades.

Kelly Naschke

Who are you to be telling people where they should post? are one of the contributors that many of us roll our eyes at when we see your name. Now be a good little boy and come up with some long winded, cut and paste riddled, diatribe about the relevance of YOUR ideals.....

Jim Forsythe

If you want to debate politics, start your own thread about it with a letter to the editor.

Dan Freeman

Not going to happen. How can you write a letter to the editor, if you cannot have a coherent thought?

Ray Taft

I’ll comment on the articles in TDN anyway I feel is appropriate. If it doesn’t fit into your scheme of things, too bad for you and all your PC comrades.

Ray Taft

Freeman, my thoughts are coherent, but you can’t see it because you’re blinded by your PC leftist-democratic talking-points’ view of all things.

If you actually read it with an open mind, it might open your eyes and set you free.

Kelly Naschke

Hey Dan....wait until the next election when you get spanked AGAIN. There are many of us that share Mr Taft’s idealogy and see through the smoke and mirrors of the Democrats and media. Many of us also think that those that can’t see through the smoke and mirrors are about as sharp as a bowling ball.....

Jim Forsythe

Kelly, what does that have to do with the story that Margaret penned. This is about how do we spread out the number of sick, so as not to overwhelm our medical system.

Is the President in with the Democrats with his warnings about what will happen if we, all of us, do not do what is needed and Is the Governor of Texas also in on this with the Democrats? Now is not time to worry about they did this, so this try and bring it up every chance, to distract from the issues at hand. Florida is now projected to be the next hotspot because the Governor refused to take action until it is to late to minimize the numbers.

Ray Taft

Hey Jim. In your conspiracy you left out the Chi-Coms. They started this whole thing, and if anyone is in leaque with them I feel it would be the socialist Democrats.

Cary Semar

Ray Taft is not a reliable source.

Ray Taft

Hey Gary, it’s called opinion. And my opinion is just as reliable as yours and all your PC liberal Democrat buddies whether you like it or not.

Charles Douglas

My day has not been going as I wanted it to. I have been scavenging all around this area like one would in a third world nation to find some things, but to no avail! Know why? Hoarders!!! The Communist Chinese were over there experimenting with BACTERIAL WARFARE, and they could not contain their viruses or did not want to contain them and their mistakes spread to the WORLD! They did not even try to notify other nations in a responsible, timely manner as to what happened. They did not try to stop Chinese citizens who were exposed from flying out to the rest of the world exposing others! Anybody with eyes can see this, but we have those who don't want that information and truth to get out! You might ask why? I will tell you, MONEY!!!!! They love it and will sell family members to get it if necessary! I want to say also that since I just read Mr. Taft and Mr. Naschke's posts, ....I feel like an AMERICAN again! I feel like there are still Patriots left here who are not ready to give what young brave Americans have been paying interest on by fighting, sacrificing for, and dying for in every war ever fought by this nation so our people could live and exist like free people! Everytime I look up and see where Communist China who hates the air we breathe are handling our medicines, our penicillin supplies, and are spoon feeding us things WE NEED in order to survive, it makes me wonder where have we come to. We should be better than this! I read on this forum last night where a lady posted a column about our Constitutional Rights being infringed on, and somebody called her a MORON for doing so! First of all where I was raised, real men would not ever call a female a MORON ..for expressing her opinion afforded to all of us by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who fought to give us that right! Second of all ...nobody said anything! I have just stepped up concerning that issue. Lastly, I would like to say that Mr. Taft and Mr. Naschke are not "busy" posters on this forum, but....but... I notice when they DO post.....they SWING for the fences!!!!!!!!!!!

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