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Debunking Myths: COVID-19

Updated: Jul 21, 2020



COVID-19. The reason why you've been stuck at home for weeks. Nobody is really sure about what to do right now. The hospitals are overwhelmed, restaurants are closing, and grocery store aisles lay barren (especially the toilet paper aisles – I mean how much toilet paper could one use?). It can be easy to assume things or listen to rumors, especially if you don't know what's going on. Read on to find out what you should and shouldn't believe.


Myth #1: I'm young. This won't affect me!

According to the CDC, older adults and those with underlying health issues make up most of the current cases, especially those that are severe. However, it does not mean that you should take any less precaution.


By practicing social distancing and continuing to wash your hands, you are decreasing the chances that you will become a virus carrier. Even if you don't feel sick, it still means that you can be sick. And what's worse than walking around and infecting your friends and family?


Your parents and grandparents are at risk. Your neighbor who has diabetes is at risk. You know your friend from basketball? Well his mom is currently going through chemotherapy (which kills both cancer cells and immune cells) and is now immunocompromised. All of these people have a much higher chance of developing severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing. So yes, this will affect you.


Myth #2: COVID-19 is just the flu. People should stop freaking out.

You may have heard this from your friends or family. I know I have. However, COVID-19 is more severe than the flu, with a mortality rate of about 3.4% compared to the 1% for influenza.


Additionally, the flu has been around long enough for us to understand it and develop a vaccine. Scientists have even realized that the flu strain mutates every year and have anticipated on creating a new vaccine annually. On the other hand, this strain of COVID-19 has never been seen before, or at least it hasn't reached this particular magnitude. As of April, 2020, there is no vaccine or specific treatment, so it cannot be repressed as easily as the flu.


However, do not fret. There are currently clinical trials being run, and more than 20 vaccines are in the making.


Myth #3: 5G mobile networks can spread coronavirus!

What? How does that make sense? Viruses cannot travel on radio waves, and it's been spreading in countries that do not have 5G mobile networks. So far, the only confirmed modes of transmission are through respiratory droplets or touching a contaminated surface and then your face.


Myth #4: If I can hold my breath for 10 seconds, then I'm healthy.

This rumor originated somewhere on Whatsapp or TikTok, so you can pretty much decide from there where this is going to go.


The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness, and fever. More severe symptoms include pneumonia, however by the time you have exhibited it, you likely will have experienced the other symptoms. The best way to confirm an infection is with a laboratory test. You can find testing centers here.


Myth #5: Hand dryers are effective in killing COVID-19.

Hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19. To kill the virus, scientists had to heat it for 15 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius (197 degrees Fahrenheit), which is far higher than a hand dryer or hair dryer. Don't try it at home, kids.


Make sure you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) or wash your hands with soap and water to protect yourself against the coronavirus. Not hand dryers!

Myth #6: Antibiotics can be used to treat the coronavirus.

False. The coronavirus is a virus, and antibiotics only work against bacteria, not viruses. However, if you're hospitalized, you may receive antibiotics to treat bacterial co-infection.



We'll get through this, guys!


Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#Coronavirus-Disease-2019-Basics

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html

https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---3-march-2020

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-heat-kill-virus-1498074


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