Misinformation about coronavirus has been creating fear as well as provoking unacceptable bad behaviors and actions. This makes it harder to keep everyone healthy, especially from a new virus that we are continually learning about. We all must do our part to reduce and respond to the social stigma that is associated with COVID-19. Below are some reliable resources to utilize and share.
Unless stated, the majority of the following myths below come from: WHO - COVID-19 Mythbusters
These myths listed below are FALSE and common misconceptions regarding the coronavirus.
"Cloth face coverings will decrease your oxygen levels."
Cloth face coverings are not airtight, which will not keep you from breathing or getting oxygen. If you ever feel like you’re having trouble breathing, remove the cloth face covering and sit down to recollect. Call 911 if the feeling persists.
Reference: Don't be fooled by COVID-19 misinformation
"There are now licensed drugs such as hydroxychloroquine for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19."
While there are several ongoing drug trials to develop and evaluate various medicines, hydroxychloroquine and other drugs should not be used for COVID-19 treatment. Serious side effects, illness, and even death can occur from the misuse of these drugs.
This myth is also proven false by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where they caution on many misleading drug products to treat COVID-19. The FDA will continuously monitor in-store and online retailers to remove these from their selections. The following link provides more details:
"If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort, you are free from the coronavirus or any other lung disease."
This breathing exercise does not test if you have COVID-19 and is not to be practiced. The most clinically-proven and effective test to confirm if you have the virus is with a laboratory test. The following are the most common symptoms of COVID-19: dry cough, difficulty breathing, and fever. There are also severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia, that can occur in individuals.
"If people wear masks, they do not have to practice social distancing or hand hygiene."
Wearing masks alone is not as effective as when they are used in conjunction with social distancing, frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing, as well as disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. No one preventative measure alone is sufficient.
Reference: About Masks - CDC
"Older people are more susceptible to the coronavirus than younger people."
People of ALL ages can contract COVID-19, which is why everyone needs to follow the evidence-based guidelines to protect themselves. Older people, especially with pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes, heart disease), seem to be more at high risk for getting the disease.
"Masks are not effective at viral transmission."
Wearing a mask serves as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people, which greatly mitigates the risk of COVID-19 infection. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth in order for them to be effective at preventing viral transmission. The use of masks is especially important where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
There are many research studies that prove mask effectiveness. For example, this Lancet research article shows that wearing a mask is more than 5 times effective at preventing viral spread than not wearing one.
"COVID-19 is spread easily from pets to people."
Although there have been a small number of reported cases of pets worldwide contracting the COVID-19 virus, it is not easy for people to get the disease from pets. However, do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. Social distancing does apply to pets as it is possible for people to spread COVID-19 to pets.
Reference: Don't be fooled by COVID-19 misinformation
"The best way to prevent the coronavirus disease is if you expose yourself to the sun or to hotter temperatures as this disease cannot survive in these temperatures."
The disease can be transmitted in ALL areas regardless of the temperature and weather. There are countries with hot climates who have reported cases of COVID-19. Please see the following link of COVID-19 transmission worldwide in real-time: https://ncov2019.live/data
The best preventative ways are regular hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face, including your eyes, mouth, and nose.
"Those who contract COVID-19 will have the disease for life."
You can recover from COVID-19 as most of the people who catch the disease, eliminate it entirely from their bodies thanks to supportive and reliable health care. It is important to seek medical care early if you experience any of the most common symptoms of the virus.
"Antibiotics are an effective treatment and preventative measure for COVID-19."
Antibiotics only treat bacteria and not viruses, which coronavirus is a type of virus. Antibiotics should not be used to treat and prevent COVID-19. However, antibiotics may be used per medical discretion if you are hospitalized for the virus since bacterial co-infection is possible.
"Adding peppers to meals prevents and cures COVID-19."
Hot peppers in your food cannot prevent and cure COVID-19. The best ways to prevent the coronavirus disease is regular and thorough hand washing, avoiding touching your face, and maintaining at least 6 feet away from others. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is another preventative measure, which includes having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and having
"Vaccines against pneumonia protect you from contracting the disease."
There is currently no vaccine that is effective to protect you from the coronavirus. There is still much to be learned about this disease since it is very new and different. However, researchers are currently working to develop a vaccine. Although there is no COVID-19 vaccine, continue with routine vaccinations to protect yours and the communities’ health.
"Disinfectant injections are a cure for COVID-19."
Disinfectants are only to be used for cleaning non-human surfaces in line with usage guidelines. Under no circumstance should a disinfectant be administered into the human body as a COVID-19 treatment. There is no scientific evidence that supports this myth.
"People do not need to wear masks."
The only exceptions for those who do not need to wear masks include:
Children younger than 2 years old.
Anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapcitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Anyone with a disability that makes it hard for them to wear or remove a mask.
Anyone who is deaf and moves their face and mouth to communicate
Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a mask because of personal health issues.