Tall Tales of COVID-19

8 Coronavirus Myths Debunked

People’s lives have changed in drastic ways because of this virus that has swept the world. However, the rumors about the virus seem to be spreading faster than the virus itself. These rumors are a response to the fear also sweeping the planet. In times like this, it is especially important to separate myth from truth.


1. Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more means you do not have COVID-19

While the virus has symptoms affecting your lungs, holding your breath is not a safe way or viable way to determine whether or not you have the disease, according to the World Health Organization. In fact, these breathing exercises can be dangerous, and the best way to confirm if you have the virus is with a laboratory test.


2. You are far less likely to get COVID-19 than you are to get the flu.

Not really, as a scientist has calculated its “basic reproduction number” (R0) a number predicting the number of people who can catch a given bug from one infected person. The estimated  R0 for COVID-19 is between 2 and 3 according to a study on February 28th by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which is higher than the R0 of the flu, which is 1.3, according to the New York Times. More importantly, no vaccine currently exists to prevent COVID-19, while there is a vaccine for seasonal flu.


3. Getting COVID-19 means you’re going to die from it.

Not at all. According to an article posted by Live Science on March 10th, about 81% of people who get the disease have mild symptoms. Approximately 13.8%of people have reported severe illness, and about 4.7% are in critical condition. So far, evidence suggests that only around 2.3% of people who get the virus die from it, and even then, the people who do die have other health complications.


4. Children cannot get the virus.

Sure they can; however, they are less likely to have severe symptoms, or any symptoms at all according to the World Health Organization.


5. You will know if you have the coronavirus.

Nope. According to Marion Public Health, early on, you may show no symptoms at all. Plus, many of the symptoms are those of the flu, common cold, and other respiratory illnesses, so the only way to know if you have the disease is medical testing.


6. COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu.

If you pay attention to the news, it appears that the virus is more deadly than the flu. Although, nothing is really known for certain about the mortality rate of the virus. According to the CDC, the mortality rate of the flu in 2019 was about 0.1%. While there is not a definite number, the mortality rate for Coronavirus seems to be around 2.3% according to the CDC Along with this, there is the fact that the flu tends to be more seasonal, and the coronavirus doesn’t care about the weather. 


7. Everyone should wear masks.

On April 3rd, President Trump announced that people should wear “nonmedical, cloth” masks in public. Previously, the CDC advised that only the sick and people caring for the sick should be wearing masks. Now, with people buying all the masks they can find, it is starting to become more difficult for doctors and nurses on the front lines to have masks. Wearing masks is not necessarily a bad idea, and may be more effective, but make masks yourself so the people who really need them can have them.


8. Wear gloves when you go outside.

Dr. Esper, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s hospital says that wearing gloves is “probably not effective” in preventing the spreading of the virus. “Because then what are you doing with them? Eventually, the gloves themselves become contaminated,” Esper said.

Cody Meissner, M.D., chief of the division of pediatric infectious disease at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases said that most gloves have very small holes in them anyway and “Just simple hand washing with soap and water is the most time-tested and the most effective intervention.”

All in all, despite the difficult time that everyone is in, it is important to recognize the facts. At the same time, it is also important to stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy.