Covid-19, a novel coronavirus, is still wreaking havoc around the world, making people sick and causing fatalities. It is starting to affect people’s daily lives by causing event cancellations, a massive downturn in air travel and just general panic all around. It’s also causing a lot of misinformation to pop up.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to Covid-19 is to use common sense and not to panic.
To help quell the misinformation out there, we have compiled some myths and outright false information about Covid-19 along with some facts about it to help you navigate your way through the outbreak.
Myth: Covid-19 and coronavirus are the same thing.
No, they are not exactly the same thing.
Many media outlets are still referring to Covid-19 as simply “the coronavirus” or “the novel coronavirus,” but its name is Covid-19 and it is a type of coronavirus.
A coronavirus is a type of virus that causes sickness like common colds and flus, and also more serious illnesses like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
These types of viruses sometimes develop in animals and get transferred to humans.
A novel coronavirus is a coronavirus that has not been detected in humans before.
Covid-19 was a novel coronavirus that had not been detected in humans prior to December 2019. It’s name is a reference to it being a coronavirus (Covi) that was detected in humans for the first time in December (d) of 2019 (-19).
Myth: It is mutating into more deadly strains as it spreads.
There are currently two known strains of Covid-19 (an “L” strain and an “S” strain). While all coronaviruses will mutate over time, there is no evidence yet of Covid-19 mutating into deadlier strains as it makes its way around the world.
Myth: You will die if you contract Covid-19.
You will probably survive if you are healthy and have a strong immune system.
Fatalities attributed to Covid-19 are usually elderly people or people who have pre-existing health conditions that have made their immune systems weaker.
The currently estimated fatality rate for Covid-19 is about 1%, meaning that 1% of people who get it die from it. However, as it is a currently ongoing outbreak, that number can change over time.
This also means the vast majority of people who get it do recover from it. If you are healthy and your immune system is strong, you are not likely to die from Covid-19.
That doesn’t mean if you’re young and healthy that you should be less careful, though. Being careful means you won’t get the disease and if you don’t get it, you won’t pass it onto anyone else.
Myth: You can “kill” the virus inside your body with bleach, sesame oil, granite or some other way.
No, you can’t.
There is a lot of incorrect information about taking drastic measures like drinking bleach or drinking hot water or using sesame oil to kill the virus. These do not work and can be dangerous. You can disinfect your home with cleaners like bleach, but you should never ingest it under any circumstances.
Items like granite and types of seaweed have also been touted as cures or preventative measures, but this is also not true.
There is no cure for Covid-19. You cannot “kill” the virus if you have it and the best way to prevent getting it is by regular and correct handwashing, keeping your distance from sick people and avoiding touching your face.
If you happen to get it, your body will fight the virus and if you are healthy and your immune system is strong, it will likely eradicate the disease on its own over time.
If you receive emails or text messages talking about cures or things like free face masks, it is probably just online scammers trying to infect your device with malware.
The best thing you can do is follow the advice of your local healthcare professionals and stay up to date with what is happening in your area.
Myth: There is a vaccine for Covid-19 coming soon.
There is no vaccine for Covid-19 and although scientists around the world are working on a vaccine, there is no current timeframe for a vaccine and no other vaccines work for it. Your regular flu shot will not protect you from getting Covid-19.
Myth: Wearing a face mask is enough to protect yourself from getting Covid-19.
Face masks can help cut down the chances of you getting an air-borne respiratory disease like Covid-19, but they are not a surefire way to stop yourself or your kids from becoming ill.
Viruses can still enter your body through your eyes and microscopic viral particles can travel through masks.
If you are sick with it, wearing a mask can help prevent others around you from becoming ill. Therefore, it is imperative that healthcare workers and the patients they are dealing with have access to masks. This is why some governments have asked the general public not to stock up on masks.
They are probably not necessary when you are out in public.
The best way to protect yourself and your children from Covid-19 is to follow the advice of local health authorities and do the following:
Wash your hands.
By far the most important thing you can do is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol based hand cleanser, as this will kill any viruses on your hands. As a parent, teach your children to wash their hands frequently and to wash their hands the right way.
That means washing both the front and the back of your hands and between your fingers and scrubbing them for a full 20 seconds or more. You can teach your kids to sing a song that is about 20 seconds long to help them with their hand washing.
Maintain your distance.
If possible, stay at least three feet away from anyone coughing or sneezing because when they do, they are spraying out tiny droplets that may contain a virus that you can breathe in.
Anyone who is coughing or sneezing in public should do so into their sleeve or a tissue to avoid spreading anything they may have and then discarding the tissue immediately.
It is also a good idea to stay away from areas where Covid-19 has been detected and to stay away from large crowds, like at events.
Many events are being cancelled in the wake of the outbreak.
Be careful with your touching.
Try not to touch your face (especially your eyes, nose and mouth) with your hands and try to get your kids to stop touching their face. (Easier said than done, obviously.)
Your hands tend to touch a lot of things throughout the day and they can transfer viruses from surfaces to orifices in your body where viruses can get in and make you sick. It is difficult to stop yourself from touching your face, but try to do it.
Seek help the right way.
If you or your children feel unwell, especially with symptoms like fever, coughing and difficulty breathing, don’t go anywhere. Stay home and call your local health provider to see where you can go for treatment. They will have the most up-to-date information for your area and can direct you where to go for treatment.
This will help prevent the spread of the disease.
Listen to information from your local health authority about how to protect yourself. They will have the best information for your area. You can also keep up to date with Covid-19 on a global scale with the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Check with your employer about any precautions they are taking. Some companies are having their employees work from home.
Unfortunately, when tragedy like a new pandemic strikes, people are quick to start spreading false information. But, by listening to your local healthcare professionals and maintaining common sense, you can keep yourself and your children safe during the Covid-19 outbreak.