Irving Primary Care

Busting the 5 Most Common Coronavirus Myths

The internet is rife with endless discussions revolving around the coronavirus which has caused endless havoc on an unprecedented scale. This has naturally given rise to a flood of information including stories, narratives, and of course – myths.

It is important to separate fact from fiction because failure to do so could lead to the virus spreading unchecked. Here are the 5 most common myths about COVID-19 everyone should stop believing.

Myth #1: It’s Like the Flu

This is simply not true. To measure just how fast a virus can spread, scientists calculate its ‘reproduction number’ or R0. In the case of COVID-19, the virus that causes COVID-19, it is estimated at about 2.2. Which means that a single person can spread it to 2.2 others on average. The flu has an R0 of 1.3, which means it can never escalate to the level of a global pandemic.

More importantly, our population simply does not have herd immunity to the virus and we don’t have a vaccine yet. This means that once the virus makes its way into a new host, it will likely run its course and in the worst case scenario, causing respiratory failure leading to death. 

Myth #2: The Virus Was Made in a Lab

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 was made in a lab.  It closely resembles two other coronaviruses that triggered previous outbreaks, but all three of them seem to have originated in bats. In other words, the COVID-19 has a similar modus operandi to other naturally occurring coronaviruses that transmit from animals to humans.

Myth #3: COVID-19 Has a 100% Mortality Rate

COVID-19 is not a death sentence. Based on a report published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 81% of people with the virus will develop mild cases of COVID-19. About 13.8% of infected people will report severe cases in which they will experience shortness of breath or require ventilators.

Only 4.7% will face multi-organ failure, respiratory failure, and septic shock. Furthermore, the World Health Organization estimates the mortality rate for COVID-19 to be at 3.4% as of March 3. At-risk populations include older people with compromised immune systems.

Myth #4: Kids Cannot Catch the Coronavirus

There have been many reported cases of children catching the coronavirus, albeit on a much smaller scale. That being said, recent studies suggest that children are just as likely as adults to catch and develop the full symptoms COVID-19. When they do become affected, children seem less likely to develop serious symptoms.

Myth #5: Shipments from China are Not Safe

According to researchers and the WHO, it is safe to receive letters and packages from China. Recent data has found that coronaviruses, including COVID-19, do not survive for long on objects such as letters and packages. This finding may seem to be in conflict with what is already known about the virus surviving on surfaces such as glass, plastic, and metal where it can live for up to 9 days.

But packaging material simply doesn’t present the ideal surface for the virus to survive. The virus needs a very specific set of conditions to survive; this includes UV exposure, humidity, and temperature – a combo they likely won’t find in shipment packages. 

How Should We Stay Safe?

The CDC has recommended a few simple measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, these include:

  • not touching the face, especially after touching other surfaces
  • staying at home as much as possible
  • sneezing into a tissue and discard
  • sneezing into the crook of your elbow if you don’t have a tissue
  • washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds, especially after touching someone or something

The tips above may seem simplistic, but they are the best way to make a difference during an epidemic. 

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