Skip to main content

COVID-19: Facts vs. Myths

As the coronavirus continues to make the news, a host of untruths has surrounded the topic. Lets take a look at some myths.

1. Coronavirus can be transmitted by food or food packages

Fact: According to the UF/IFAS scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture say, “Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19,” including imported foods and materials.

2. Spraying chlorine or alcohol on skin kills viruses in the body

Fact: People can use these chemicals to disinfect surfaces, they should not use them on skin. These products cannot kill viruses within the body.

3. Only older adults are at risk

Fact: Coronaviruses, can infect people of any age. However, older adults or individuals with preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, are more likely to become severely ill.

4. Cats and dogs spread coronavirus

Fact: Currently, there is little evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can infect cats and dogs. However, in Hong Kong, a Pomeranian whose owner had COVID-19 became infected. The dog did not display any symptoms.The real driver of the outbreak is humans.

5. Face masks protect against coronavirus

Fact: Healthcare workers use professional face masks, which fit tightly around the face, to protect them against infection. However, disposable face masks are unlikely to provide such protection.However, if someone has a respiratory illness, wearing a mask can help protect others from becoming infected.Also, when using a mask, it is important to use it and dispose of it properly.

6. Hand dryers kill coronavirus

Fact: Hand dryers do not kill coronavirus. The best way to protect yourself and others from the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

7. You have to be with someone for 10 minutes to catch the virus

Fact: The longer someone is with an infected person, the more likely they are to catch the virus, but it is still possible to catch it in less than 10 minutes.

8. Antibiotics kill coronavirus

Fact: Antibiotics only kill bacteria; they do not kill viruses.

9. Thermal scanners can diagnose coronavirus

Fact: Thermal scanners can detect whether someone has a fever. However, other conditions, such as seasonal flu, can also produce fever. In addition, symptoms of COVID-19 can appear 2–10 days after infection, which means that someone infected with the virus could have a normal temperature for a few days before a fever begins.

10. Garlic protects against coronaviruses

Fact: Some research suggests that garlic might slow the growth of some species of bacteria. However, COVID-19 is caused by a virus, and there is no evidence that garlic can protect people against COVID-19.

11. The virus will die off when temperatures rise in the spring

Fact: Some viruses, such as cold and flu viruses, do spread more easily in the colder months, but that does not mean that they stop entirely when conditions become milder. As it stands, scientists do not know how temperature changes will influence the behavior of SARS-CoV-2.

12. Flu and pneumonia vaccines protect against COVID-19

Fact: As SARS-CoV-2 is different than other viruses, no existing vaccines protect against infection.

13. The virus originated in a laboratory in China

Fact: Despite the swathes of internet rumors, there is no evidence that this is the case. In fact, a recent study demonstrates that the virus is a natural product of evolution. Some researchers believe that SARS-CoV-2 may have jumped from pangolins to humans. Others think that it might have passed to us from bats, which was the case for SARS.

14. Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 77 F degrees prevent the coronavirus disease

Fact: You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19. To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

15. Catching the new coronavirus means you will have it for life

Fact: Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you catch the disease, make sure you treat your symptoms. If you have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early – but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

16. Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort mean you are free from the coronavirus

Fact: The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have  the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test.  You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

17. Taking a hot bath prevent the new coronavirus disease

Fact: Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

18. The new coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites.

Fact: To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

19. There are some medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus

Fact: To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials.

Sources: Medical News Today     Citrus Industry      World Health Organization