COVID-19: Separating Myths from Facts

With COVID-19 affecting millions of people worldwide, it is important to separate facts from myths. In this article, we debunk various myths surrounding this virus and reveal the facts behind them.

Myth: It’s referred to as Wuhan Coronavirus because it happened there and only affects those who live in that area or are of Asian descent.

Fact: In the beginning, some people referred to the novel coronavirus as Wuhan Coronavirus. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the virus as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease as coronavirus disease (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of the ongoing pandemic COVID-19.

People of all ethnicities, genders, and ages – no matter where they live – can be infected by COVID-19.


Myth: I should avoid all contact from those of Asian descent as they are the primary cause of the disease.

Fact: No matter their ethnicity, all individuals can be susceptible to COVID-19. You should not be afraid to be in the vicinity of or coming into contact with someone who is of Asian descent.


Myth: Social distancing does not apply to young and healthy individuals.

Fact: It is a statistical fact that young people are less likely to die from COVID-19. Global mortality figures show that the elderly are at greatest risk, along with those who have underlying chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.

However, the problem with ignoring the social distancing guideline is that everyone is a potential source of infection. When younger individuals catch the disease, they probably won’t die from it; however, they can easily transmit it to vulnerable individuals. This means that all of us need to avoid going to mass gatherings and maintain social distancing (of at least 6 feet).


Myth: Vaccines against pneumonia can protect against COVID-19.

Fact: Vaccines against pneumonia, or any other illness, do not provide any protection against COVID-19. Currently, there are no vaccines or cure for the disease. Researchers are still in the process of developing a vaccine.


Myth: Wearing a mask will definitely protect me from the virus.

Fact: While wearing certain types of masks can protect health care workers while they care for infected patients, it is not recommended for the general public. Also, unless you have been told by your doctor that you should wear a mask due to a chronic medical condition, masks are not necessary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that only people having symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, or coughing should wear a mask. If you are healthy, you do not necessarily require a mask.

Here are some general mask-wearing guidelines:

  • If you are healthy, you only have to wear a mask if you are taking care of someone who is suspected to have COVID-19
  • Wear a mask if you are sneezing, coughing, or if you have a runny nose
  • For a mask to be effective, you should also wash your hands properly and frequently
  • If you wear a mask, make sure to use and dispose of it properly

Myth: Gargling bleach or drinking excessive amounts of water can ‘flush out’ the virus and protect you against COVID-19.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to back these claims. Good hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing and social distancing can help reduce your risk of infection.


Myth: Frequently using a saline rinse for your nose will help prevent infection.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence that proves that frequently rinsing your nose with saline can protect you against COVID-19. There is some limited evidence suggesting that regularly rinsing the nose with saline can help some people recover more quickly from the common cold; however, it does not prevent respiratory infections.


Myth: COVID-19 can be transmitted through mosquito bites.

Fact: To date, there is no evidence suggesting that COVID-19 can be transmitted through mosquitos. The new coronavirus primarily spreads through the droplets generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs, or through discharge from the nose or droplets of saliva. To protect yourself, wash your hands regularly with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is sneezing or coughing.


Myth: My doctor can immediately test me for COVID-19 if I am worried about possibly having the virus.

Fact: At this time, it is recommended that doctors test for COVID-19 only if the individual is exhibiting its symptoms, have traveled to areas with widespread transmission, or have had contact with a person under investigation (PUI) or known to have COVID-19.


Myth: Hand dryers can successfully kill the new coronavirus.

Fact: Hand dryers does not protect you against COVID-9; however, frequently washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub can.


Myth: COVID-19 cannot be transmitted in areas with warm climates.

Fact: Current evidence shows that COVID-19 can be transmitted in all areas, including those with warmer climates. Regardless of weather, it is important that you take all precautionary measures – particularly if you live in or travel to an area with suspected or report COVID-19 cases. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently and thoroughly washing your hands.


Myth: Taking a hot bath (with very hot water) can prevent the new coronavirus.

Fact: Taking a hot bath will not protect you against COVID-19. Regardless of the temperature of your shower or bath, your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C. In fact, taking a hot bath with very hot water can be dangerous, as it can burn you.


Myth: Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body can effectively kill the new coronavirus.

Fact: Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses (including the coronavirus) that have already entered your body. In fact, spraying such substances can be harmful to your mucous membranes and your clothes. However, when used properly, both alcohol and chlorine can be used to disinfect surfaces.


The Bottom Line

Misinformation is like a virus.

Check your references and your assumptions. Also, don’t believe everything that you read, see, or hear – particularly on social media.

When it comes to information about COVID-19, you should only trust information from reputable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), or reliable national sources like the Philippine Department of Health‎ (DOH).

Stay Safe Everyone!

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