Breaking down Coronavirus: Addressing myths and some helpful tips

Zach Yearwood

Over the past month or so, the world has been keeping a close eye on a new strain of a virus which has spread faster than wildfire. Since the first reported case in Wuhan, China towards the end of 2019, the virus has infected over 93,000 people in 78 different countries.

Courtesy of the CDC.

Misinformation appears to spread even more rapidly than the virus. There have been several myths and theories surrounding COVID-19; here are just a few of those myths.

Myth #1: Coronavirus is a man-made virus.

Per MIT’s Medical Institute, COVID-19 – the medical name for the virus – is “the same type of coronavirus as MERS and SARS, both of which originated in bats.”  

A bat.

Many of the first cases came from people who frequented a live-animal market in Wuhan, meaning it is likely zoonotic – transferred from animals.

Myth #2: I should stop accepting packages from China to minimize Coronavirus risk.

There is no evidence to suggest that people receiving packages from China are at risk, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Although the virus can last between several hours and several days, it is not likely to survive multiple conditions and temperatures.

Myth #3: Gargling or swallowing bleach will make me immune to the virus.

No. Absolutely, completely false. DO NOT DRINK BLEACH. You can die.

Do NOT drink bleach. You will die.

Myth #4: Wearing a mask while healthy will help stop me from catching the Coronavirus

If healthy, the CDC recommends you should not wear a mask unless treating someone with the virus. Even then, there is no guarantee that you won’t catch it. Otherwise, you should only be wearing masks if you are sneezing and/or coughing. Still, masks are only effective in combination with thorough and frequent hand-cleaning.

Avoid touching the mask while wearing it. When removing it, take it off from behind and do not touch the front.

Tips to help reduce risk

Tip #1: Wash your hands

This has been repeated ad nauseum but cannot be repeated enough. Frequently washing your hands is the best way to keep yourself safe. Use an alcohol-based soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Tip #2: Clean surfaces in your home

It is possible for the virus to make its way into your home through contact with other surfaces. The best way to avoid the virus getting in your home and spreading, wipe surfaces that you touch often with disinfectants.

Tip #3: Don’t hoard masks

Masks aren’t necessarily effective, especially for those who are healthy. Keeping multiple boxes for yourself isn’t helpful for you or anyone else. The more masks you have, the fewer there are for everyone else in the community. This means fewer masks for those who may actually need them.

Tip #4: Don’t be racist

This one should be obvious. COVID-19’s Chinese origin is not an excuse to avoid Asian people or cover your face when you see someone that “looks Chinese” cough. The virus does not target specific racial or ethnic groups. Instead of promoting stigma surrounding the disease, learn the facts and share them.


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