Coronavirus Fact vs. Fiction
With different reports coming out every day on coronavirus (COVID-19), it is easy to be confused by myths. Below, we go through seven of the most common myths surrounding COVID-19.
- Myth: If I get the flu or pneumonia vaccine, I will be more protected from COVID-19. Reality: While you should get these vaccines to protect yourself against the flu and respiratory illnesses, these vaccines will not provide protection against contracting COVID-19. Researchers are in the process of developing a vaccine for COVID-19, but this will likely take some time to approve. In the meantime, continue to use proper hygiene by washing your hands frequently, sanitizing commonly used objects and coughing or sneezing into tissue that is immediately thrown away.
- Myth: Antibiotics can prevent me from catching COVID-19. Reality: Antibiotics will not help prevent any type of virus, including COVID-19. Antibiotics only work against the fight of bacteria — not viruses
- Myth: I need to buy a surgical mask or N95 respirator to protect myself. Reality: A mask is a good way to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms. However, you should not be purchasing N95 respirators or surgical face masks. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. When you are going out in public, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission of COVID-19. Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. Be sure to wash your hands after handling used masks and avoid touching your eyes, nose and face when removing or putting on your mask. It is important to note that these face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. For more information on cloth face coverings, visit the CDC’s guidelines.
- Myth: I shouldn’t get letters or packages from China because it may have COVID-19 on it. Reality: You can still receive packages and letters without worrying that you may contract COVID-19. According to the CDC, while it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching an object that has the virus on it and touching your eyes, nose or mouth, it is not thought to be the main way the virus is spread.
- Myth: Only elderly people are affected by COVID-19. I don’t need to worry about my child catching it. Reality: The virus can make anyone sick, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. While individuals who are elderly, have pre-existing conditions and are immunocompromised are the most at risk, children can still catch COVID-19. Take all the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family by following the CDC’s recommendation for prevention
- Myth: COVID-19 will stop spreading in warmer temperature. Reality: While certain viruses like the flu do tend to decrease in infection rate during the summer months, we should not assume COVID-19 will do the same.
- Myth: I should worry about pets or other animals contracting COVID-19. Reality: COVID-19 is believed to have started from an animal source in China. However, the CDC reports there is no evidence to show that pets and animals in the United States might be a source of infection or spread COVID-19. However, it is still best practices to wash your hands after being around animals.
Learn more about coronavirus at ochsner.org/coronavirus
In early December 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their recommendations regarding COVID-19 exposure quarantine. While this doesn't apply to healthcare workers and other essential personnel, the guidance now states that quarantine can end after 10 days (rather than 14) with no testing and no symptoms. Quarantine can end after seven days with a negative test and no symptoms.
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.