Coronavirus (COVID-19) Myths and Facts Part One

9 03 2020

Facts and Myths Part One

Myth/Comment:  On a mayor’s Facebook page: “My friend tested positive for coronavirus but was told it was not the China one.”  Then the comment went sideways with the individual accused the local government as a conspiracy or that it was because of the color of their skin. 

Truth:  You can test positive for coronavirus without having COVID-19.  The common cold and the flu are all under the category of coronaviruses.  Those are the relatively harmless ones.  The more lethal coronaviruses are the rare ones like SARS and MERS and now COVID-19.  Within the SARS and MERS categories, there are even more specific names for certain types of SARS and MERS.  COVID-19 was 2019-nCoV originally (2019 the date, “n” for novel meaning “new”, and CoV for Coronavirus.  It’s new name is SARS-CoV-2 (for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus number 2—there was a SARS-CoV back in 2003.  The coronaviruses HCoV-229E, -NL63, -OC43, and -HKU1 continually circulate in the human population and cause respiratory infections in adults and children world-wide.

Myth:  The coronavirus came from Corona beer.

Truth:  It did not.  But 38% of people believe this. 

Myth:  Dogs and cats can give you this disease (or conversely you can give them the disease).

Truth:  A company that produces breathing masks for dogs told Fox Business that customers have been buying its products in droves in places where the coronavirus has been confirmed in recent weeks. There are even pictures of dogs wearing the masks in public.   Dr. Gregory Poland, a virus expert and head of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic says you are not going to get a dangerous human coronavirus from your furry friends.  It’s true that dogs, cats and most species carry their own kinds of coronavirus, but those are not human pathogens. 

Myth:  Drinking “Miracle Mineral Solution” will protect you from COVID-19.  (This dangerous myth came from the group QAnon).

Truth:  Miracle Mineral Solution has been touted as a remedy for everything from autism to HIV, claims that the FDA has already dismissed this.  Dr. Andres Romero, an infectious disease specialist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, said, “Drinking a strange beverage will not prevent you from acquiring the infection.  In fact, Miracle Mineral Solution (and similar products) contain sodium chlorite (not chloride-chlorite was not a typo) which turns into bleach when mixed with citric acid as per the instruction.  Dr. Gregory Poland, a virus expert and head of Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, said “You will end up with esophageal pathology if you drink diluted bleach.  The way this virus infects you is in your respiratory cells, not your gastrointestinal system. 

Myth:   Antibiotics can prevent or treat COVID-19. 

Truth:  Perhaps you’ve been typed if you still have some antibiotics hanging around your medicine cabinet as a preventive measure or after you seem to get respiratory symptoms.  According to the CDC, antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, not viruses like the coronavirus.  As for prevention, antibiotics won’t help with that either. 

Myth:  Cold weather and snow can kill the virus. (OR that a hot bath will prevent you from getting it). 

Truth:  Regardless of what the temperature is outside your body, your body temperature relatively stays the same.  The best way to prevent this is using alcohol-based hand sanitizer or washing with soap and water.   (Source:  W.H.O.)

Myth:   You can catch COVID-19 by buying goods coming from China (or any other country).

Truth:  The virus can last on surfaces for a few hours or several days depending on the type of surface.  If you think it may be contaminated, wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe.  After you are finished cleaning the surfaces, wash your hands for 20-30 seconds with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  (Source:  W.H.O.)

Myth:  You can get COVID-19 via an insect bite.

Truth:  People are thinking that this is like the Zika issue that was transmitted by mosquito bites.  COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which is spread through droplets that are generated by an infected person when they cough or sneeze, through droplets of saliva, or discharge from the nose.  Besides hand washing with hand sanitizer or hand soap and water, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing or sneezing.  (Source W.H.O.)