12 Coronavirus myths busted by science

Updated: Mar 11

There is so much information flooding news media regarding coronavirus, it gets confusing. Here are some Myth Busters from LiveScience! Entire Article Here


"As the novel coronavirus continues to infect people around the world, news articles and social media posts about the outbreak continue to spread online. Unfortunately, this relentless flood of information can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction — and during a viral outbreak, rumors and misinformation can be dangerous.


Here at Live Science, we've compiled a list of the most pervasive myths about the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, the disease it causes, and explained why these rumors are misleading, or just plain wrong.


Myth: Face masks can protect you from the virus

Standard surgical masks cannot protect you from SARS-CoV-2, as they are not designed to block out viral particles and do not lay flush to the face, Live Science previously reported. That said, surgical masks can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus further by blocking any respiratory droplets that could be expelled from their mouths.

Within health care facilities, special respirators called "N95 respirators" have been shown to greatly reduce the spread of the virus among medical staff...


Myth: You're waaaay less likely to get this than the flu

Not necessarily...


Perhaps, most importantly, while no vaccine exists to prevent COVID-19, the seasonal flu vaccine prevents influenza relatively well, even when its formulation doesn't perfectly match the circulating viral strains.


Myth: The virus is just a mutated form of the common cold

No, it's not. Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that includes many different diseases. SARS-CoV-2 does share similarities with other coronaviruses, four of which can cause the common cold. All five viruses have spiky projections on their surfaces and utilize so-called spike proteins to infect host cells. However, the four cold coronaviruses — named 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 — all utilize humans as their primary hosts. SARS-CoV-2 shares about 90% of its genetic material with coronaviruses that infect bats, which suggests that the virus originated in bats and later hopped to humans.


Evidence suggests that the virus passed through an intermediate animal before infecting humans...


Myth: The virus was probably made in a lab

No evidence suggests that the virus is man-made...


Myth: Getting COVID-19 is a death sentence

That's not true. About 81% of people who are infected with the coronavirus have mild cases of COVID-19, according to a study published Feb. 18 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 13.8% report severe illness, meaning they have shortness of breath, or require supplemental oxygen, and about 4.7% are critical, meaning they face respiratory failure, multi-organ failure or septic shock. The data thus far suggests that only around 2.3% of people infected with COVID-19 die from the virus. People who are older or have underlying health conditions seem to be most at risk of having severe disease or complications. While there's no need to panic, people should take steps to prepare and protect themselves and others from the new coronavirus.

Myth: Pets can spread the new coronavirus

There is no evidence that pets, such as cats and dogs, can even be infected with the coronavirus, let alone spread it to humans, according to the World Health Organization...


A dog in Hong Kong tested "weak positive" for the new coronavirus, according to a statement from the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department on Feb. 28. But scientists aren't sure if the dog was actually infected with the coronavirus or if it picked up the virus from a contaminated surface with its mouth or nose. As a precaution the dog was taken under quarantine, but the dog has no symptoms and there's no evidence that it could infect humans.


Myth: Lockdowns or school closures won't happen in the US

There's no guarantee, but school closures are a common tool that public health officials use to slow or halt the spread of contagious diseases...


Lockdowns, quarantines and isolation are also a possibility. Under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264), the federal government is allowed to take such actions to quell the spread of disease from either outside the country or between states. State and local governments may also have similar authority.


Myth: Kids can't catch the coronavirus

Children can definitely catch COVID-19, though some early statistics suggest they may be less likely to catch the virus than adults are...


Myth: If you have coronavirus, "you'll know"

No, you won't...


U.S. health officials have now advised the American public to prepare for an epidemic, meaning those who have not traveled to affected countries or made contact with people who recently traveled may begin catching the virus. As the outbreak progresses in the U.S., state and local health departments should provide updates about when and where the virus has spread. If you live in an affected region and begin experiencing high fever, weakness, lethargy or shortness of breath, or or have underlying conditions and milder symptoms of the disease, you should seek medical attention at the nearest hospital, experts told Live Science.


From there, you may be tested for the virus, though as of yet, the CDC has not made the available diagnostic exam widely available.


Myth: The coronavirus is less deadly than the flu

So far, it appears the coronavirus is more deadly than the flu. However, there's still a lot of uncertainty around the mortality rate of the virus...


Myth: It's not safe to receive a package from China

It is safe to receive letters or packages from China, according to the World Health Organization. Previous research has found that coronaviruses don't survive long on objects such as letters and packages. Based on what we know about similar coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, experts think this new coronavirus likely survives poorly on surfaces...


Myth: You can get the coronavirus if you eat at Chinese restaurants in the US

No, you can't. By that logic, you'd also have to avoid Italian, Korean, Japanese and Iranian restaurants, given that those countries have also been facing an outbreak. The new coronavirus doesn't just affect people of Chinese descent."


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