By Jessica Dortch
AFRO News Editor
When the first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in America, it didn’t take long for it to ravage through the country bringing devastation and death with it. Scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals all scrambled to keep the ever-evolving virus under control and keep the American people safe and calm.
Initially, there was a lot of information going out to the public about the virus, in an effort to keep people abreast of what was happening, but as the pandemic raged on we found that not all of that information was factual. Now, a year into the pandemic and with three COVID-19 vaccines in circulation, there is a need to combat misinformation and dispute myths about the coronavirus.
MYTH #1: Children can not contract COVID-19
FACT: Unfortunately, this is completely a myth. Although children are less likely to contract the virus, they are not immune. In May 2020, scientists discovered a strain of the virus called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C) which affects kids who have come into contact with the virus.
MYTH #2: Wearing a mask will not protect you from contracting coronavirus
FACT: It is a fact that wearing a face mask always protects you from the virus. When citizens were first asked to wear a face covering in public, many people questioned its effectiveness. Many thought that the masks were to protect you from other people, but the masks actually protect other people from you.
Because there are people testing positive for the virus that have not shown any prior symptoms, it is best to assume that contact with anyone can leave you vulnerable for contracting COVID. Healthcare workers typically use the N-95 surgical masks, but others are advised to wear some sort of face covering, either disposable or made of cloth. The CDC provided a guide to face masks including information on how to wear and care for your mask.
MYTH #3: The pandemic was a distraction by the government to cover up the harmful effects of 5G radiation
FACT: Last year, the rolling out of the fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile network was announced shortly before we were hit by the pandemic. It is a fact that viruses can not be transmitted or spread through radio airwaves or mobile networks. COVID-19 is spread through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. This notion is simply a conspiracy theory.
MYTH #4: Only people of color and seniors can die from COVID-19
FACT: It is a fact that people of color are dying from the virus at higher rates, but the virus can infect anyone at any age. People with preexisting medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill and be hospitalized, than those who were in good health pre-COVID.
MYTH #5: Animals can spread the disease to humans
FACT: There is a lot of controversy around how the coronavirus was created. It is a fact that the virus came from an animal, but the CDC can not confirm that the animal was a bat, like the rumors suggest. There is no evidence that supports the theory of animals, or household pets, contracting the virus and spreading it to humans. However, there is a possibility that humans can spread the virus to animals, so be sure to quarantine yourself from your pets if you have COVID-19.
MYTH #6: The virus can’t live in warm temperatures
FACT: The Trump administration downplayed the severity of the coronavirus until the facts were undeniable and even then they continued to misinform Americans. On April 18, 2020, without any scientific evidence, President Trump assured the American people that the virus would “slow down” as the warmer temperatures of spring rolled in. However, the spring and summer months came and went and the country saw a spike in both COVID infections and the overall death toll. It is a fact that the virus can survive in temperatures above 77 degrees fahrenheit. Regardless of the weather, you should wear your mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands as often as possible.
MYTH #7: Taking your vitamins can prevent COVID-19 infection
FACT: Certain studies have shown that those who were infected with the virus had low levels of vitamin D, but in no way does that mean taking your vitamins can protect you from contracting or spreading the virus. While it doesn’t hurt to build up your immune system, the National Institute of Health and World Health Organization have not collected enough data to confirm this notion. This is an important myth to debunk because people should not develop a false sense of protection just because they take vitamins daily.
MYTH #8: You don’t need the vaccine if you’ve already been infected
FACT: As previously mentioned, we are still learning about the coronavirus and it is not yet confirmed how long a person is protected from contracting the virus again after they have recovered. With this in mind, you should absolutely get vaccinated, especially if you have had the virus before. If you have questions about taking the vaccine, talk to your doctor.
MYTH #9: COVID-19 is the same as the seasonal flu
FACT: The coronavirus has drawn many comparisons to influenza, or the “flu.” Both viruses are contagious and have similar symptoms like chills, fever, sore throat and cough, but they also have many differences. COVID-19 is by far the most contagious of the two, and symptoms can take longer to appear after exposure. Many of those who were infected with COVID experienced a loss of taste or smell, and it is no surprise that the death rate is significantly higher for COVID than the flu. It can be hard to tell the difference, so if you are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor.
MYTH #10: Contact with anything originated from China will infect you with COVID
FACT: No, it won’t. That is racist.
There is still so much uncertainty about the coronavirus, but let this information be your guide in separating the myths from the facts. To stay up-to-date on COVID-19, visit www.cdc.gov.