Coronavirus Myths and Facts: Test Your Medical IQ

Children cannot transmit the coronavirus.

Children may be less likely to experience severe illness than adults, but the latest data indicate they can transmit the coronavirus to both other children and adults. A recent study from South Korea suggests that children under 10 years old may be less likely to transmit the disease than children 10 years and older, who can transmit the virus at similar levels to adults.

Myth Fact

COVID-19 is no worse than the seasonal flu.

While there are some similarities between COVID-19 and influenza, overall COVID-19 is a much more serious illness for several reasons:

  • COVID is more infections than the flu
  • COVID has a higher death rate than the flu
  • COVID has a higher rate of serious illness that requires hospitalization than the flu
  • There is no vaccine for COVID
  • There is currently no significant community immunity

Myth Fact

Exposure to direct sunlight and/or high temperatures above 77°F (25°C) does not protect you from COVID-19.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can survive and be transmitted in hot and sunny weather. The state of Florida, called "The Sunshine State," is known for its hot, humid weather, and has also made news for having high numbers of COVID cases and deaths.

Myth Fact

Face masks, when properly worn, do not cause carbon dioxide intoxication or oxygen deficiency.

Wearing face masks may be uncomfortable, but their use does not cause carbon dioxide intoxication or oxygen deficiency. COVID spreads from person-to-person via respiratory droplets expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even speaks. Masks help prevent this spread. Make sure masks are worn properly and are well-fitted

Myth Fact

Even if you don't have a fever, you may still have COVID.

While fever is a common symptom of COVID, it is possible to have COVID and not have a fever. One study in Washington State found fever was present in just over half of all cases, and another study out of Wuhan, China (where the virus originated) found fever in 83% of cases.

Common symptoms of COVID include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Myth Fact

Hydroxychloroquine is not a cure for COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine has been touted as a possible preventative, treatment, or cure for COVID-19. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that based on current studies, these medications have showed no benefit in decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery from COVID. Further, there are reports of serious heart rhythm problems, blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and liver failure with use of these drugs.

Myth Fact

COVID always causes pneumonia.

Respiratory symptoms, such as pneumonia, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing are frequently seen in COVID patients. However, COVID doesn't always cause respiratory illness. In some cases, patients may have no respiratory symptoms at all and instead have gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea or vomiting. Some patients may even be asymptomatic (have no symptoms at all).

Myth Fact

Eating garlic and drinking alcohol protects against COVID-19.

Garlic is known for its health benefits and it may have some antimicrobial properties, but there is no evidence it protects against infection from COVID. Ingesting alcohol has no benefits and may actually reduce the body's immunity and ability to respond to an infection by the coronavirus.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, however, do work to disinfect the skin when used externally. Look for hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol and use enough to rub on your hands at least 20 seconds until dry.

Myth Fact

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was NOT made in a lab.

There is a myth that the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was made in a lab in China. This is not true. Researchers compared the genome of the novel coronavirus with the seven other coronaviruses known to infect humans and several other viruses and they found that certain proteins in the novel coronavirus occurred naturally, and not through genetic engineering. In addition, the overall molecular structure of the novel coronavirus is unique from other coronaviruses, and more closely resembles viruses found in bats and pangolins. These viruses have not been extensively studied and have not been known to harm humans, so anyone who may have been interested in engineering a new coronavirus as a dangerous pathogen would instead have chosen one that was known to cause illness.

Myth Fact

Pets can spread COVID-19.

While there are rare cases of animals contracting COVID-19, mostly after coming into contact with infected humans, there is no evidence they can spread it to people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the novel coronavirus.

However, pets can spread other diseases to people, so the CDC recommends anyone who interacts with animals wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds afterwards.

Myth Fact

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