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COVID-19 myths vs. facts

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The street next to Soto Sports complex in Arroyo Grande. Photo by Ellie Thomas

COVID-19 has exploded in the past four months.

The many stories passed around about it can make people afraid for their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, a dry cough, and shortness of breath.

Many of these symptoms mirror a common cold, which can make it hard to distinguish. To combat this, many hotlines have been set up to help people discern whether they have a cold, the flu, or COVID-19.

These are some of the many myths being perpetuated about COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a death sentence

Anyone can get COVID-19.  However, it’s those who are considered “at-risk” that have a much higher chance of being severely impacted or dying from the virus.  The average healthy person should be able to overcome the disease. 

The USA is under quarantine

This is false. The federal government has declared that state and local governments decide shelter-in-place and lockdown orders.  Many of these local governments have chosen shelter-in place-orders, which differ from a quarantine. 

COVID-19 lingers in your throat and you can get rid of it by gargling with salt water, bleach, steroids, or other medications and substances

This is both false and dangerous. None of these recommendations have been advertised by health professionals, and some of these are chemicals that are highly toxic.  

COVID-19 can be killed by injecting disinfectant into the bloodstream

This is entirely false.  Injecting oneself with bleach can cause blood clots, acute kidney failure, and death.

COVID-19 was deliberately created

This is also false. COVID-19 is believed to have been caused by a mutation of the initial coronavirus, creating a strand that was able to be passed to humans.

COVID-19 is an airborne virus

COVID-19 doesn’t live in the air.  Instead, when an infected person coughs, tiny droplets of water that contain the virus are released.  When a healthy person comes into contact with these droplets, then they are exposed.  These droplets can reach about 6 feet once they’re released from a cough.  What can also spread them, however, are common actions such as yelling or exhaling on a deep breath.

A face mask can protect you from getting COVID-19

Most face masks will fit the wearer loosely, still leaving room for infected droplets to sneak in.  If infected droplets land on the face mask and the wearer continues to wear it, then they are further exposed to the virus. 

Masks are useful to those who already have the virus, as it can lessen the chance of infecting someone else.  Currently, because many people remain asymptomatic, the CDC is recommending everyone wear a mask.

COVID-19 is new, which leads to plenty of misinformation.  The CDC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, John Hopkins University, and other sites are working to gather information and update the public on the true characteristics of the virus. Staying informed can keep the public safe.