Editor’s note: This article was published on March 18, 2020. COVID-19 information and recommendations are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or view our most recent COVID-19 blog posts.
With novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on the rise in Wisconsin and throughout the world, there have been many articles and much content shared on the topic. Unfortunately, this wealth of information has led to some misconceptions about the virus. Below, we dispel some common myths about COVID-19 and give you additional resources if you are looking to learn more.
“Masks don’t work because the COVID-19 virus is small and can go through the mask. ”
It’s true that the virus itself is miniscule, but the way it spreads is by hitch hiking on respiratory droplets, which are too large to go through a mask.
“A mask with a valve protects me and everyone around me.”
Masks with valves protect the person wearing the mask, but not the people around them. The valve allows your unfiltered breath out of the mask.
“Only elderly people are at risk.”
As a new virus, no one is immune to COVID-19. However, it is important to know that some individuals are at a higher risk of getting very sick if they contract the virus. This includes:
- Elderly men and women.
- People who have chronic medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes.
“There is nothing I can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
“Hydroxychloroquine is an approved treatment for COVID-19”
The FDA recently cautioned against using Hydroxychloroquine outside of a hospital setting or clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems. There is little information on the benefits of the drug when used for COVID-19 and more research is needed.
“Ingesting or drinking substances like bleach will protect you from COVID-19”
Do not introduce cleaning products such as bleach, methanol or ethanol into your body under any circumstances. WHO notes that these substances will have no impact on the virus, are poisonous and will harm your internal organs.
“The virus could spread through the food that I eat.”
Before preparing or eating food, it is important that you practice proper hand hygiene. However, there is a very low risk of the virus being spread from food products and currently no evidence that supports transmission of COVID-19 via food.