Coronavirus: 6 Common Myths Debunked

Op-ed

Chances are that in the past few weeks, your life has somehow been altered by the effects of the new COVID-19 virus (also infamously known as the Coronavirus). It seems that this menacing virus has found a niche in nearly every aspect of daily life. Schools are shutting down, stores are barrren of suplies, ships are refused from docking, and governments as a whole are seeming to grow more anxious by the day. But in a world ridden with a plague of misinformation, where can the true facts surrounding COVID-19 be found? Here are six common myths about the Coronavirus debunked.

1. "Face Masks can stop COVID-19 in its tracks.”

Wrong! Many government officials and doctors have been trying to let the public know that face masks are unnecessary and altogether useless forms of protection against the Coronavirus. The US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams tweeted in response to a mass buyout of face masks that “they are NOT effective.” Instead, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises citizens to avoid close contact with sick individuals, touching your face, staying home when you are sick, covering your coughs/sneezes with a tissue, and frequently washing your hands.

2. “If I buy something from China, I am at risk of getting the virus."

Don’t worry. You won’t get Coronavirus in the mail. The Director of the CDC’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonier, said in an update at the end of January that these viruses generally have low survivability on surfaces and, therefore, “there is likely very very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.” So don’t fret, that new Gucci belt you just got shipped from China is completely safe to wear!

3. "Pneumonia vaccines will prevent me from contracting the virus.

Seeing as COVID-19 targets the respiratory system, it makes sense that this idea would eventually pop up. The concept of using pneumonia vaccines to prevent against the virus however, is nothing more than another fallacy. This is because pneumonia vaccines prevent an entirely different virus, explains Dr. Rachel Roper from East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. She elaborates that “[the current pneumonia vaccine] will not protect against SARS Cov2 COVID2019 pneumonia.” It is recommended, however, that people receive these vaccines so that in the event that they contract COVID-19, a secondary infection of pneumonia will not occur (the chances of this happening are still pretty rare, though). So regardless of the fact that it won’t protect against the Coronavirus, it is still highly recommended to protect your overall health.

4. "I’m young and the Coronavirus only affects old people, so I’m safe.”

Not quite, little one. Everyone, regardless of age, can contract COVID-19. It seems, however, that older people and individuals with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to developing severe illnesses when they have the virus. This amplifies the effect of the virus and therefore makes it far more life-threatening to these individuals. So even though older people might have it worse off than you, you are still just as at risk of catching the virus as they are. Check out the graph below for more statistics on Coronavirus fatalities based on age.

6. “Eating garlic will protect me!”

While it may help fend off against some edgy Robert Pattinson-esque vampires, eating garlic is not necessarily the best defense against COVID-19 that you could find. Don’t be downtrodden, though, because garlic still has many antimicrobial properties that will help improve your overall health. In the case of acting as a cure for the virus, however, you may find yourself dissatisfied.

 

6. “Heat will kill the virus.”

This one seems to be reinforced by the idea that flu season usually ends with the coming of the summer months. In reality, it is far too soon to know whether or not heat impacts the survivability of the Coronavirus. \ A social media post falsely attributed to Unicef was spread a few weeks ago, saying that drinking hot water and exposure to the sun would kill the virus. It is, unfortunately, not this simple. The WHO even said in a press conference last week that they "have no reason to believe that this virus would behave differently in different temperatures." Medically speaking, your body does not even change temperature regardless of what kind of water you bathe in or drink. Once the virus is in your body, there’s no way of killing it. Your body just has to push through and fight it off at that point.

Now knowing that these perceived fast are, in reality, deep falsehoods, it is not only the best interest of us at The Teen Magazine but also of the world that we urge you to remember to take each new set of "breakthrough information" regarding the Coronavirus with a grain of salt. We recommend that you tune out the voices of sensationalized news outlets and instead listen to trusted organizations such as the World Health Organization. Stay safe!

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Max Burlew

Max Burlew is a high school senior who enjoys writing about all sorts of topics. He can be found on the weekends practicing guitar, writing poetry, or catching up on the newest Netflix Original Series. His favorite book is The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.


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