Unfortunately, misinformation about coronavirus is everywhere. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the novel coronavirus, you need to separate the facts from the myths surrounding this disease, and we’re here to help you do so.
To Get the Facts, Turn to Reliable Sources
Before we discuss common myths and facts about COVID-19, it’s important to mention to get your factual information from reliable sources. As with all disease outbreaks, misinformation is everywhere, and it’s not recommended to follow advice from unreliable sources, particularly those that are outside of the medical profession.
For the most accurate information, you can trust:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- State Department of Health
At AdventHealth, we’re committed to giving you up-to-date information from only the most trusted sources. And the more you know about this virus, the more empowered you can be.
Learn more about the novel coronavirus, read FAQs and get the most up-to-date information on our Coronavirus Resource Hub.
Coronavirus 101: Virus vs. Disease
For clarity, a virus is different from a disease. Viruses cause diseases. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause diseases, the most recently discovered disease being the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The formal name of this virus is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus causes the disease COVID-19.
Myths and Facts About Coronavirus and COVID-19
We’re dedicated to empowering you with the knowledge you need to stay safe from COVID-19, starting with dispelling these common myths about the disease.
Myth: Antibiotics can treat coronavirus.
Fact: Coronavirus is a virus, not a bacterial infection, so antibiotics can’t treat it.
Coronavirus itself is a virus, so only antiviral medications can work against it. Antibiotics only work against bacteria and bacterial infections, not viruses. If you have a bacterial infection, antibiotics can be used. For example, it’s possible for someone who has COVID-19 to also develop a bacterial infection while they’re sick, in which case they might receive antibiotics.
Myth: COVID-19 looks much different from other infections.
Fact: The most common signs of COVID-19 are fever and coughing.
COVID-19 is a type of respiratory disease, and there are many respiratory diseases, so COVID-19 doesn’t look completely different from other illnesses you’ve seen or heard about. The most common visible signs of COVID-19 are fever, dry coughing and difficulty breathing.
Myth: COVID-19 is automatically fatal.
Fact: Currently, most people are recovering from COVID-19.
Coronavirus is definitely scary, but fortunately, getting COVID-19 isn’t an automatic death sentence. The World Health Organization states that most people — about 80%, in fact — who get COVID-19 recover from it, and only a small percentage of people who have the disease have died.
Myth: Everyone is at equal risk of getting COVID-19.
Fact: Your risk of getting COVID-19 depends on several factors.
The World Health Organization explains that your risk depends on where you are (and where you’ve been recently) and, specifically, whether you are or were in an area where Coronavirus is.
Your risk of being infected with COVID-19 depends on:
- Where you live
- Where you’ve traveled recently
- Whether you have a pre-existing medical condition or chronic health condition
Overall, your risk of getting COVID-19 is higher if many people in your area have been diagnosed with the disease. Your risk also varies depending on your immune health. As with other viral infections, if you have heart disease or another chronic health condition, you may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Myth: You’ll get COVID-19 from your pet.
Fact: There’s no evidence that household pets can carry coronavirus.
The World Health Organization states that coronavirus family of viruses is common in animals, but not household pets like cats or dogs. Bacteria like salmonella can pass between your pets and you, but currently, there’s no evidence that your furry family members can carry or transmit coronavirus. You’re safe to cuddle your cat or dog without fear, but as a general hygiene tip, be sure to always wash your hands afterward.
Myth: You’ll get COVID-19 from some foods.
Fact: Coronavirus cannot grow in food.
Coronavirus needs a host (a person or animal, excluding household pets) to spread through, and it’s therefore unlikely for people to get COVID-19 from food. It’s unlikely for the virus to live long without attaching to a host.
Similarly, unfounded claims are circulating that some foods can prevent coronavirus, including oregano oil and herbal remedies, but these are not proven.
Myth: You’ll get COVID-19 from imported Chinese products.
Fact: It’s safe to receive packages from areas where COVID-19 has been reported.
The World Health Organization says it’s OK to receive mail and packages from parts of the world that have reported coronavirus outbreaks. Coronaviruses do not survive for long on packages, objects and letters. With the information we have now, it appears that coronavirus can’t survive outside of the human body for long without a human or animal host.
However, if you’re concerned about coronavirus being on surfaces you touch, you can use alcohol-based disinfectants on surfaces in your home or workplace.
Myth: The elderly are the only people getting COVID-19.
Fact: People of all ages can get COVID-19.
So far, we know that older adults and people with compromised immune systems and pre-existing medical conditions are typically more vulnerable to coronavirus. The CDC has said “it is possible that older adults and persons who have underlying chronic medical conditions may be at risk for more serious complications.” However, anyone of any age can get COVID-19.
Myth: Preventive medicines can keep you safe from COVID-19.
Fact: Self-medication with any remedy or medicine can be potentially harmful.
Although it’s important to have a strong immune system to fight off viruses, it’s not recommended to try boosting your immunity through self-medication.The World Health Organization asserts that traditional herbal or holistic remedies — including wearing sesame oil and rinsing your nose with saline solution — are not effective ways to prevent coronavirus.
Likewise, antibiotics and other medicines cannot keep you safe from getting COVID-19 and may do more harm than good. At this time, there’s no specific immunization or medicine that’s proven to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Myth: You’ll get coronavirus automatically from someone released from quarantine.
Fact: People who are released from quarantine no longer have coronavirus.
You won’t get COVID-19 automatically from someone who’s just been released from quarantine, because that person didn’t develop COVID-19. To help you understand this, we’ll explain how coronavirus quarantine process works (also explained under the FAQ section “How It Spreads” on the CDC’s coronavirus FAQ page).
People who’ve been exposed to coronavirus but haven’t developed COVID-19 may be placed in a 14-day quarantine. Fourteen days is the incubation period for coronavirus, meaning it’s the longest amount of time it takes for someone to develop COVID-19 after being exposed to it. If someone’s released from quarantine, it means they didn’t develop COVID-19 during quarantine, so they’re not considered a risk for spreading coronavirus.
As an example of this process, in a recent press briefing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC stated that a group of people who were recently released from a mandatory 14-day quarantine in the U.S. pose no health threat to their families or communities. At this 14-day mark, none of the people who were released from quarantine had coronavirus.
Myth: You’ll get coronavirus from someone recently released from the hospital.
Fact: People released from the hospital are not likely contagious.
Health care professionals and infectious disease experts are taking every action to restrict the spread of coronavirus, and release patients from the hospital only when it’s determined they no longer pose a health threat to other people.
Someone who is released from the hospital has been deemed no longer a health risk to others and is well on their way back to wellness, no longer being contagious. Reinfection with coronavirus can occur, but is not likely to be immediate, so it’s not credible that you’ll automatically get coronavirus from someone who’s recently released from the hospital.
Patients are currently being released on a case-by-case basis, according to the CDC. They must meet specific requirements before returning home.
We’re Here to See You Through
At AdventHealth, we’re here to provide you with up-to-date information about coronavirus and the disease COVID-19. You can count on us to be your experts offering comprehensive treatment, too, if you need it. We’re here to empower you with the latest information as soon as it’s available, so you can keep yourself and your family safe, healthy and well.
Learn more from our Coronavirus Resource Hub.