Myths and truths about the new coronavirus
The unknown is always conducive to the emergence of myths. And that is exactly what the new coronavirus is: an unknown infectious agent. Every day, scientists around the world are learning more about this new virus. However, there is still much to discover and doubts remain.
In this article, we will review what has already been said about COVID-19 and distinguish between what is known and what is assumed, i.e., identify truths and myths.
Myths and truths about the new coranvirus: an information guide.
As we have said, the unknown almost always fosters myths. In addition, misinformation is also a reality and fake news spreads along with the virus itself.
That’s why it’s important to look at the facts and what is known, to date, about the new coronavirus. Don’t believe everything you read or hear and find out now what is true and what is myth when it comes to COVID-19.
Warm weather will make the virus disappear.
Not yet known. Many respiratory viruses lose their “strength” with the onset of warm weather. However, with regard to the new coronavirus, there is no certainty yet. In any case, any change in the behavior of the virus does not invalidate the need for containment measures to prevent uncontrolled spread.
After being infected with the new coronavirus, we become immune.
At this time, there are no scientific and medical studies that reliably prove that an individual who has recovered from COVID-19 is immune to re-infection with the same virus.
It is to be expected that after an infection, the human body will acquire immunity to the virus that previously infected it, but this has not yet been reliably proven in the case of COVID-19.
It is not yet known how long a possible state of immunity may last. Some cases of new infections caused by COVID-19 have been described, but it is not known whether these are new strains of the virus, or cases that were initially mistakenly considered cured.
People with COVID-19 should not take ibuprofen.
Myth. To date, there is no scientific evidence to support this, except in a few isolated cases of patients whose clinical condition seems to have worsened with ibuprofen. However, no research has proven this.
Thus, although paracetamol is recommended as a first resort for symptoms such as fever and pain, the use of ibuprofen is not discouraged.
To eliminate the virus, you should wash your clothes at least 60ºC.
Truth. Although data indicate that the virus survives only a few hours in fabrics, it is prudent to wash clothes at high temperatures. Thus, to eliminate the virus, you should wash clothes at 60°C for 30 minutes or at 80°C/90°C for 10 minutes.
Those who have been vaccinated against influenza are immune to COVID-19.
Myth. The influenza vaccine only protects the body against certain strains of influenza virus. Therefore, it does not confer immunity to coronaviruses, especially the one that causes COVID-19.
The new coronavirus is airborne.
Myth. The virus is transmitted by droplets emitted through the nose or mouth. Therefore, contagion can occur through close contact with infected persons, surfaces and/or contaminated objects.
Certain blood types are more susceptible to the new coronavirus.
Myth. At present, there is no scientific evidence that associates the type of blood with a greater or lesser likelihood of infection by this virus.
The mask prevents contamination by the new coronavirus.
Myth. The most commonly sold masks (called surgical masks) prevent an infected person from transmitting the virus to others. Thus, these masks are particularly recommended for people who have cough, fever and/or breathing difficulties.
There are more specific masks (such as the FFP2 mask) that actually protect the person themselves from infection, but these masks are rarer on the market and should be reserved for people who have direct contact with patients.
Nevertheless, the primary means of preventing contagion are social distancing, adherence to respiratory etiquette, and frequent and proper hand washing.
It is possible to have COVID-19 and have no symptoms.
Truth. Yes, there are people infected with the new coronavirus who remain absolutely asymptomatic. That’s one of the challenges with this virus. Even people who feel well and have no symptoms can be infected and thus be an agent of contagion.
A pregnant woman with COVID-19 will have a baby infected with the new coronavirus.
Myth. Although it can happen, the fact that a pregnant woman has COVID-19 does not necessarily mean that the baby will be born infected. In fact, to date, medical research has found no scientific evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy – so-called vertical transmission – or even at the time of delivery.
A pregnant woman with COVID-19 requires a cesarean section.
Myth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), being a carrier of the COVID-19 virus is not a reason for a pregnant woman to have a caesarean section.
A mother with COVID-19 can breastfeed.
Truth. Recent laboratory testing of breast milk samples from infected women has not revealed the presence of the virus.
For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) supports breastfeeding, including by women with COVID-19, as long as they follow respiratory etiquette, wear a mask while breastfeeding, and wash their hands properly before and after holding the baby while breastfeeding.
The new coronavirus is no more dangerous than seasonal flu.
Myth. Although the lethality of COVID-19 can only be calculated with certainty at the end of the pandemic, all indications are that it is higher than that of seasonal influenza.
The new coronavirus affects only the elderly.
Myth. COVID-19 affects people of all ages. The difference is that the elderly belong to the risk group, i.e., they may be prone to develop more severe complications, especially respiratory, than young people or individuals without morbidity.
Myths are not always used in the right symbology, as they are also used in reference to common beliefs that have no objective or scientific basis, which misleads us and can put us at risk.
In a subject as sensitive as health and, in this case, in the face of a pandemic, one should be cautious and rely only on official and credible sources.
Focus on what is already known and what is being discovered about this virus and adapt your daily behavior to the recommendations of the WHO, DGS and other competent authorities.