Debunking common COVID-19 myths

May 07, 2021
COVID-19
7 min read

WRITTEN BY

Tania Zuniga, MD

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The current COVID-19 pandemic is a quickly evolving situation, and ever-changing information about the disease can be confusing. When it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19 and how the virus behaves, it’s important to know what is true and what is not. Here are some myths you might have come across, along with the facts that clear up those myths.

Myth: If I wear a cloth face covering/homemade mask, it’s fine for me to resume normal activities and I’m safe to go out to public spaces.
Fact: Wearing a mask can help slow the spread, but we should still practice social distancing, staying at least six feet away from others when not at home.

Myth: A vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available.
Fact: There is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus right now. Researchers are working hard to develop a vaccine that is safe and effective for humans, but that will take many months. 

Myth: The novel coronavirus was deliberately created or released.
Fact: Viruses can change over time. It is likely that the coronavirus began as a disease in a common animal, such as a pig, bat, or bird, and underwent a change that allowed it to pass to humans.

Myth: Handwashing only kills coronavirus if you use hot water.
Fact: Washing your hands with hot water isn't any more effective than with cold water. Washing your hands often with soap and water is recommended as one of the best ways to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but the temperature of the water doesn't matter. It's the scrubbing action that cleans your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Myth: Hand dryers can kill COVID-19.
Fact: It’s been shown with other viruses that hand dryers actually increase the air circulation of viruses as that air blows on your hands. Whenever possible, avoid hand dryers and use clean paper towels instead.

Myth: Rinsing your nose with saline can help prevent infection with COVID-19.
Fact: Although nasal rinses can help with sinusitis and with allergies, there’s no direct evidence that they kill the novel coronavirus.

Myth: Antibiotics can kill COVID-19.
Fact: COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus, and no antibiotic can kill a virus. Antibiotics should be used only in cases of a known, documented bacterial infection.

Myth: Lots of vitamin C will ward off COVID-19.
Fact: There is no evidence that taking extra vitamin C will fight against COVID-19.

Myth: Like colds and flu, COVID-19 will fade with warmer weather.
Fact: Because the novel coronavirus is exactly that—novel, or new—there is a lot researchers still don’t know about how it behaves. One recent study suggests that coronavirus might prefer cooler climates and spreads more slowly in warmer climates, but it’s too early to tell.

Myth: Drinking lots of water can prevent COVID-19.
Fact: This rumor is based on the idea that water “washes” the virus into the acidic environment of the stomach, but there’s no basis for that idea. It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated, and if you’re sick, it’s important to drink fluids and rest to speed up recovery.

Myth: Rural communities don't need to worry about COVID-19 because of their sparse populations.
Fact: This is a dangerous myth. Everyone needs to take steps, including social distancing and frequent hand washing, to slow the spread of this serious disease.

Mount Nittany Health is committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of its patients, staff and community. We are prepared for potential infectious disease outbreaks, whether its measles, flu or new viruses like coronavirus as part of our commitment to prevent disease and ensure a healthy community for all. We rigorously follow the guidance from the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health for screening and testing of patients for COVID-19; ensuring all levels of protection for our patients, staff and community.

As the situation continues to evolve, we have taken steps to prepare and protect our community, including limiting visitors in our facilities at Mount Nittany Health, except for special circumstances, screenings, test collection sites, masking requirements, and rescheduling elective and non-essential services. We continue to evaluate and will announce further measures as needed with the focus on our community’s health and wellbeing.

Please visit mountnittany.org/coronavirus for more information.

Tania Zuniga, MD, is a provider with Mount Nittany Physician Group Family Medicine at the Mount Nittany Health – Green Tech Drive location. She has been with Mount Nittany Health since 2015.

This article originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times.

About The Author

“I became a family medicine physician because I wanted to not just be a clinician but an advocate, counselor, and information source for my patients,” Dr. Zuniga says. “I want to be there for my patients across the entire frame of a lifetime.”

Dr. Zuniga received a Bachelor of Science in general biology from California State University in Long Beach, Calif., and her medical degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico. She completed her family medicine residency at Williamsport Regional Medical Center, part of Susquehanna Health, in Williamsport, Pa.

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