It’s impossible to turn on the news at the moment and not be greeted with updates about the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The problem, however, with so much news coverage is that it can be difficult to discern which pieces of information are true and which are simply myths.
To help provide some clarity, we have compiled this list of coronavirus myths:
Myth 1. Children cannot catch the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)
While the majority of coronavirus cases have been in adults, people of any age can become infected with SARS-CoV-2. What is true is that adults with several pre-existing health conditions are more likely to become severely ill.
Myth 2. COVID-19 is just like the flu
While COVID-19 causes many symptoms that could be described as ‘flu-like’ and both illnesses can lead to pneumonia, the overall profile of COVID-19 is more serious than ordinary flu. While the actual mortality rate of COVID-19 remains unclear, it is expected to be many times higher than that of seasonal flu.
Myth 3. Antibiotics kill coronavirus
COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus. Antibiotics only kill bacteria, so they are all but useless against the new coronavirus.
Myth 4. Thermal scanners can diagnose coronavirus
The only thing that thermal scanners can detect is an elevated body temperature (a fever). While this is one of the symptoms of COVID-19, it cannot be used to diagnose the disease alone.
Myth 5. Face masks protect against coronavirus
Wearing a face mask is not guaranteed to protect you from SARS-CoV-2 – especially if the face mask is ill-fitting. Where face masks can make a real difference is when they are worn by people with the virus, as they can help prevent others from becoming infected.
[Related reading: A lesser known COVID-19 symptom to look out for]