Debunking COVID-19 Myths with MCB
The COVID-19 pandemic has people rightfully concerned and upping their hand and home hygiene routines to prevent the spread of this fast-spreading coronavirus. We all know that washing your hands kills the virus, and that now the CDC recommends all people who must leave their homes for groceries or work should be donning masks (not N95 masks, though-let’s leave those for our healthcare professionals, please!), but there has been a surge of misinformation from good folks who are desperate for information on COVID-19. It’s understandable that people are seeking information from Google searching or from Facebook, but some information you find out there is not helpful and can even be harmful if people collectively believe and spread the wrong information. That’s why today MCB is debunking some commonly shared COVID-19 information that is not factual so that you can be more informed as you strive to keep yourself and your family safe during this unprecedented time in our history. Claim 1: Home remedies such as drinking plenty of water and gargling with vinegar and warm salt water will stop the virus from traveling into the lungs, and rinsing the nose with saline will speed recovery.
This is false. The World Health Organization addressed this and other false coronavirus medical advice circulated on social media and says there’s no evidence saline nasal rinses offer any protection against a coronavirus infection. “There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold,” the agency said. “However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.” It is in fact true that increasing water intake during respiratory and other illnesses is important to prevent dehydration, and that is no different with COVID-19. However, these home remedies are completely ineffective against COVID-19 and should not be relied upon to shorten or prevent the spread of this virus. Claim 2: In various iterations of this, text messages people are forwarding to their friends, families and business networks spread information supposedly from someone who just left a two-hour briefing with the CIA and highly placed government officials. The message warns people to stock up on everything they’ll need for two weeks because a national lockdown or quarantine is coming from President Donald Trump within 48 to 72 hours.
This is false. Right now, the decision to order a shelter-in-place has been left to the governor of each state. The White House’s National Security Council also quelled a false rumor of a national lockdown in March by means of their official Twitter page, where they said in a tweet: “Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE. There is no national lockdown.” What is true is that when the President declared a national emergency, he invoked the Stafford Act, usually used to trigger federal aid to states in natural disasters and other times of crisis. The Stafford Act does not give the federal government the authority to impose mandatory quarantines. The administration also closed the nation’s borders to people traveling from high-risk countries, except for U.S. citizens coming home, but that wasn’t a lockdown. And the urgent recommendation by public health officials that Americans hunker down in their homes until April 30 is not a lockdown, either. Claim 3: Americans are going to run out of toilet paper before the pandemic is over. This is false. The reason you may be spotting empty shelves where the TP should be is because people are panic-buying it at astronomical rates because of this myth. U.S. toilet paper makers are ramping up production to ensure an ample supply of toilet paper for everyone. Unfortunately for Americans, this panic-buying contributed to a 60 percent increase in toilet paper sales in the week ending March 7, according to Nielsen data, making toilet paper more expensive. Claim 4: COVID-19 is just like the seasonal flu. This is false. The coronavirus is actually much more lethal than influenza. Epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently prepared four scenarios to predict the number of fatalities that could occur due to COVID-19, and reported them exclusively to the New York Times. Their calculations showed a large range of possible fatalities in the United States: between 200,000 and 1.7 million Americans over the course of Covid-19, assuming minimal efforts are enacted to contain its spread. There are only two causes of death that kill more Americans: cancer, which kills just under 600,000 in a year, and heart disease, which kills around 650,000. These numbers show us that the coronavirus is vastly different than the seasonal flu, which kills tens of thousands each year and that is generally not as big of a concern to most Americans, 55% of whom do not even receive the flu shot to combat the possible contraction of it. Claim 5: A vaccine for COVID-19 will solve everything. This is simply false. Although a vaccine could potentially spare us from a 2021 outbreak that is this bad, the coronavirus vaccine that is currently being administered in test patients will not be ready until it undergoes several rounds of safety verification before being mass produced for the American public. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading expert on infectious diseases, estimates the vaccine won’t be available for widespread commercial use for another 12 to 18 months. In the meantime, the health threat remains very real and we must be prepared to socially distance and self-quarantine instead of relying on a vaccine. Please remember that only sites that verify their facts can be trusted completely. Sites for coronavirus information that can be trusted and your go-to for information can include The World Health Organization, Alabama Department of Public Health, reputable news sources (i.e. the New York Times, Fox News, CNN, etc.), and of course, Medical Center Barbour.