Coronavirus Pandemic: Deciphering Fact from Fiction

By Alexa Soroka, Senior Editor

The recent COVID-19 outbreak from Wuhan, China turned global pandemic has brought to the surface many ideas and beliefs regarding prevention and protection against the virus, some more truthful than others.

As expected, with the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, many are concerned about the welfare and safety of themselves as well as friends and family. However, it is most important to stay aware of credible sources to ensure the spread of valid and factual information only.

Continue reading to learn what’s fact and what’s fiction.

“Young people can’t get COVID-19. Only older people can contract the disease.”

FICTION! In New York state alone, as of March 22nd, individuals age 18 to 49 represent 53% of the state’s total cases. While younger individuals typically develop less severe symptoms, they can still test positive for the Coronavirus.

“Older people and those with underlying illnesses have an increased chance of getting COVID-19”

FACT! When individuals experience underlying conditions that compromise their immune systems, it leaves them more susceptible to a variety of illnesses, the Coronavirus included. Therefore, those with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, are more vulnerable to becoming ill.

“Vaccines for pneumonia can protect against the Coronavirus”

FICTION! Certain vaccines to prevent pneumonia, such as the pneumococcal vaccine and the Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, will not protect against COVID-19. This new virus is unlike any other and will need its own vaccine. Regardless, the World Health Organization advises all to get vaccinated against other respiratory illnesses for overall health.

“It is not safe to receive a package from China”

FICTION! While it is not necessarily encouraged, the World Health Organization states that it is still safe to receive packages from China. Past research has shown that the virus can live on surfaces such as metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days, however does not survive as long on cardboard or paper packaging.

“There are no specific medicines to prevent or treat COVID-19”

FACT! Scientists and academic institutions alike have been racing to create and release a vaccine to treat the virus, however there has not yet been a full development of a new vaccine. Many have looked toward pre-existing medicines, such as hydroxychloroquine, which has been used to treat lupus, malaria and arthritis, as a potential option for also treating Coronavirus patients. Either way, more studies must be done before confidently designating a COVID vaccine or medicine.

“Eating garlic can help to prevent from contracting COVID-19”

FICTION! While garlic and many “superfoods” alike are known for their antimicrobial properties and their ability to boost the immune system, there is no current evidence that dietary habits have an impact on protecting against the Coronavirus.

“Gargling with salt water can prevent you from contracting the Cornavirus”

FICTION! The most effective methods for prevention include washing your hands with soap and warm water, avoiding contact with sick people, and practicing social distancing.

For more information on deciphering fact from fiction, visit https://www.cnn.com/audio/podcasts/corona-virus to view CNN’s “Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction” podcasts.