Although the number of patients with COVID-19 is growing by the minute, some people don’t take the pandemic very seriously.
A pandemic on the scale of what a novel virus like SARS-CoV-2 could end up being has not occurred since the influenza pandemic of 1918 that took the lives of some 50 million or more people worldwide. Since few of us were around then, and given medical advances in the form of preventative vaccines and antiviral medications since that time, it’s hard for us to imagine that a ‘flu-like’ illness could be so destructive,” explains Dr. Joseph M. Pierre, health sciences clinical professor of psychiatry at University of California, Los Angeles.
We’re constantly surrounded by information about the virus, but it can be difficult to recognize a misinformation. Experts are sharing the most common myths about the virus, so keep on reading!
Here are the 4 myths about the Coronavirus and the explanation from experts:
Myth 1: Coronavirus is just another flu
Although both cause respiratory illnesses, they are different.
“Differences between coronavirus and influenza and more common viruses still in circulation are that we know that the coronavirus binds to receptors in the lower part of the airways, and that accounts for the fact that so frequently, but not always, dry cough along with fever and fatigue are three of the symptoms that are most commonly associated with COVID-19. Having a runny nose is not expected with COVID-19 infection. Having muscle aches and pains is much more common with influenza. Having a productive cough, coughing up phlegm, can occur with COVID-19 infections, particularly late on, but it’s not typical with what the early course is,” explains Dr.Bruce E.Hirsch.
Coronavirus stands out with its mortality rates. The mortality rate is 3-4%, while for seasonal flu is below 0.1%.
Myth 2: It’s created by people
Believing in consipracy theories is nothing new. More than 50% of Americans believe that there’s some sort of conspiracy behind the virus. The truth is that we’re biological beings living in a world with other biological beings we can’t always control.
To think of this as a biological weapon that escaped control or as something that is manmade… I understand that as a psychological defense mechanism to be able to understand, contain, and ‘otherize’ this phenomenon. It makes the world easier to understand and gives false comfort and gives a worldview of us versus them. There are bats that live near humans and viruses that live inside bats. A person who gets infected 7,500 miles away from New York where I live — that person’s health and my health are directly affected with each other. This is the world we have to confront, and we have to accept the fact that we have a certain vulnerability living on such a small, crowded planet,” explains Dr. Hirsch.
Myth 3: There’s nothing we can do until a vaccine is invented
The vaccine for the coronavirus is probably 12-18 months away. It’s something to strive for, but no one knows if it’s going to definitely end the epidemic. Diagnosed patients are taking symptomatic therapy, which means taking medication for the coronavirus symptoms.
“I’m afraid this virus might not go away as quickly as I hope it would, and it’s important to have strategy,” says Dr. Hirsch.
Myth 4: It only affects the old
Although most people diagnosed with Coronavirus develop mild illness, The World Health Organization explains that 14% of the infected people develop more severe symptoms and need to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, 5% of the infected end up in an intensive care unit.
We already know that older people and people with a certain previous health condition are at greatest risk, but this doesn’t mean that young people can’t get the virus.
“A person who is young is less likely to have severe disease. But we are very disturbed to see a fair number of younger individuals below the age of 60 — in their 30s and 40s — and some of whom are deeply affected, critically ill, on respirators, and requiring extraordinary amounts of medical care and resources, who are getting this infection,” said Hirsch.