Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, we’ve been bombarded with endless and often competing information. In the ensuing months, the internet, and social media in particular, has been a place where many have gotten their news. Some of that information has been useful, while some of it has just been conspiracy theories and outright false claims.
But with so many different news sources competing for your attention, how do you combate misinformation surrounding COVID-19?
It’s simple. Conduct your own research.
When your health is at stake, it is critical to obtain information from news sources that are not only credible — but that can be held accountable. In the age of anonymity and dubious claims, seeking out answers from trusted news sites and medical journals is a great way to stay informed without being misled. If you see something on social media and want to confirm its validity, you can always use websites that employ accredited doctors like the CDC, WHO, FDA, Snopes and the AP Fact Check page to double-check your sources.
Debunking COVID-19 Myths
For those looking for a simple guide, we’ve compiled a list of the most common misinformation being spread online around Coronavirus (COVID-19) and we’ve taken the time to separate fact from fiction.
MYTH: A Vaccine will Completely Eradicate the Novel Coronavirus (SARs-CoV-2)
FACT: While a vaccine may be ready for distribution as early as January 2021, the quality of the vaccine may still be an issue. The race to finding an effective vaccine is challenging for many reasons, but can be boiled down to two key factors:
- Not everyone, even those who have recovered from COVID-19, develops a protective antibody response.
- In those who developed an antibody immunity, the response varies greatly from person to person. Roughly 75-80 percent develop a strong antibody response, 10-15 percent develop a weak antibody response and another 10 percent develop no antibody response at all.
These numbers mean that the vaccine may only be about 75-80 percent effective. Not to mention that the coronavirus may mutate over time, and we may have to be immunized annually against it in order to prevent contracting different strains in the future.
MYTH: Coronavirus Symptoms are Identical to the Flu
FACT: While COVID-19 does share some common symptoms of the flu, they are not identical. For example, people who have been diagnosed with the flu often experience chills, aches and sore throat, while those symptoms are found less often in COVID-19 patients.
Although the coronavirus is top of mind for most people, there are other diseases, infections and conditions that are still just as prevalent, including the flu, common cold, pneumonia and even seasonal allergies and they all share overlapping symptoms. Below is a chart breaking down what symptoms are commonly associated with each condition. As a disclaimer, this chart should not be used to diagnose yourself, that should be done by your personal physician or a healthcare professional.
The above chart is not an exhaustive list. New symptoms are constantly being reported and researched. To see the latest comprehensive list, please continue to check the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
MYTH: Chloroquine/Hydroxychloroquine is Effective Against COVID-19
FACT: There has been much controversy surrounding whether the malaria treatments, Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquinean can be effective in treating the coronavirus. At the time of this post, there has not been a definitive and replicable study showing the drug to be a means to prevent or treat a COVID-19 infection.
MYTH: Ingesting Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol Can Protect You From COVID-19
FACT: Do not under any circumstance ingest bleach or rubbing alcohol. Although these disinfectants are used to clean surfaces in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they are toxic and should not be introduced to the human body. These chemicals are poisonous and could cause permanent damage to your internal organs and may even lead to death. If you or anyone in you know has ingested any cleaning products, you should contact Poison Control immediately. Please keep all disinfectants out of reach from children and animals.
MYTH: Ultraviolet Light Can Kill COVID-19
FACT: Similar to the myth above, ultraviolet light can be used as a disinfectant tool on surfaces, but should not be used to sterilize any part of the human body. According to the American Cancer Society, UV radiation has been known to cause severe skin irritation, eye problems and can even weaken your immune system. It is also important to note that if you’re already infected with the virus, no amount of UV light will help treat you.
MYTH: There is a Coronavirus Medicine Already on the Market
FACT: At the time of this post, there is no specific medicine available to directly prevent or treat COVID-19.
Those who are infected with the virus and are currently being treated are receiving care to relieve and treat their symptoms. Many companies and organizations, including ThermoGenesis, are hard at work developing and investigating specific treatments and conducting clinical trials for solutions to bring to market.
While there are many supplements and “treatments” currently being marketed as “COVID-19 cures”, none have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you come across an advertisement or home remedy for a miracle coronavirus cure, approach it from a place of skepticism. Be sure to consult the Federal Trade Commissions’ Coronavirus Advice for Consumers and always research any product before you make a purchase.
MYTH: Only the Elderly Have to Worry About COVID-19
FACT: Although older people face a higher risk of developing severe complications due to the coronavirus, they are not the only ones at risk. People of all ages who suffer from heart conditions, autoimmune diseases and even asthma are in a higher risk category than everyone else. Even if you consider yourself to be in good physical health, that does not mean you can’t put others at risk.
The best way to prevent the spread to those at risk is to practice social distancing and limit your interactions with vulnerable individuals.
MYTH: Children Are Not Susceptible to COVID-19
FACT: Although adults and the elderly appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19, infants and children do contract the virus. Symptoms in children tend to be mild, but those with underlying medical conditions can develop severe complications. Even if your child only possesses mild symptoms or is asymptomatic, they can still pass-on the illness to others.
Be sure to explain to your child that even though they are slowly becoming more social, they should always practice simple, preventative measures like washing their hands, wearing their mask and limiting physical contact with others. For more information on how you can keep your children healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the CDC.
MYTH: The Coronavirus is Only as Bad as the Flu
FACT: As noted above, the coronavirus shares many symptoms with the flu, but research has shown that it spreads faster and has a higher mortality rate. It is also important to consider that there is a vaccine available for the flu while, at the moment, everyone in the population is theoretically susceptible to the coronavirus. Keeping with that theme, the flu has several treatments already approved by the FDA that have been proven to be effective. Currently, there have been no such approved treatments for COVID-19.
The social responsibility is on everyone to protect themselves and those around them in order to reduce the rate of transmission.
MYTH: You Can’t Become Infected With the Coronavirus Twice
FACT: There has been no definitive answer as to whether a previous infection provides extended immunity. Researchers are currently studying how the virus is mutating and if those already infected have developed long-lasting protective antibodies against the virus. Until the research can paint a more definitive picture, it is recommended that everyone, including those who have already recovered from COVID-19, continue to maintain general social distancing protocols.
MYTH: Ibuprofen Makes COVID-19 Worse
FACT: While the World Health Organization (WHO) initially recommended using acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen to help reduce the symptoms related to coronavirus infection, they have since revised their stance. Experts now say that either acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to help reduce pain, fever and aches. However, it is always important to check with a pharmacist or a healthcare professional first before treating yourself with any medication. Many individuals may have other underlying health conditions that can be negatively impacted by the use of an anti-inflammatory drug.
MYTH: Thermal Scanners Can Detect Coronavirus
FACT: Thermal scanners can only detect whether or not a person has a fever. As shown in the common symptoms chart above, many other conditions, like the seasonal flu, common cold or other infections can also produce a fever.
Presently, there are only two ways to test for the coronavirus: diagnostic tests and antibody testing.
Diagnostic tests, like molecular and antigen tests, are done to see if the virus is currently present in your system from genetic material collected from a nasal or throat swab.
COVID-19 antibody testing is done generally to determine whether an individual has the antibodies in their immune system for the coronavirus. A health care professional takes a small blood sample from their finger and tests it to determine whether they have developed antibodies against the virus.
MYTH: Coronavirus Antibody Tests Are Inaccurate
FACT: COVID-19 antibody tests, also referred to as serology tests or novel coronavirus antibody tests, have been shown to be an effective method to determine whether or not someone has been exposed to coronavirus in the past. Since the COVID-19 antibody test only requires a single drop of blood from a subject, it is an easy, rapid test to administer and replicate. However it is important to note, there is a possibility that a small percent of the population may not develop the antibodies even after recovering from the virus.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, on the other hand, determine whether or not a person is contracted with the virus at the moment of testing. While it is a helpful tool in monitoring the spread of the virus in real time, it has not always produced the most accurate results. In a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, researchers found that testing individuals for coronavirus too early in the course of an infection is likely to produce a false negative test result. The report found even a week after infection, one in five individuals who had the virus had received a negative test result.
PCR tests also require a healthcare professional to collect genetic material from a person’s nose or throat by using a long and somewhat unpleasant swab. These types of tests heavily rely on the skill-level of the person collecting the sample. There are cases, especially when an individual is asked to self-sample, where they are not able to properly conduct the test due to apprehension or discomfort.
Separating COVID Fact From Fiction
Remember that testimonials and anecdotes from friends or social media posts are not a substitute for real scientific evidence.
If you have any questions about products, treatments or methods for combating COVID-19, preventing infections, or COVID-19 test kits please talk to your doctor or healthcare professional. If you see a medication advertised as a COVID-19 cure, you can always contact your local pharmacist or the FDA’s Division of Drug Information to confirm.
In addition to staying informed and educated, the WHO and the CDC recommend following these precautions for avoiding COVID-19:
- Avoid large events and mass gatherings
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- Stay six feet away from everyone who is not in your immediate household
- Stay home as much as you can if COVID-19 is spreading in your community
- Cover your face with a cloth face covering in public spaces
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid sharing food, dishes, glasses with those who may be sick
- Clean and disinfect surfaces daily
- Check with the CDC and WHO for health advisories before traveling anywhere
How We Can Help
ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc. (formerly Cesca Therapeutics Inc.), is a pioneer and market leader in the development and commercialization of automated cell processing technologies for the cell and gene therapy fields. We market a full suite of solutions for automated clinical biobanking, COVID-19 antibody testing, point-of-care applications and large scale cell processing and manufacturing with a special emphasis on the emerging CAR T immunotherapy market. We are committed to making the world a healthier place by creating innovative health solutions for everyone.
If you’re a healthcare professional looking for more information on how to buy our COVID-19 IgG/IgM antibody testing kit, visit our website and request a quote today.