Coronavirus Updates and Resources

10 Common Coronavirus Myths Debunked

Published on April 15, 2020


The coronavirus (COVID-19) isn’t the only thing that is spreading across the country like wildfire these days. Rumors and myths about COVID-19 have been circulating on social media and questionable websites for months. While the spread of misinformation is inevitable during any major world event or crisis, it is particularly dangerous during a viral outbreak.

One of the reasons there are so many rumors is due to the novelty of the virus – hence why it’s called the novel coronavirus. Scientists and health professionals are learning about COVID-19 as it spreads in real time, which has left a lot of room for misinterpretations and misunderstandings surrounding the coronavirus. However, now that we are more than a month into the pandemic and public health organizations have confirmed more information, it has become much easier to separate facts from myths.

Below we’ll answer the questions you may have about coronavirus with information from credible sources.

1) Are only older individuals (ages 65 and older) are at risk for COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) are considered to be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Also, children and young adults are not immune to the coronavirus. Everyone should be taking proper precautions to prevent COVID-19 infection and prevent further spreading.

2) Can you contract COVID-19 from mail or a delivered package?

This article published by Harvard Medical School notes that there is no reason to suspect that packages from areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases, including China, carry the virus. The risk of catching the COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is low.

3) Is it easy to tell whether or not you are infected with the coronavirus?

Some people infected with the virus are asymptomatic, or have no symptoms. According to an analysis from the Chinese Center for Disease Control, approximately 80% of coronavirus cases are mild. While this may sound like a positive development, asymptomatic people could be potentially spreading viral respiratory droplets to high-risk individuals with the virus that causes COVID-19. This is why it’s important to cover your mouth when you are out in public.

4) Does rinsing your nose with saline prevent COVID-19 infection?

According to WHO, there is no evidence that supports this theory. While this is one way to treat the common cold, it is not effective in treating severe respiratory illnesses such as the coronavirus.  

5) Do cloth masks and face coverings protect uninfected individuals from COVID-19?

Face masks are not designed to protect the user from COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one in public. The point of wearing face masks for prevention is to safeguard others around you, in case you are infected with COVID-19 but do not have symptoms.

6) If you are wearing a face mask, do you still have to social distance?

The CDC’s recent recommendation regarding face masks is intended to serve as an additional safety precaution. It’s still important to wash your hands and maintain a six-foot distance from others in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. So if you must go out in public, be sure to keep a safe distance even while wearing a cloth mask.

7) Do hand dryers kill the coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization, hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19. They are, however, a great way to dry your hands after you have washed them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Frequent handwashing is still considered to be one of the most effective methods in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

8) Do only wealthy or well-connected people get tested for COVID-19?

While not everyone can be tested for COVID-19 at this time, the priorities for COVID-19 diagnostic testing depends on the risk and severity of a patient’s case, not their wealth or status. Certain groups of high-risk individuals, including hospitalized patients, symptomatic healthcare workers, etc. are more likely to be tested than others. Click here to view the CDC’s updated priorities for testing patients with suspected COVID-19 infection.

9) Is COVID-19 is just like having the flu?

Symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, are also associated with the common cold and flu. However, after about a week, these symptoms could potentially develop into something more severe, such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face. If you believe you have these symptoms, or they have progressed in a short amount of time, consult a health care provider immediately and tell them about your condition.

10) Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

According to WHO, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19.  While there are vaccines and drug treatments currently under investigation, they are being tested through clinical trials at this point. Frequent hand washing and social distancing practices are still considered to be the most effective ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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For information and guidelines specific to the coronavirus outbreak, visit

This article is for general information and should not be relied on as medical advice. Check with a medical professional for medical advice.

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