As the coronavirus continues to grow in the U.S. and around the world, ACI is reminding that there are ways to stay healthy during these unusual times, and help you differentiate between the myths and the facts. Here is what medical professionals are saying.
Wearing a mask can help – Probably
While there has been some back and forth on whether masks are important, it seems that donning facial protection has merit. However, that doesn’t mean you should pick up surgeon masks, or the N95 masks. On the contrary, those deserve to be in the hands of those who need it: medical professionals. However, it does look like creating a DIY face mask can be effective from spreading the disease if you are infected.
Just remember to not adjust your mask in public, as your hands might’ve touched something that has the coronavirus.
Gloves can help reduce my chances of getting the virus – Mostly Myth
While it is true that gloves can act as a barrier between a person’s hand, often people don’t take the necessary precautions to make them effective. For instance, Dr. Mary E. Schmidt, a board-certified infectious disease specialist and associate professor of clinical medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University says that gloves can be “a little bit deceptive … People get this idea that they’re protected, and then use gloves to touch themselves or touch their face,” she says. “As soon as those gloves are contaminated, it’s just like having your [bare] hands.”
Drinking Alcohol may lower the risk of contamination – Myth
While this one would be too good to be true, it turns out there is no evidence that drinking beer, wine or any liquor has any effect on not getting infected. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that “In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.” It may also reduce the effectiveness of other drugs, such as antibiotics.
You can still be infected if you don’t show symptoms – Fact
This is perhaps the most important reason why people should stay home if they cannot practice social distancing. Dr. Fauci estimates that between 25-50 percent of people that have the virus, never show any symptoms, or otherwise known as being asymptomatic. For that reason, self-quarantining for 14-days is recommended if you believe you’ve been in contact with the coronavirus, as you can still spread the virus even if you don’t feel sick.
Coronavirus is more dangerous as the flu – Likely
While it’s true the seasonal flu does kill between 30,000-60,000 people per year, the coronavirus is a much bigger threat on almost every level. When Dr. Fauci was asked if the coronavirus was a bigger threat than the flu, Fauci responded, “Well yes, I mean it just is, and we’ve gotta face that fact.” The coronavirus is projected to claim at a minimum 60,000 lives this year, while other estimates show an upper bound of 240,000. Furthermore, the likelihood of dying from each virus is vastly different. Dr. Fauci noted that, “The seasonal flu that we deal with every year has a mortality of 0.1%,” he told the congressional panel, whereas coronavirus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”
The young are immune from the coronavirus – Mixed
While it’s true that the elderly and people with preexisting conditions are at the highest risk from getting hospitalized from the coronavirus, young people need to be abundantly cautious as well. From March 1-30, the Center for Disease Control reported that among the people hospitalized, “24.7% were aged 18–49 years” and “31.1% were aged 50–64 years.” All with compromised immune systems and chronic illnesses, including the young, are more vulnerable. Even with the lower health risks, young people also need to be reminded they can carry the disease with them and risk spreading it to other people that are in vulnerable categories.
As we are all living in a new reality, we recommend everyone do their part to help reduce the spread of this virus. To stay up to date, please remember to seek future advise from health officials, such as Dr. Fauci, as well as recommendations from the FDA and CDC.