Published on: August 3, 2020
Let’s face it – 2020 hasn’t really gone as planned. Most everyone’s lives have been derailed by Covid-19, the novel coronavirus that began wreaking havoc in the U.S. in late February and early March. As of August 3, 2020, there have been approximately 4.6 million cases in the U.S. and, tragically, just over 154,000 people have died from complications from the virus in the United States. Here in Hillsborough County, there have been over 30,000 confirmed cases and over 300 deaths caused by the virus. In Pinellas county, we’ve seen over 16,000 confirmed cases and over 400 deaths (all numbers as of Aug 3, 2020). These numbers are continuing to climb, which means that we must remain vigilant.
The vast majority of us have pitched in to do our part – from staying home, to adhering to the CDC’s hygiene and social distancing guidelines, and so forth. However, finding ourselves well into the Summer months now, there is a collective desire in our communities and nation for things to get back to normal. We just don’t know what “normal” will be.
Even in a right and normal desire to fully “reopen America”, it must be done carefully and strategically – letting the science and medical data drive the decisions, especially in areas with a high concentration of cases. We have already seen cases begin to rise as states continue their phases of reopening. Top federal health officials have even recently warned that the surge in infections in more than a dozen states could worsen without new restrictions being put in place. Some U.S. states have recently reported new highs for current coronavirus hospitalizations as the number of infections continued to climb across the South and West in July 2020.
Reopening Cautiously and Wisely
So, while we do want to “reopen America”, the facts are telling us that we must be extremely cautious and take strategic steps forward with the general public’s health as our top priority.
In this interesting, yet confusing time, when things are beginning to reopen, while cases continue to rise, we wanted to bring to light and dispel some common myths related to Covid-19. It is a privilege to live in a time where vital information is right at our fingertips. However, major problems arise when that information is untrue and eventually those false claims begin to spread at the same rate as the pandemic. We hope this information is helpful to you. Please take precautions as you begin to head back out into the public.
Myth #1: Wearing rubber gloves while out in public is effective in preventing a Covid-19 infection.
This claim is false. Regularly washing your uncovered hands offers more assurance against getting Covid than wearing elastic gloves. You can still contract the Covid-19 virus on rubber gloves. If you then touch your face, the contamination goes from your glove to your face and can infect you.
Myth #2: Warm weather and hot and humid climates keep Covid-19 from spreading.
This warm climate statement is simply not true. Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 77 degrees does not prevent the coronavirus disease, nor decrease its ability to spread. You can catch Covid-19, no matter how sunny it is outside or how hot the air temperature is. Again, the best way to protect yourself is to make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Myth #3: Covid-19 is a bacteria that can be treated with antibiotics.
Totally false. The coronavirus disease is caused by a virus, NOT by bacteria. The virus that causes Covid-19 is in a family of viruses called Coronaviridae. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. Some people who become ill with Covid-19 can also develop a bacterial infection as a complication. In this case, antibiotics may be recommended by a healthcare provider.
Myth #4: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can help protect against Covid-19.
Untrue and dangerous. Drinking alcohol does not protect you against Covid-19 and can be dangerous for obvious reasons. As is very widely known, the harmful use of alcohol increases your risk of health problems, and definitely does not prevent against illness or viruses of any type.
Myth #5: Thermal scanners can detect Covid-19.
Not true. Thermal scanners CANNOT detect Covid-19. Thermal scanners are successful in recognizing individuals who have a fever. They can’t detect individuals who are infected with Covid-19. There are numerous reasons for a child or adult to have a fever.
Myth #6: Drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach can prevent or cure Covid-19.
This claim is totally untrue and very dangerous. Drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach DOES NOT prevent or cure Covid-19. Doing so would be extremely dangerous. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are poisons. Drinking them can lead to disability and even death. More frequently, methanol, ethanol, and bleach are used in cleaning products to kill the virus on surfaces. However, you should never drink them. They will not kill the virus in your body, and they will be very harmful to your internal organs.
Myth #7: Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing, proves you do not have Covid-19.
Untrue. Having the ability to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus or some other lung disease. The most widely recognized side effects of Covid-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more extreme types of the virus, for example, pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have contracted the virus is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise mentioned above, which can even be dangerous for some to try.
Myth #8: Taking a hot bath can prevent Covid-19.
The hot bath recommendation will not work. Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from contracting Covid-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 97.7°F to 98.6°F, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower water. As a matter of fact, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you.
Myth #9: Covid-19 can be transmitted through mosquito bites.
The coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites. To date there has been no information nor evidence to prove that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
Myth #10: Ultra-violet (UV) lamps can be used to disinfect hands or other areas of skin.
Please do not try this. Ultra-violet (UV) lamps should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin. UV radiation can cause skin irritation and damage your eyes. Cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or washing your hands with soap and water are the most effective ways to remove the virus.
Myth #11: Pneumonia vaccines will protect you against Covid-19.
Vaccines which fight against pneumonia, such as the pneumococcal vaccine and the Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. This virus is so new and different that it needs to have its own vaccine. Researchers are presently working to develop a vaccine, which hopefully will be released by the end of 2020. In spite of the fact that these immunizations are not successful in fighting Covid-19, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly encouraged to ensure your well-being.
Myth #12: Covid-19 only affects older people. Younger people are not susceptible.
People of all ages can contract a Covid-19 infection. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma) appear to be more susceptible to becoming severely ill with the virus. It is highly encouraged that people of all ages take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene, and the points we lay out at the end of this article.
Myth #13: Eating garlic can help protect against a Covid-19 infection.
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from Covid-19.
In closing, please take every precaution to investigate prevention claims when it comes to Covid-19. As cases continue to rise, it is important to stay informed with real facts. There is much we still do not know about the new coronavirus. What we do know is that it is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. Even speaking and singing can disperse these droplets.
Covid-19 “Stay Safe” Tips
Remember, the best ways to protect yourself and your family are:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Regularly disinfect objects and surfaces, especially the ones you touch on a regular basis.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing or sneezing or who is noticeably sick.
- Avoid large events and mass gatherings as best as you can.
- Cover your face with a cloth face mask in public places, like the grocery store, where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. This tip is especially true here in Tampa Bay where we are experiencing ongoing community spread of the virus. When wearing a mask, try to only use non-medical cloth masks as surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for health care providers.
- Even though stay at home orders have been lifted, try to stay at home as much as possible.
- Be sure to cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at our office at (813) 251-8444. Stay safe and we hope to (safely) see you soon.