Covid myths

5 common COVID-19 myths fact-checked

The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated news media since its onset. Health journalists, researchers, epidemiologists, and various subject matter experts have reported extensively on the disease, its treatments, and vaccines.

Alongside increased attention to the pandemic, has come the viral spread of COVID-19 fake news online.

An article published in The Conversation addressed some of the most commonly talked about stories that were, in fact, false. 

Myth 1: COVID-19’s newer variants are milder than the original

The myth that newer subvariants of the Omicron strain are milder has become prevalent. As with all diseases, however, the outcome of infection is critically dependent on the general population and is not always therefore necessarily mild for all populations. 

For example, when the subvariant BA.2 hit Hong Kong in the Spring of 2022, poor vaccination coverage led to a devastating outbreak. What is happening in China at present, with its less-than-optimum vaccines and poor vaccine coverage among the elderly?

Omicron infections and reinfections still have a considerable impact at a population level even without a high death rate, as Australia recorded over 10 million COVID-19 cases last year.

Myth 2: COVID only affects at-risk people (old and immunocompromised)

A common reason why some individuals chose not to get vaccinated is due to a perceived low risk of disease acquisition or its severity. This myth is particularly problematic among the youth. Though they are less likely to be hospitalized because of COVID-19, people in their 20s, 30s and 40s can catch the virus, and some still do develop severe and lasting symptoms, particularly if they are living with obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension).

As shown in this graph using data collected by Statistica, a significant number of the under-40 population in Australia has been infected as of September 2022.

Myth 3: Hand hygiene is enough to prevent the spread 

SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads via tiny particles of moisture suspended in the air. Breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing can cause these particles to become airborne. Another person can then contract the virus when infectious particles that pass through the air are inhaled at short range or if infectious particles come into direct contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. 

This is why, at the start of the pandemic, social distancing, proper ventilation and face masks along with hand hygiene were recommended by disease control experts across the world. 

Effective hand hygiene has always been a fundamental infection prevention and control strategy, but in the case of COVID-19, it isn’t sufficient on its own. 

Myth 4: Face masks don’t do much

At the onset of the pandemic, mandatory face mask rules were a tough pill to swallow for many of us. But, the fact remains that any discomfort caused by them was far outweighed by the benefits of widespread mask use.

Face masks work by protecting the wearer and others, especially against airborne viruses like COVID-19. Studies such as this one published in The Lancet have found that communities with high reported mask-wearing and physical distancing had the highest predicted probability of transmission control.

Myth 5: Vaccines don’t reduce transmission 

There is still so much misinformation with regard to COVID-19 vaccines and their efficacy. Research has consistently shown that vaccination reduces omicron transmission as well as severity. Studies show that, while not eliminating the risk entirely, vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus to others. 

Some even believe that once they have been infected by COVID-19, a vaccine isn’t required. Evidence continues to indicate that getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against getting COVID-19, whether you have already had COVID-19 or not. A study published in August 2021 indicated that if you had COVID-19 before and are not vaccinated, your risk of getting reinfected is more than two times higher than for those who were infected and got vaccinated.

While there is some level of immunity from infection, it is not known how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again. Also, the level of immunity provided by the vaccines after having COVID-19 is higher than the level of immunity for those who had COVID but were not subsequently vaccinated.

A study titled “Global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination: a mathematical modeling study” inferred that COVID-19 vaccinations substantially altered the course of the pandemic, saving tens of millions of lives globally. Their mathematical modeling revealed how vaccinations more than halved the potential global death toll due to COVID-19, with an estimated 19.8 million deaths from COVID-19 averted as a result of vaccination.

Opinions or facts expressed within the content have been sourced from various news sources. While every effort has been taken to source them accurately, the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates do not take any responsibility for errors in these sources. Patients should not rely on the facts or opinions in the content to manage their own health, and should seek the advice of an appropriate medical professional. Further, the opinions or facts in the content do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *