Fact vs Fiction: Myths of COVID-19.

What caused the virus? What can kill it? Should I stay away from Chinese food? Editor-in-Chief Ysa Leon answers all of these questions and more in our COVID-19 coverage.

Words by Ysa Leon, Editor-in-Chief

COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus,  is a virus spreading rapidly across the world, causing symptoms such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

  • The new coronavirus was caused by bats and/or the Chinese government.
    • There is a possibility that the disease, because of its similarity to previous viruses, was initially spread from bats to a different animal, then to humans. Preliminary research is slowly coming out, but no conclusive evidence exists that points to a singular cause. The outbreak began in the Wuhan province of China in Dec. 2019. As far as the Chinese government goes, this is a conspiracy theory with little backbone, according to Vox news.
  • Hand-sanitizer will kill the virus.
    • While hand-sanitizer is better than nothing, washing hands with soap and water is a more effective way to prevent the contraction or spread of a virus, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC.) If your hands are visibly dirty or have come into contact with harmful chemicals like pesticides, the CDC recommends at least 20 seconds of thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water. If you do not have soap and water available, research has shown that hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is the most effective for killing the microbes that sit on your skin.
  • I should completely isolate myself.
    • At the time of writing, the state government is recommending certain measures of social distancing, especially for those over the age of 60 and/or those with “diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure, or other chronic major medical conditions..” Governor Andy Beshear has advised all Kentuckians to stay home as much as possible and avoid large public gatherings. Here is the state’s center for virus updates and recommendations. Complete isolation can also have negative impacts on mental health (more on this with our continuing coronavirus coverage). However, during his press conference on March 18, Governor Beshear relayed the CDC’s recommendation to avoid crowds of more than 10 people.
  • It’s just the flu; what’s the big deal?
  • Drinking bleach will help.
    • Bleach is seriously harmful to your body. It can cause severe intestinal injury in addition to damage to the brain and mental health. Elevating general personal hygiene, like washing hands, and regularly cleaning surfaces is a much better preventive plan. Here is a list of the Center for Biocide Chemistries approved cleaning products to fight the spread of COVID-19 in your home. 
  • Antibiotics can help my body kill it.
    • The newest coronavirus is part of a family of viruses, not bacteria, and therefore cannot be killed by antibiotics. Vaccines for pneumonia also cannot help prevent the contraction of this novel virus, according to doctors at the University of Chicago, although it can help prevent the general weakening of the immune system. 
  • I should get tested, just to be safe.
    • In our state and city, tests are scarce, and are being limited to the extremely ill. If you feel strongly that you have contracted the virus, Governor Beshear has recommended that you call your primary care physician or the state hotline (1-800-722-5725). Do NOT go straight to the hospital, as you risk unnecessarily infecting others. 
  • I should stay away from Chinese food.
    • Are you going to stop eating Italian pizza, too? Don’t give in to narratives of racism and xenophobia in a time of a global pandemic. However, as of Monday, March 16, Beshear has ordered all Kentucky restaurants and bars to stop in-person dining services to further prevent the virus from spreading. Many local restaurants are still offering drive-thru, delivery, and/or carry-out options.