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The rumors about Coronavirus and COVID-19 (the illness caused by Coronavirus) have led to panic, confusion, and frustration for many of us in recent weeks. For example, some people are saying that thousands more have died than we are being told, while others report that they believe the numbers to be exaggerated and sensationalized.I knew that we were in trouble when I witnessed people running and practically pushing each other down in the aisles of Sam’s Club on March 20th. Things have not improved much in the past two months. Because of this virus’s novelty, there are lots of things that we don’t know, and although researchers are learning as much as they can, people demand immediate answers. In the face of uncertainty, even misinformation is preferable and comforting for many people, compared to no information.
Rumors are frequently said to originate with a doctor or a government representative, who upon further scrutiny, doesn’t even exist. The truth is that bathing in bleach is a horrible idea. The only valid way to find out if you’ve been infected is through a lab test. COVID-19 is far more contagious and deadly that the seasonal flu (3.4% of people with COVID-19 will pass away compared to 0.1% of those with the seasonal flu). This is certainly not the first virus to sweep around the world, killing thousands of people, and there is nothing unique to the novel Coronavirus to suggest that it is a bio-weapon or the result of a “lab accident”.
An example of a potentially harmful misguided belief is that you’re protected from the virus if there’s a face shield or other barrier between you and someone else. The funny thing about air is that it moves, and it is believed that this virus lives in the air for three hours. This is even scarier if you are in a building filled with other people and recirculating air. Yet, some people feel safe if there’s a cubicle wall, or a face shield at the checkout line in front of them, even though air obviously circulates around those barriers. While barriers can help, especially if someone coughs or sneeze, they obviously aren’t the whole answer.
I think that we’ve all probably believed a rumor, or at least an exaggerated or distorted fact since the pandemic began. Take this quick quiz to see if you’ve fallen victim to a Coronavirus rumor!