5 Common Coronavirus Myths

While science and medicine continue to make rapid advances in expanding our knowledge about COVID-19, novel coronavirus, much about this infectious disease remains unknown. Lingering questions about the virus have prompted a growing body of misinformation that’s spreading across the web and on social media. When searching for guidance about how to best protect yourself and your loved ones, how do you separate fact from fiction?

Here, we round up five common coronavirus myths and set the record straight about these misconceptions about the disease, from who can get it to how to limit its spread.

Myth: Young people can’t get sick from coronavirus

While the CDC notes that people 65 years and older and those with underlying health issues are most at risk for severe illness from a coronavirus infection, younger adults may also become ill. In fact, a recently published CDC report stated that approximately 38% of patients who have been hospitalized with coronavirus between February 12 and March 16 of this year in the U.S. are under 55 years old.

Although younger people who do become ill are more likely to experience mild to moderate effects than their older counterparts, people under 65 should continue observe the guidance issued by public health officials to avoid becoming infected or spreading the virus.

Myth: Washing your hands in warm water is the best way to kill coronavirus

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is among the most effective measures you can take to prevent coronavirus transmission. But when scrubbing up, is it more effective to use warm or cold water?

According to several studies, water temperature isn’t the main factor in effective handwashing. What’s important is that you lather up with an adequate amount of soap and wash your hands well for at least 20 seconds–the amount of time recommended by the CDC–to ensure you’ve killed any traces of the virus that may be present. Don’t have access to soap and water? Alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is an acceptable alternative.

Myth: You don’t have coronavirus if you’re not showing any symptoms

Many people who’ve been infected by the virus may never experience any of the hallmark symptoms of the infection, which include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. That’s why social distancing is such an important factor in limiting the disease’s spread: you may have the disease and unknowingly spread it to others.

While the only way to know for sure if you have coronavirus is to get tested, there’s a growing body of evidence points to another possible clue: In patients who are otherwise asymptomatic, lost sense of smell and diminished or lost ability to taste may indicate a coronavirus infection.

Myth: Natural cleansers like vinegar can kill coronavirus

Regularly cleaning the surfaces in your home is an important part of promoting health in your household, and this is doubly true as families and communities around the world take extra steps to stay well. If you’re accustomed to using natural products like vinegar to clean your home, you should know there’s little evidence to support their effectiveness in killing viruses like COVID-19. It’s best to stick with disinfectants like those containing bleach or alcohol.

For maximum effectiveness, however, be sure to allow the cleanser to remain on surfaces long enough to kill the virus before wiping it off.

Myth:  Cardboard boxes can transmit coronavirus

With families practicing social distancing at home and relying on online ordering to purchase necessities, many wonder if they should be concerned about whether the boxes delivered to their homes may be unwitting carriers of coronavirus. However, consensus among experts suggests that the risk of transmission in this way is extremely low.

Still feeling uncertain about your risk of transmission from cardboard boxes? After bringing shipped purchases into your home, be sure to disinfect any surfaces that may have inadvertently come in contact with the package and, as always, wash your hands.

Visit the Coronavirus Resource Center to learn more.