4 Myths About COVID-19

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: August 13, 2020

The internet and social media are rife with myths and misconceptions surrounding all aspects of COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have all had to separate fact from fiction as we scroll through comments on Facebook or claims on Twitter. As experts continue to tirelessly combat the spread of the virus, it is increasingly important for all of us to recognize false or misleading claims in order to curb the spread of misinformation. Here are some common claims and the facts that dispel them.
  1. Myth: Wearing a mask can lead to carbon dioxide poisoning or oxygen deficiency.
    Fact: The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals over the age of two wear face coverings when in public. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), when a face covering is worn properly by a healthy person, it will not cause either carbon dioxide poisoning or oxygen deficiency. Experts point out that medical professionals have safely worn medical masks, including n95 respirators, for long periods of time over the last several decades without issue. Those with lung conditions may experience difficulty breathing while wearing a mask and should consult a healthcare professional before prolonged use. Otherwise, healthy adults need not be concerned.
  2. Myth: Pneumonia vaccines can prevent COVID-19.
    Fact: There is currently no vaccine available for COVID-19. The pneumonia vaccine, which protects against a type of bacterial pneumonia, does not prevent or protect against COVID-19. However, those who contract COVID-19 can develop pneumonia as a secondary infection. Experts recommend the following groups get a pneumonia vaccination: babies and children age two or younger; adults age 65 or older; smokers age 19-64; those with certain chronic diseases that affect the heart, lung or kidneys, and those with certain pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems. While a pneumonia vaccination will not prevent COVID-19, it can help prevent a common secondary infection in COVID-19 patients. For more information on pneumonia vaccine options, make a Virtual Care Visit appointment with a Kroger Health clinician.
  3. Myth: COVID-19 is just like the flu.
    Fact: Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses. Symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, cough, and others can occur with either virus, making it sometimes difficult to determine which virus is the cause. Though it is not yet known exactly how deadly the COVID-19 virus truly is, the consensus of experts is that the fatality rate for COVID-19 is substantially higher than that of the flu. There is a vaccine and various treatment options for the flu, which tend to at the very least reduce the severity of symptoms, in turn reducing the burden on hospitals. Despite some shared symptoms, COVID-19 poses a unique threat to health and healthcare systems across the globe in ways the flu does not.
  4. Myth: Everyone who contracts COVID-19 suffers severe symptoms.
    Fact: According to Yale Medicine, approximately 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild. Some infected with COVID-19 may not experience any symptoms at all. The CDC estimates that up to 40% of infections could be asymptomatic. A study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found 96% of COVID-19 patients studied experienced either cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Approximately 45% of patients experienced all three symptoms. Gastrointestinal and other symptoms, such as chills, myalgia, headache, and fatigue, also are commonly reported.

Always be sure to confirm the information you find is coming from a credible source like the CDC, WHO, or your local health department. If you have questions about myths and misconceptions surrounding the coronavirus, contact your primary care physician or Kroger Health practitioner.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.