COVID-19 Facts and Fictions Update 

It has been at least three months since we’ve last discussed details of the pandemic. Because of this virus being so brand new, new information surrounding it is discovered regularly. Unfortunately, with new facts come new more fantastical fictions that are being spread all over the internet without a basis in fact.  

As promised, in this post, I will look at the new facts that have come out about COVID-19 as well as the new myths. I will also explain the acronym SIFT and how it will help you to differentiate between fact and myth.   

What are the facts? 

  • The Corona Virus Disease 2019 is also and more commonly called COVID-19.  
  • This virus includes symptoms, such as high fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, etc. 
  • It’s important to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds (two ‘Happy Birthdays’), sanitize surfaces regularly, and maintain a six-foot distance 
  • Wearing a mask in public places (whether mandatory or not) protects others and yourself 

In June, we learned something pivotal regarding this virus: it is spread more commonly through the air, which is why we need to keep a distance of six feet (2 meters). On the other hand, it does not spread as rapidly by touch (though that does not mean it doesn’t spread by touch). Our family still wipes down everything we get from the grocery store, and we still wash our hands regularly and avoid touching our faces.  

The big difference here is that, because spreading through the air is more common, two practices have been pushed to the forefront:  

  1. Maintaining a six-foot distance 
  2. Wearing a mask 

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent 

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2020/08/statement-from-the-chief-public-health-officer-of-canada-on-august-12-2020.html 

Most people seem to think that wearing a mask protects them from getting the virus, and although, it does help, it is not the main reason for doing it.  

Wearing a mask protects others.  

Therefore, the more people who wear masks the more people are safe from contracting this deadly virus. The point is to not overwhelm our healthcare system and to flatten the curve of potential cases.  

Right now, we still do not have a vaccine or a treatment, but both are currently in the works with progress happening all over the world from here in Canada to the United States to Europe and Russia.  

Some cities/provinces (though not all) have mandated the wearing of masks in public places, including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Ontario, and most recently, Quebec. Now, BC doctors are calling for BC to do the same: 

https://www.citynews1130.com/2020/08/05/bc-doctors-masks-mandatory-covid-19/ 

Even if wearing masks isn’t mandatory as of yet, some businesses have made mask-wearing mandatory to their customers, staff, and patients.   

It’s important to understand the truth of what’s going on in your province /city/town so that you can relay the correct information to your staff, whether you’re a Denturist, Dentist or Independent Hygienist. Find out what your leaders are doing to ensure businesses like yours stay open while remaining safe during this difficult time.  

Alberta – made masks mandatory: https://www.alberta.ca/masks.aspx 

Toronto – made masks mandatory: https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-makes-masks-or-face-coverings-mandatory-in-enclosed-public-spaces/ 

Quebec – made masks mandatory: https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/wearing-a-face-covering-in-public-settings-in-the-context-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/ 

More Resources: 

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/know-facts-about-coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/share-facts.html 

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-alert.html 

 

What are the myths? 

COVID-19 spreads a lot faster when myths about the virus, including nonexistent treatments, get in the way. To keep yourself fully informed on all the misinformation out there, it’s important to do your research into treatments and cures that seem a little… too easy, or in some cases, extremely dangerous 

On the Ontario Tech Library website, they say the following:  

Although COVID-19 poses a major health risk to individuals this doesn’t stop fake news about the coronavirus from spreading. Disinformation about the coronavirus has actually become so prevalent that the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized it as a “infodemic” in February 2020.  

With new information and research developing daily about this virus, use the SIFT method and resources outlined below to help you determine whether information that you read about the novel coronavirus is credible or not. 

What is the SIFT method?  

STOP 

Investigate the source 

Find better or other coverage 

Trace back to source; see original context 

For more information on this method, check out the following link: https://guides.library.uoit.ca/fakenews 

Below are just some of the many myths going around about COVID-19 on which I implore you to use this method to debunk these myths yourself. I sure did.  

COVID-19 is spread by the 5G Network

In researching this, the truth became painfully obvious that the 5G network does not spread COVID-19. The WHO has since debunked this conspiracy theory with the following statement: 

“Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.”  

They go on to say that COVID-19 is actually spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. They can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface. 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters#5g 

https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/4/24/21231085/coronavirus-5g-conspiracy-theory-covid-facebook-youtube 

 

Spraying chlorine on the skin kills COVID-19 in your body 

Not only is this myth not true, it is dangerous misinformation. Chlorine burns the skin, and it is poison if it gets in your eyes, nose or mouth.  

https://hartfordhealthcare.org/about-us/news-press/news-detail?articleId=26748&publicid=395 

Masks don’t help against COVID-19; and can cause it 

This myth has been floating around the internet for a long time and has been debunked by WHO, CDC, and many others in the scientific community.  

Here are the facts about masks and their effect on COVID-19. Wearing one will protect those around you because of how the virus is spread. Not only that, but as we learn more about asymptomatic cases, the more essential it is that we all wear masks so as not to spread a virus we might not even know we have.   

This, in addition to maintaining a six-foot distance and staying home as often as possible can be what turns the tide here.  

Masks are essential to getting back to some semblance of normal. I wear a mask in public places because I know that I am protecting those around me, and I hope to influence others to do the same. Also, masks can help protect the wearer a lot more than if they were not wearing one.  

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters#oxygen 

Ibuprofen worsens COVID-19 

A good friend of mine has taken this myth seriously and even told me about it, which sent me straight to the good old Google machine to check on this myth for myself (mainly because I do take this drug on occasion for migraines and other types of pain).  

Now, what I’ve seen regarding this says the same thing: even though reports in March indicated there might be issues, there has been no evidence to back up this claim.  

https://hartfordhealthcare.org/about-us/news-press/news-detail?articleId=26748&publicid=395 

https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2020/72633a-eng.php 

The issue with myths like this is they can seem so real, which is why I wasn’t sure and had to check on this for myself. In addition, it is apparent that the government of Canada is still monitoring this situation.  

The best course of action here is not to spread this information until it has been scientifically confirmed. But do keep yourself updated so that you are in the know right away if anything changes.  

Conclusion 

My general rule of thumb is if something seems off about a piece of information, get on my computer and do my researchI look for reputable sources, including medical professionals, WHO, CDC, Government of Canada, my city and town leaders who can provide scientific evidence.  

I suggest that you challenge all information if you are unsure, and do not spread if you do not know. I have referenced quite a few sources for this article and highly recommend that you check out the links below, especially https://guides.library.uoit.ca/fakenews  so that you can learn more about SIFT   

It is so important to me that you, your business, your patients and your loved ones stay safe during this time. Remember, we are all in this together and together is how we will get through this.  

Even more resources 

https://guides.library.uoit.ca/fakenews 

https://www.chch.com/covid-19-fact-and-fiction-10/ 

https://hartfordhealthcare.org/about-us/news-press/news-detail?articleId=26748&publicid=395