Home Health News 10 new COVID-19 myths: Expert opinion

10 new COVID-19 myths: Expert opinion

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In this Special Feature, we asked our resident specialists to chip away at a few of the newest rumors, myths, and half-truths that encompass the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

All knowledge and statistics are primarily based on publicly obtainable knowledge on the time of publication. Some info could also be old-fashioned.

Earlier this yr, Medical News Today launched two articles designed to bust some widespread myths related to COVID-19: one was initially revealed in February and the opposite in June.

As the impression of COVID-19 progresses, and our understanding of the illness and its causes improves, the form of on-line dialogue has shifted.

So, virtually 11 months into 2020, we asked our medical specialists, as soon as once more, to revisit the hole between reality and fiction. We asked them to handle new myths which have solely lately surfaced and chronic misunderstandings which are nonetheless circulating.

The solutions beneath comprise a mixed effort from the next Healthline experts:

  • Dr. E Hanh Le, Chief Medical Officer
  • Dr. Lindsay Slowiczek, Drug Content Integrity Manager
  • Dr. Jenny Yu, Senior Manager of Medical Integrity

1. In the United States, COVID-19 circumstances are rising, however the loss of life fee is comparatively low — this implies the virus is much less lethal, and we shouldn’t fear

Infection case charges, hospitalization charges, and loss of life charges usually monitor one another. For instance, as one goes up, the others go up, too. However, that’s not all the time the case.

Loads relies on the general health of the individuals in the neighborhood, how shortly and broadly they had been capable of entry testing and therapy for the illness, and the way ready the communities are to deal with essentially the most extreme circumstances.

In many areas, we’ve seen a excessive case quantity however low loss of life fee. The possible clarification is said to the truth that individuals in the neighborhood have higher entry to testing, which will increase case numbers, and coverings, which decreases loss of life charges.

Back when the COVID-19 pandemic first arrived within the U.S., only a few communities had testing obtainable. Now, testing is extra accessible, plus we all know much more concerning the virus, so we’re capable of deal with it higher, stopping extreme circumstances that might result in loss of life.

That mentioned, we’re seeing that youthful persons are growing COVID-19 (even of their 20s) and passing the virus on to others in the neighborhood. However, the probability of dying from COVID-19 will increase with a person’s age and is extra widespread in individuals with underlying medical circumstances.

In reality, we’re nonetheless seeing that persons are dying and experiencing problems from the COVID-19 an infection. We nonetheless would not have a remedy or definitive therapy that works for everybody. We nonetheless would not have a transparent recipe for profitable therapy, particularly in susceptible populations, akin to older adults who’ve persistent circumstances, together with bronchial asthma, diabetes, and most cancers.

Unfortunately, as a result of we’re nonetheless studying extra concerning the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we have no idea what the long-term problems are for individuals who have had the an infection and recovered.

Yes, we’re so grateful that these people have survived the an infection, and we’re hopeful that they received’t have any long-term unfavorable results from the an infection. However, we’ve seen that some persons are nonetheless experiencing difficulties with respiratory and different signs a number of months after the an infection and hospitalization.

We are additionally seeing circumstances the place individuals who have had COVID-19 earlier than are getting the an infection a second time.

So our greatest technique remains to be to keep away from getting the an infection and forestall the transmission to others. Infections, such because the one which the new coronavirus causes, are opportunistic. They usually explode and unfold simply the second we develop into relaxed and decrease our guard.

2. The virus’s deadliness was overstated within the first place

With any quickly growing occasion, notably one which has such world impression, it may be troublesome to find out how lethal the illness actually is. When it comes right down to it, it’s arduous to wrap our heads across the statistics, akin to case charges, hospitalization numbers, and loss of life charges, when they’re within the thousands and thousands.

Instead, I consider it like this:

What different situation did I do know of in medical drugs the place spending time in a small room with a person with an an infection for just some minutes may result in an an infection that would trigger you to be hospitalized and placed on a ventilator?

Before COVID-19, I might have mentioned meningitis, pneumonia, influenza, and so forth. And as such, most docs would by no means low cost how lethal meningitis, pneumonia, or influenza may be.

What different infectious illness do we all know of that has led to greater than 38 million circumstances worldwide, with greater than 1 million deaths over the course of 8 months?

In our fashionable age, with the medicines and expertise that we’ve, even Ebola, swine flu, or avian flu couldn’t carry the world to a standstill in the way in which that COVID-19 has.

In reality, COVID-19 has killed extra individuals (greater than 218,000) within the first 8 months of 2020 within the U.S. than influenza has within the final a number of flu seasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there have been 12,000–61,000 influenza-related deaths yearly since 2010.

What different infectious illness do we all know of in fashionable medical historical past that has left the U.S. scrambling for ventilators as a result of we had been about to expire and wouldn’t have sufficient for individuals who wanted them?

Though COVID-19 has struck sure communities extra disproportionately than others, it has additionally reminded us that we’re all susceptible. COVID-19 circumstances, hospitalizations, and deaths have affected many in our communities: younger and outdated, and wealthy and poor.

We are very fortunate that the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t kill everybody who has had the an infection, however by most knowledge measures, docs like myself don’t underestimate how lethal it has already been or how lethal it will probably proceed to be if we aren’t diligent and conscientious about defending ourselves, our family members, and others in our group.

3. It’s only a unhealthy flu

Some individuals who have developed COVID-19 had been lucky as a result of they both didn’t discover any signs or solely skilled gentle signs.

However, to say, as a blanket assertion, that COVID-19 is rather like a foul flu is dangerously inaccurate as a result of it reductions the a whole lot of 1000’s of individuals within the U.S. alone who’ve died from COVID-19.

It additionally doesn’t bear in mind that we’ve seen experiences of people that have skilled residual signs from their bouts of COVID-19, together with ongoing respiratory issues, which we sometimes don’t see in seasonal flu circumstances.

Additionally, whereas influenza itself may be lethal, the seasonal flu doesn’t sometimes have such excessive charges of hospitalization as COVID-19. Part of the explanation for that is that we’ve vaccines and coverings for the flu. These assist forestall individuals catching the flu or, in the event that they do catch it, assist scale back the severity of signs. We have neither vaccines nor constant, reliable therapies for COVID-19.

We are additionally involved that, as winter approaches, individuals may get each influenza and COVID-19 — both on the similar time or one after the opposite. There are specific issues that having one of many circumstances could put somebody at a better threat for the opposite, and having each on the similar time might be notably harmful, if not lethal.

4. We are getting near herd immunity

Herd immunity is when nearly all of persons are proof against a illness in order that it makes the unfold unlikely. Herd immunity may be achieved by way of both vaccination or pure an infection.

In whole, 70% of the overall inhabitants (about 200 million individuals) might want to get better from COVID-19 to realize herd immunity. However, that is conditional on whether or not the COVID-19 immunity is lengthy lasting.

Unfortunately, we’ve not seen clear proof as as to if contracting and recovering from a SARS-CoV-2 an infection will result in long-term immunity that’s protecting.

We are presently at 7.8 million circumstances within the U.S. and greater than 38 million circumstances worldwide. We should not close to the charges wanted for herd immunity.

Also, it’s too early on this illness to know whether or not immunity is lengthy lasting. Therefore, it’s not advisable to create mass infections to realize herd immunity.

Last however not least, herd immunity solely occurs when the group is diligent about using an infection management methods. When many individuals stopped taking the measles vaccine, the herd immunity and the management that we had over the illness disappeared, resulting in outbreaks of measles within the states of Washington and New York in 2019.

We can’t assume that herd immunity, even when we did obtain it, can be eternal. We should all the time stay vigilant and conscientious about how we shield ourselves, our family members, and our communities.

5. Physical distancing is making our immune programs weaker

Physical distancing is critical to lower the danger of transmitting a illness. In reality, we’ve been using bodily distancing for generations (if not for 1000’s of years as a human race) to forestall the unfold of illnesses.

It’s the essential logic behind why we instinctively keep away from individuals when they’re sick and why we ask individuals to remain residence when they aren’t feeling properly. All the whereas, our immune programs (the pure protection that protects our our bodies from infections) have been regularly growing and adjusting to the environment.

Research has additionally demonstrated that we might help our immune programs higher struggle off an infection by way of managed methods, akin to vaccination, which is extra profitable than permitting our immune programs to come across diseases in an uncontrolled method by way of random private publicity.

Even with vaccination, nevertheless, transmittable illnesses, akin to colds, flu, and pneumonia, are brought on by viruses and micro organism which are extremely contagious, so we work tirelessly to restrict the publicity of healthy individuals to people who find themselves sick.

This method to an infection management helps shield everybody in the neighborhood, together with the people who find themselves sick, as a result of it preserves medical care and providers for many who are sick.

If we didn’t include infections and everybody in our group had been sick on the similar time, our medical programs can be overburdened, and there can be a hazard that folks wouldn’t be capable to get the medical care that they want.

6. COVID-19 is induced or exacerbated by 5G

5G is the fifth era expertise commonplace for broadband mobile networks. It is a kind of radio wave that’s digitized, so it improves the transmission and capability of information.

There isn’t any proof to recommend a cause-and-effect relationship between radio waves, their frequencies, and viral transmission.

7. Masks do extra hurt than good

Masks are a protecting barrier that decreases the transmission of airborne illnesses for each the person sporting the masks and the individuals round them. It prevents the transmission of an infection by way of droplets from the mouth and nostril.

Notably, docs and nurses put on masks in surgical procedures to guard all of us from an infection throughout our operations and have finished so for a number of a long time.

A protracted use of masks doesn’t lower oxygenation or improve carbon dioxide ranges for medical professionals, and it doesn’t trigger both of these issues within the common inhabitants immediately.

Beyond healthcare, for many years, industrial and development staff have additionally used masks to guard themselves from harmful microorganisms and chemical compounds. Research has not proven extended masks utilization to have unfavorable results on a person’s general health.

8. Doctors can already remedy COVID-19

There remains to be no remedy for COVID-19. However, healthcare staff and researchers are studying extra about this sickness every single day, and there may be accumulating proof concerning which supportive therapies might help scale back the size and severity of sickness.

For instance, docs usually give steroids to critically sick individuals, and plenty of are additionally receiving remdesivir, a drugs that treats viruses. Conversely, proof has now conclusively proven that hydroxychloroquine isn’t an efficient therapy for COVID-19.

Clinical trials are nonetheless underway to find out the effectiveness and security of different therapies, akin to convalescent plasma. There has been thrilling progress in COVID-19 therapy analysis, however we nonetheless have a lot to study.

The excellent news is that, as we all know extra concerning the virus that causes COVID-19, we’re higher capable of deal with individuals with a SARS-CoV-2 an infection in order that fewer individuals die from it.

However, with out a remedy, it’s nonetheless crucial to do what we will to forestall the transmission of the virus, together with working towards correct hand washing, sporting masks, and being diligent about bodily distancing when in public.

There remains to be no remedy, so we might help shield ourselves, our family members, and everybody in the neighborhood with our preventive measures.

9. “Big Pharma” is withholding the vaccine

No. The medical trial course of required to establish secure and efficient vaccines takes years typically. The growth of a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t any totally different. This timeline is critical to find out how properly a vaccine will work on a large-scale inhabitants foundation.

It can also be essential to establish negative effects which will happen weeks or months after a person receives a vaccine. Additionally, as soon as an acceptable vaccine candidate is recognized, the businesses would require time to scale up their manufacturing processes in order that the vaccine is on the market for as many individuals as attainable.

It can also be essential to keep in mind that, even as soon as the vaccine turns into obtainable, it ought to first be given to those that most want it, together with healthcare staff who present medical providers to sufferers who might need COVID-19.

In addition, precedence must be given to these in the neighborhood who’re most susceptible to COVID-19 and its problems, together with the aged and people with persistent circumstances, akin to most cancers, lung illnesses (bronchial asthma or persistent obstructive pulmonary illness), or different circumstances that weaken the immune system.

As profitable COVID-19 vaccines develop into obtainable, you will need to control when it could be acceptable so that you can obtain it primarily based in your threat components.

This implies that in case you are among the many populations which are in danger, try to be able to get it when it’s obtainable for you, however when you’ve got a decrease threat, hold a watch out for when the vaccine is made obtainable to the broader inhabitants.

10. Antivirals and steroids can remedy COVID-19 and cytokine storm

Antivirals struggle the virus inflicting COVID-19, and steroids will assist lower the probabilities of an overzealous immune response, which contributes to some COVID-19 deaths.

Scientists have proven that steroids scale back the severity and impression of a hyperinflammatory state, which can also be known as a cytokine storm. However, proof supporting these therapies isn’t conclusive, and extra analysis is required to find out who would most profit from them.

How properly any therapy choice works additionally relies on a person’s underlying medical standing and circumstances. An particular person with severe preexisting comorbid circumstances and a severely weakened health standing will nonetheless have a troublesome time preventing the an infection, regardless of how robust the therapy choices are and the way efficient they’ve been in medical trials within the common inhabitants.

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