This post, part of our special series on the Coronavirus outbreak, was written by Danielle Morris, M.P.H. and BGCA National Director of Youth Development Programs.
I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning! The media, a next-door neighbor, your best friend from high school, and a favorite coworker all claim to have the definitive answers about how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread, prevented, treated and cured. There’s so much information swirling around right now that it’s hard to know what’s a fact or a myth. Together, let’s explore 4 of the most common myths about COVID-19 and bust them with the facts!
Myth 1: COVID-19 is only a problem for older people like my grandma. I’m in my 20’s so I’m not at risk for catching the virus.
Myth Buster: The fact is that EVERYONE is at risk for contracting COVID-19, regardless of your age!
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from March 18, 2020, of the known* COVID-19 cases reported in the United States at the time, 29% of cases were among people ages 20 to 44. Only 5% of those cases were among youth between the ages of 0 to 19. Let’s break those numbers down even further. It’s like saying if there are 100 people with a confirmed case of COVID-19, 29 people would be between the ages of 20 and 44 and 5 of those people would be 19 or younger. Don’t be one of those 29 people!
*Please note that these numbers are changing RAPIDLY. For the latest, see the CDC.
Myth 2: There are lots of ways to treat or cure COVID-19. My best friend from high school said if I gargle hot water, drink a sea moss smoothie, eat garlic, rinse my nose out with a Neti Pot, or use essential oils, I’ll be fine.
Myth Buster: The fact is that none of these home remedies have been proven to prevent you from getting COVID-19.
Other supposed remedies, such as gargling with bleach and taking chloroquine, the drug commonly used to treat Malaria, can actually be downright dangerous. The BEST way to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 or the group of illnesses caused by the novel coronavirus include:
- Social distancing or staying at least 6 feet away from people who do not live with you on a regular basis and avoiding places where you’re likely to be in close contact with other people.
- The tried and true practice: WASH-UP
- Wipe objects and surfaces regularly with disinfectant cleaners
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay at home if you’re feeling sick
- Hands should be regularly washed for 20 seconds with water and soap
- Use your elbow or tissue to cover coughs or sneezes
- Pass along these helpful tips!
Myth 3: Because the coronavirus started in China, all Chinese and Asian-looking people are spreading the disease.
Myth Buster: This is one of the worst kinds of myths because it hurts, shames, stigmatizes and has the potential to cause really negative consequences for completely innocent people. According to the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), associating people with diseases is wrong. Blaming people for the spread of a disease does nothing more than create fear and prevent people from understanding the facts about how they can effectively protect themselves from getting sick. Bust this myth with tips for parents and caregivers from the National Association of School Psychologists.
Myth 4: I’m not experiencing any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 like a dry cough, fever, and body aches, so I can carry on with my life as normal.
Myth Buster: The fact is that this is not entirely true.
As public health experts and health care professionals learn more and more about COVID-19, it is becoming clear that some people may only experience mild symptoms while others may not show any symptoms of the disease but have the virus. Being asymptomatic, which means carrying the virus around without being really sick, helps spread COVID-19 from person to person. A person carrying the virus may falsely assume that it’s ok to do business as usual- not practicing WASH-UP and social distancing– meanwhile the virus is being spread to their close family, friends and strangers alike. To be on the safe side, follow guidance from the experts on how to stay healthy and do your part to prevent the spread of the disease.
Just as we learn more facts about COVID-19 with each passing day, there are also new myths to bust. Now that you’re an official “Myth Buster”, you can help prevent the spread of myths, fear, and the disease by only relying on the guidance provided by reliable sources and by sharing the facts. For the most up-to-date information about how to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, or speak with a healthcare professional.
If you (or someone you know) are anxious or are having a hard time managing your emotions about the COVID-19, there is no need to suffer alone. The CDC offers guidance on some common behavior changes to watch for in both adults and kids. There are also a few helpful posts on the Club Experience Blog about managing big feelings. If you need to speak with someone, here are two free numbers that you can use:
- Crisis Text Line: Text the word “HOME” to 741741 to connect with a trained counselor.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
Check back in with the ClubX Blog often for more ideas and resources on how to maintain your mental and emotional well-being during this challenging time. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Take care of yourself. We are in this together!
Get the latest updates from BGCA at BGCA.net/Coronavirus, find programming ideas at MyFuture.net, like the BGCA Youth Development on Facebook for YD updates including video from Sarah, and join the brand new BGCA Youth Development Community also on Facebook to connect with other Club staff on programming through coronavirus.