Six myths about the coronavirus: Separating COVID-19 facts from fiction

Posted at 2:15 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 17:29:03-04

DENVER — As concerns over the novel coronavirus rise, so does some of the misinformation and confusion about the virus. We talked with Dr. Shauna Gulley, an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Centura Health in the Denver area, about the biggest myths they've seen circulating online and in conversations.

Watch our interview with Gulley above. Here's what we highlighted:

Myth: Saline, garlic and sesame oil can prevent coronavirus infection

This should seem like an easy one, but Gulley emphasized: Home remedies like saline, garlic and sesame oil, despite rumors, do not prevent coronavirus. In fact, there is no known preventative treatment at all. The best method of prevention is what you've been hearing all along: Washing your hands frequently with soap and water and avoiding contact with sick individuals.

Myth: Spraying your body down with alcohol or chlorine, or swallowing bleach, can kill the new coronavirus

This sounds like another obvious one. But spraying chemicals such as chlorine and bleach — or swallowing them — will only harm, not help. Some chemicals might help disinfect surfaces, but don't try them on yourself. Please.

Myth: The new coronavirus is man-made

COVID-19 can be traced back to bats, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and many patients in Wuhan, China, were linked to a large seafood and live animal market.

Myth: Pets can become infected with and spread the new coronavirus

There is no reason to believe that pet dogs and cats can pass the coronavirus to humans, according to the CDC.

Myth: The new coronavirus is 'the most dangerous virus' and 'a death sentence'

This is a myth because we simply don't know the full extent of how dangerous coronavirus can be. But we know the global mortality rate has been around 3.4%, so far. While the virus may be more severe than the flu, many patients have experienced only mild symptoms, officials have said.

Myth: Coronavirus can spread from products, letters or packages from China

While there still remains plenty we don't know about COVID-19, there is a very low risk of the virus spreading from products or packaging that are shipped over days or weeks. The survivability rate of the virus on surfaces is poor. There has been no evidence to support transmission of the virus from imported goods to the United States, according to the CDC.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC's coronavirus page.