Doctors weighed in on some important coronavirus myth busting in a special feature for Medical News Today. These medical experts shared their opinions of some of the latest popular myths making their way into public discussions about COVID-19.
The following 10 new coronavirus myths were reviewed by Dr. E. Hanh Le, Dr. Lindsay Slowiczek, and Dr. Jenny Yu. Here is a roundup of their feedback for each one.
Myth #1: COVID-19 death rates are low in comparison to high rates of infections, so death from coronavirus is nothing to worry about.
Overall death rates for the country do not always paint an accurate picture of what’s happening in specific communities. Some areas have more and better hospitals, plus access to more virus testing and treatments. In those areas, death rates tend to be much lower compared to infection rates.
Death rates from COVID-19 also depend on the health and age of the people infected. Many more younger, healthier people are testing positive for COVID infections now than were reported when the pandemic began. This adds to the much higher infection rate compared to overall death rate for the US.
If you assume coronavirus is nothing to worry about because death rates are lower than infection rates, keep in mind a very important fact. Many people who survive their COVID infection are dealing with debilitating long-term symptoms and health conditions. Some of the milder symptoms post-recovery are fatigue, shortness of breath, and persistent cough. Life-threatening conditions after recovery from COVID can include blood clots, heart disease, and kidney and lung damage. Strokes have developed post-COVID, too, and have happened to people younger than 50 or even 40. Prevent getting the infection to avoid the possibility of these and more troubling symptoms after coronavirus recovery.
Myth #2: COVID was never that deadly to begin with.
As COVID-19 first began to spread across the United States, many people thought it was simply another virus with a low death rate like the flu. Very quickly, areas with high infection rates — like New York City — were out of hospital beds and ventilators, and losing patients at an alarming rate far beyond average flu deaths. It turns out COVID was far deadlier than the flu. As medical experts interviewed for Medical News Today stated “In our modern age, with the medications and technology that we have, even Ebola, swine flu, or avian flu could not bring the world to a standstill in the way that COVID-19 has.”
According to the Medical News Today article, “COVID-19 has killed more people (more than 218,000) in the first eight months of 2020 in the U.S. than influenza has in the last several flu seasons.” How deadly has the flu been over that time? The CDC estimates that 12,000–61,000 deaths related to the flu (influenza) have occurred every year since 2010. That’s undeniably much lower than the rate of deaths from COVID-19 in 2020 alone in this country.