But this evolution and the consequent changing information and recommendations have also caused confusion, and in some cases deliberately spread false information.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said on Wednesday: “Just as the Covid-19 virus spreads around the world, so do rumors, falsehoods and false information. They can be equally dangerous.”
Tedros said that erroneous or false information causes people to use toxic chemicals or dangerous drugs for self-medication based on false information and fail to take precautions to harm themselves. This also affects our trust in institutions and health systems. If they do not have confidence in new therapies and vaccines, this may cause them to give up.
Here are some common myths and misunderstandings, and the state of science we know so far.
Misunderstanding 1: Only the elderly will be affected by the virus
President Trump said at a rally on Monday: “This affects the elderly. Older people with heart disease and other problems, if they have other problems, it’s the real impact. That’s it. You know, in In some states, tens of thousands of people-no young people. People under 18 are like no one.”
The fact is that people of all ages have been affected by the virus. Although the elderly are highly likely to contract Covid-19, or if they die from the infection, young people will never be immune.
Older people may be more susceptible because they have more previous medical conditions (called comorbidities) that make the coronavirus infection more serious, or their immune systems may weaken with age.
Some young people also suffer from comorbidities, which put them at greater risk of serious illness. In some children, the virus can cause their immune system to overreact, causing inflammation and releasing a series of chemical reactions called cytokine storms, which can cause serious damage to the human body. This is a kind of multiple system inflammation syndrome called children, called MIS-C.
Misunderstanding 2: Masks cannot protect you from the coronavirus
This is perhaps the most controversial and political misunderstanding of all. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were told that masks are not important for those of us who come in close contact with patients from time to time. In addition, due to the shortage that continues to this day, we are required to keep N-95 masks for frontline workers.
However, after we begin to understand two very important facts, we must wear a mask. First, even if there are no symptoms, people can spread the virus. The second point is that the virus is likely to spread in the air, as small droplets (called aerosols) containing the virus, not only when people touch the infected surface or large breathing droplets.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci talked about the reversal of mask guidelines at a CNN meeting on Tuesday. He said: “One thing the public needs to know is that this situation is changing.”
“We don’t know that 40% to 45% of people are asymptomatic, and we don’t know that a large part of the infected people are infected from asymptomatic people. This makes it extremely important for everyone to wear a mask. Said, and pointed out that “the current data is very, very clear. ”
How do masks work? Masks can protect other people from the virus droplets sprayed into the air by breathing, sneezing, coughing, singing or shouting.
Some studies have found that masks can reduce the number of droplets a person breathes into the air by up to 90%. A study found that masks can reduce the spread of respiratory viruses by up to 56%.
Myth 3: You can only catch up with Covid-19 if you stay in close contact with people with symptoms
Fauci said at the meeting on Tuesday: “Interestingly, it doesn’t change anything we have been talking about.” “It means wearing a mask, which means avoiding close contact, which means avoiding crowds.”
Fauci also reiterated: “Outdoors are better than indoors, because if there are sprays indoors, a certain degree of recycling can be done.”
Misunderstanding 4: This is like the flu
The president insisted: “This is the flu, it’s like the flu.”
But this is not true. It is true that both Covid-19 and flu are caused by respiratory viruses and may have some similar symptoms, including fever, fatigue and cough. In both cases, some people have milder symptoms than others.
The CDC stated: “These deaths may represent misclassified COVID-19 deaths, or may be indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic (for example, deaths due to other causes due to shortage of healthcare or overburdened medical system).”
Myth 5: Everyone can be vaccinated this winter
There are many speculations about when to buy the vaccine, and there were some optimistic predictions as early as October. Some developers expect to share data this fall.
But Fauci and other public health leaders say it is unlikely that the vaccine will be provided before election day. According to three people familiar with the matter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering approving new rules for the Covid-19 vaccine, and calculations show that these rules will allow the approval date to exceed election day.
This will undermine President Trump’s hopes, Trump has repeatedly stated that the vaccine may be ready on November 3.
“If it proves effective in November or December, then we don’t have enough vaccine doses. We will have a few million vaccines in November, and maybe every ten or twenty million in December. This is enough… to start vaccination. Vaccines. Certain populations, not all populations.” Dr. Moncef Slaoui told me. Slaoui is the head of the government’s vaccine initiative Warp Speed.
Slaoui pointed out that certain groups of people, such as health care workers and people susceptible to this disease, will be prioritized. Sloy pointed out that because there are no data, not even a vaccine will be effective enough. He said: “For the rest of us, the situation looks more like mid-2021.”
Sloughy also turned around and Fauci and others had been emphasizing. “Let us always focus on how science can help us overcome this problem. I am excited about getting a vaccine, but at the same time, we can do something simple and effective: wash our hands, avoid big parties and wear a mask.”
Nadia Kounang and Andrea Kane contributed to this report.