- Avoid Spreading “Fake News” – Misinformation not only manipulates one’s perception of reality, it also has the potential to spur violence and civil unrest
- Verify before sharing – Do your part to stop the spread of misinformation and or disinformation by verifying stories before sharing them
- Pay attention to when the story was published – Often times people will share information that was once valid several weeks or even years ago without checking when the story was first published. Information is only useful if it isn’t outdated. Remember, situations can change quickly!
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a very interesting year and we’re only in the first quarter of the new decade. We’ve watched tensions increase between foreign powers, multiple celebrities die due to non-natural causes, and now we’re social distancing ourselves in an attempt to “flatten the curve” and slow down the spread of COVID-19 also known as the coronavirus. We’ve seen a significant increase in misinformation and disinformation related to the coronavirus being published over the last several weeks so in an attempt to quell the spread of “Fake News”, We’ve decided to dedicate this article to debunking 5 coronavirus myths.
- I need a face mask to protect myself from COVID-19
While certain face mask such as the N95 offer protection from the coronavirus and lessen the likelihood of an individual infecting others, the CDC does not recommend the routine use of such respirators outside of the workplace. This is because respiratory viruses are typically spread from person to person interaction (usually within 6 feet). Infected droplets can still get into ones nose, mouth (if the respirator is ill fitting), or eyes. UPDATE: As of April 3rd, the CDC now recommends the use of cloth face coverings in public settings where it is hard to follow social distancing best practices (i.e. the grocery store). The CDC still advocates against stockpiling medical grade mask as this makes fewer mask available for healthcare professionals who have a significantly higher chance of contracting the virus given their profession.
- A shot a day keeps COVID at bay!
There have been several stories circulating throughout the internet claiming that consuming alcoholic beverages will protect one from contracting the coronavirus. While a drink or two may help ease your social distancing woes, excessive drinking can actually weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections. 44 people in Iran recently died due to alcohol poisoning from drinking bootleg liquor in an attempt to ward off the coronavirus.
- Traveling to a destination that’s warm will lower my chance of infection
We personally wish this was fact vs fiction as airfare is currently at a record low world wide however, traveling requires most people to come into close contact with one another. Additionally, traveling has helped to spread the coronavirus around the world. We’ve seen cases in warm destinations such as the Caribbean and South America. Do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and avoid non-essential travel whether it’s local or international.
- I should avoid products made in China
To date, there have not been any recorded cases where an individual contracted the novel coronavirus from a letter, package, or other item originating from China. Similar studies were conducted during other coronavirus outbreaks (SARS and MERS). Scientist believe that this is due to the fact that coronaviruses typically have a low probability of survival on theses types of surfaces. We’ll make sure to update this entry if anything changes!
- Hand sanitizer is all I need to avoid COVID-19
While alcohol based hand sanitizers that contains at least 60% alcohol are effective at killing viruses, hand sanitizer isn’t a replacement for washing your hands with soap and warm water. Hand sanitizer is effective at killing germs however, it doesn’t wash away the remains. Additionally, hand sanitizer isn’t nearly as effective as soap when it comes to sanitizing “visibly or grossly contaminated” parts of the body. Be like a Doctor and wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Thank you for taking a step in the right direction in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation. We’ll continue to periodically provide best practices in regards to teleworking and dealing with fake news during the global pandemic known as the novel coronavirus. Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date with our latest post and as always, contact us if you have any technical or information security related questions.
Additional Coronavirus Resources:
- John Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 MAP
- World Economic Forum COVID-19 MAP
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Summary
- Visual Capitalist – 7 Best COVID-19 Resources
- Google – COVID-19 Information and Resources
- How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering