It’s safe to say that the beginning of the pandemic was an unprecedented time in misconceptions and misinterpretations about COVID and what it was believed to be capable of.
Even now, there are still plenty of things that the public gets wrong about COVID-19. The following are a few of the most popular COVID-19 misconceptions; we’re here to help you sort the facts from the fiction.
1. COVID-19 can travel via contaminated goods
Can COVID-19 travel via contaminated goods? It cannot.
“Fomite” is a term used to describe a surface through which a virus is able to sustain itself and infect a new victim later on—the first COVID-positive individual leaves their germs behind, and a second person picks them up.
While surface contamination and hand-washing were huge priorities at the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve readjusted our outlook.
Buying goods from countries struggling to keep case numbers down won’t likely result in an infection at home, but sanitizing the outside of packages, product packaging, and the products themselves before use are all great ways to hedge your bets.
2. 5G wireless technology causes COVID-19
This notion is probably one of the sillier ones you can read about online. Believers argue that COVID-19 is caused by 5G technology, or that one’s susceptibility to the virus may be exacerbated by way of exposure to 5G in the air.
While there are, in fact, rural, remote, Wi-Fi-free communities of “electro-sensitive refugees” living even in the United States, claims of wireless signals and cellphones kept in one’s pocket causing diseases like cancer have been largely discounted as bunk. Making the same sort of leap with COVID is an even further stretch—it’s a virus, and it’s very unlikely that it generated itself spontaneously in response to wireless 5G perturbations.
Are electromagnetic frequencies a concern once you already have COVID, though? According to the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, 5G signals exist well within the acceptable upper limit for human exposure. It’s a tightly-held industry with stringent standards—that is, dangerously powerful bootleg 5G internet is nothing you need to worry about.
3. Only the elderly die from COVID
The elderly are much more likely to develop a case of COVID severe enough to warrant hospitalization. They’re also more likely to die than younger people, although they’re certainly not the only demographic at risk, especially when vaccination status is taken into consideration.
While one’s risk does increase with age and with a lack of vaccination, racial demographics like Black people, Latinos, and native populations have also been shown to succumb to COVID at unusually high rates when compared to their analogous white counterparts.
Men are also considerably more vulnerable to advanced COVID and hospitalization therein, as are those living in poverty and in regions where access to healthcare is limited. The elderly may be among them, but they’re far from the only ones with a lot to lose.
COVID-19 myths and fallacies: what you need to know
Never take a dubious claim at face value—we always encourage you to look beyond the headlines.
There’s a lot that we’ve learned about COVID-19 over the last couple of years. While aspects of its nature are still shrouded in mystery, we’re happy to report that what the experts know now appears to be fairly solid.
When something online worries you, we recommend conferring to the CDC and the WHO before making a dangerous assumption and acting on it.