Friday, March 13, 2020

COVID-19 Fake News: Stuff people are saying about the disease thats just bull

There is lots of information about COVID-19 out there, and some of it is bad information.

Hereʻs some of the stuff Iʻve been hearing thatʻs not true, or not entirely true.

Q. A friend asked whether, once youʻve had the virus, youʻre immune in the future.

A. The answer is, probably, but not certainly. 

Youʻre generally immune to a virus after having gotten it—at least for a while. However, there have been rare cases in which people have appeared to be over COVID-19, and then got sick again. Was it simply a relapse of the original infection or a new one? Thatʻs not yet clear.

There is also indication that the virus has evolved, at least in China, and that there are now at least two versions of COVID-19 out there. If youʻve had one, you might still be susceptible to getting the second. Hereʻs a link to a scientific paper on that.

The Centers for Disease Control says this: "The immune response to COVID-19 is not yet understood. Patients with MERS-CoV infection are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be observed for patients with COVID-19."

Q. Another person said flu goes away in the summer, so this will be gone by mid-year.

A. Donʻt count on it. This disease has not been around long enough to know. Hereʻs what the Centers for Disease Control says about that: 

"It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months.  At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer.  There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing."

Q. A co-worker told me he read that if itʻs a dry cough itʻs COVID-19, but if itʻs a wet cough itʻs the flu.

A. Wrong. (Sometimes.) 

As this guide from Johns Hopkins Medicine notes, thereʻs no sure thing with symptoms. A dry cough occurs most often in COVID-19, but not always. Same with fever—some patients have one, some donʻt. Same with soreness and tiredness. Same with shortness of breath. 

A World Health Organization study in Chinaʻs outbreak found that fever occurs 88 percent of the time,  dry cough in 68 percent of cases, fatigue in 38 percent, sputum production in 33 percent, shortness of breath in 19 percent, sore throat in 14 percent, headache in 14 percent, joint pan in 15 percent, chills in 11 percent, nausea or vomiting in 5 percent, nasal congestion in 5 percent, diarrhea in 4 percent, and coughing up blood in 1 percent and  and watery or inflamed eyes 1 percent.

Q. Someone asked, if I get tested, will I know for sure that I am or am not infected?

A. If you have symptoms and a positive test, youʻre infected. The test can confirm that the disease youʻve got is not a cold or flu or other virus and is COVID-19. 

If you have no symptoms and you can get someone to test you, chances are it will be negative. But that doesnʻt necessarily mean you donʻt have it. It could mean you donʻt. Or it could mean youʻre infected but havenʻt been infected long enough to test positive.

"As with all currently available tests, it’s not yet clear how long a person needs to be infected before testing positive, or whether someone who's infected could be identified by the test before displaying symptoms." 

Q. If I get sick, I can only infect others while I have active symptoms.

A. Wrong. You can infect people a day or two before your active symptoms show up, and you might be able to pass the virus to others for a week or more after youʻve recovered.
This German study found active viruses for many days after symptoms disappeared.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2020

1 comment:

Doug Carlson said...

Thanks, Jan. Insightful per your usual.