COVID-19 Myths & Facts

Jennifer Hudson
January 10, 2020

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A disposable mask will prevent your respiratory droplets, from a cough or sneeze, from infecting someone who will be in close distance to you, but it will not protect you from getting the virus from another person who has been infected with covid-19.


As the covid-19 continues to evolve all over the world there is a lot of discussion and presentation of “data” related to the virus infectivity, symptoms and appropriate treatments. Our immunology and scientific expert, Dr. Dimitrios Iliopoulos, provides facts supported by scientific evidence and myths related to covid-19.

A mask will keep me safe from getting covid-19

WRONG: A disposable mask will prevent your respiratory droplets, from a cough or sneeze, from infecting someone who will be in close distance to you, but it will not protect you from getting the virus from another person who has been infected with covid-19.

I can get covid-19 from my pet

WRONG: According to the CDC there is no scientific evidence that pets could spread covid-19. However, there are very few examples presented, primarily outside the US, shown that cats and dogs can be infected with covid-19.

Over-the-counter meds will make me more susceptible to get covid-19 and will worsen my symptoms

WRONG: There is a lot of discussion and articles if drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can worsen covid-19 symptoms, however there is no scientific evidence nor publication that has verified this information. For now, all patients should continue taking their medications and be in consultation with their primary care physician.

I am a teenager; I have a strong immune system and I will not get the virus

WRONG: It is known that older adults and those with underlying health conditions are at the highest risk of getting covid-19. However, people of any age, including teenagers can get the virus and WHO said that there are some young people who got the virus and became critically ill from covid-19.

There is no FDA-approved drug for covid-19. All therapies are experimental in clinical trials.

CORRECT: There is a process for any new drug to get approved from the FDA and be available in the market. The FDA has set up rules and regulations allowing only drugs that are safe and effective to treat a disease to be available for patients. This principle applies also to new covid-19 therapeutics. Any new or existing drug approved for another disease should be tested in human clinical trials to examine its safety profile and appropriate dosage that is effective to treat covid-19 patients.

A patient with covid-19 could be treated with a vaccine

WRONG: There is confusion using the terms “vaccine” and “drug” or “therapeutic”. A covid-19 vaccine would have the ability to protect individuals from getting the virus, while a covid-19 drug would be able to treat patients that have already been infected with covid-19.

Hydroxychloroquine will be effective in treating all patients with covid-19

WRONG: Hydroxychloroquine, like any other drug is not effective in treating 100% of patients who have a disease. A drug effectiveness depends on the genetic profiling of each person (called pharmacogenomics), the person’s health status and the presence of other underlying health conditions. Also, viruses mutate so it is not known how hydroxychloroquine effectiveness correlates with covid-19 different strains. Currently, there is extensive evidence from hydroxychloroquine’s use in different countries that is effective to treat a fraction of covid-19 patients, however we have to wait to evaluate the data derived from clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine for covid-19.

Covid-19 can survive in different surfaces and materials, like plastic bags up to 1 day.

WRONG: A recent study published in NEJM (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973) showed that the virus was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, copper up to four hours, cardboard up to 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel up to two to three days.

We may never have a vaccine for covid-19

CORRECT: There is currently a lot of effort from different pharma and biotechnology companies aiming to develop a vaccine against covid-19. Although, it is highly possible to have a new covid-19 vaccine in the next 18-24 months, it is also possible that none of those vaccines will be effective. It is important to mention that although there are efforts for many years, still we do not have a vaccine for HIV.