There is a lot of information out there about COVID-19, and it is important to clarify what is, and is not, true. Misinformation can have dangerous, and potentially deadly, results. Here is some of the information you should know about COVID-19.
Certain Ethnic Groups Are More Susceptible to the Virus: FALSE.
COVID-19 does not care whether you are black or white, religious or atheist, Asian or European. The coronavirus affects all groups equally. There is no genetic immunity that some groups have, or inherent weakness coded into your DNA. There are certain people that are more drastically affected by COVID-19, including: the elderly, smokers, and people who are immunocompromised. Notice that all of these are factors that weaken the immune system. Certain ethnic groups are not more or less likely to be infected than others.
I Am Young, Therefore I Would Be Fine: FALSE.
COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate for people above 65, but that does not mean that younger people can brush this off easily. By March 16th, 38% of the 508 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the US were between 20 and 54. Half of the people that required urgent care were younger than 65. Keep in mind that this is a new disease, and, as such, we are still learning about it. In the early days it was reported that younger people have milder symptoms. While it is still true that the disease affects people above 65 the worst, new data is showing that younger people are requiring urgent care as well. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that, even if you survive the virus, if you have it, then those around you will likely get it too. That includes your parents and grandparents if they are in your home.
I Have No Symptoms. I’m OK Right: FALSE.
Like other diseases, just because you are not displaying symptoms does not mean that you are not a carrier. As a result, it is important to take every precaution, not just isolating those who test positive. This includes washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, and wearing a mask in public. If you doubt whether or not this is necessary, then I have an example of a person who was immune to a disease, but was an unknown carrier. She continued to work, despite orders from health officials. In the end, she infected at least 51 people, 3 of whom died. You know her already, as Typhoid Mary. Sounds ridiculously irresponsible right? If you were warned that you are an asymptomatic carrier of a disease, then why would you continue to put people at risk? The same is true for all of us. We must take every precaution, so as to avoid unnecessary deaths. The protective measures in place are meant to flatten the curve, a term used to describe how to keep the amount of cases low, and spread out over time so as not to overload the healthcare system. If there is a major spike in cases all at once, the system is overloaded. If we take cases gradually, less people are infected, and those that are can be treated properly.
I Should Wear a Mask at the Store: TRUE.
It is now the recommendation of the CDC that everyone wear a mask in public. Whether this is a bandana, a homemade mask, or something store-bought doesn't matter, you must cover up your mouth. The point of this is to protect you from the possible infection from others, but to also prevent microscopic drops of spit from escaping your mouth, something that occurs without us actually noticing. It is important to note here that the President has said he will not wear a mask and that this is just a recommendation that does not need to be followed. While this is true, it is a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning it is coming from people who know what they are doing. The CDC has no power to pass a law requiring everyone to wear a mask. As such, all they can do is recommend. Take this recommendation seriously. Wear a mask in public. Also, do not purchase N95 face masks, as they are required by medical personnel. Just something to cover your mouth will do fine.
The President has Absolute Authority to Decide When the Country Reopens: FALSE.
The governors of your individual state decide when to reopen their states. The President has no power to decide when the states reopen. Asserting such power is unconstitutional. If you want your opinion to be heard, then contact your governor via phone or email. If you care enough, then you should call them every day. After all, we all certainly have the time.
This is a Chinese Virus: Complicated Answer. It is important to note, as listed above, that no ethnic or racial group is responsible for this virus. So, while this virus did technically originate in China, that does not make it a “Chinese” virus. Calling COVID-19 a “Chinese” virus implies that the Chinese had something to do with its origin and spread. This is not true. It is good to critique the efforts of the Chinese government in containing the virus, but the term “Chinese Virus” is racist, simple as that. Do not be fooled by the claim that this is all China’s fault. It is important to criticize every government’s efforts, including our own.
The Federal Government is doing a Fantastic Job: Complicated Answer.
Again, this answer isn't so cut and dry. There are pros and cons of the Federal government’s reaction to the spread of COVID-19. It was a good idea, for example, to shut down travel to China. However, the Federal Government has also failed to remain unified on the proper approach to containing the virus, as well as disseminating misinformation. Most importantly, the President seems to be under the impression that the Federal Government is entitled to the medic resources that State Governments are attempting to acquire. Under the current system, states must bid against each other, and FEMA, for medical supplies. The Federal Government’s handling of the situation is depriving states of necessary equipment, claiming they have no right to it. This begs the question: if the medical supplies are not for the states and their people, then who are they for? In helping states, the President has insisted that the Governors must not criticize him, otherwise they will not receive their supplies, or any federal help. This is not true. The Governors are not Lords and Ladies who owe fealty to a King. They are heads of states, who must be helped by the President and the Federal Government, because that is the Federal Government’s duty. It is specifically why it exists.
These are uncharted waters. Please, double-check everything you hear, including what is written here. Pay attention to what is happening in the world. Misinformation is everywhere, including our own government. Check with reliable, accredited, unbiased sources. Remember what you have read here, and do not let fear control you.
Stay inside, stay happy, and stay healthy.