Covid-19 and the flu both target the body’s respiratory system, but they are totally different. One of the earlier symptoms of Covid-19 are fatigue, fever, and a dry cough. The people at an increased risk of getting infected include the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. However, young people are also at risk of getting infected.
The best tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting infected by Covid-19 are practicing social distancing, washing your hands from time to time, and not touching your face.
The Covid-19 has caused a lot of people to lose their lives, and the active cases are still increasing at an alarming rate. WHO reports that as of now, there are 4,582,276 confirmed cases in the United States, with 153,757 deaths. However, despite the numbers, a lot of people are still not taking the matter that seriously.
As per Dr. Joseph M. Pierre, a Health Sciences and Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, the current Covid-19 pandemic is the worst one that we have had to deal with since the 1918’s Spanish flu or the flu pandemic, which caused around 50 million people to lose their lives worldwide. He adds that there has been a lot of advances in the medical field which has given mankind the power to conquer various kind of infections with the help of antivirals and so on, therefore, it is very difficult for the people to deal with the fact that something as trivial as flu has the capability to cause so much chaos.
People in America are still trying to gauge the seriousness of the pandemic; therefore, it might be difficult for people to differentiate the myths from the facts. Let us talk about the five major Covid-19 Related Myths and see what the experts have to say about them.
Covid-19 is Nothing But a Flu
Even the flu causes people to lose their lives each year, but with the advancements in the medical field, we now have vaccines to prevent them and also since the people are more aware of the flu, which does not make it a very serious illness.
Both the flu and the Covid-19 attack the body’s respiratory system, but then again, they are two entirely different things.
According to Dr. Bruce E. Hirsch, an assistant professor from the Infectious Disease Division at Northwell Health, New York, the SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19 attaches itself to the receptors found in the lower area of the airways in the lungs, which is why in most cases the patient develops a dry cough accompanied by fever and fatigue which are being seen as the most common symptoms of the Covid-19. However, fatigue, fever, and dry cough can also occur due to other infections that are caused by viruses. During the flu, one experiences muscle pain while the common cold comes with its own symptoms that include sneezing, sore throat, and a runny nose.
Dr, Hirsch also adds that one does not get a runny nose while being infected with the Covid-19 if someone is experiencing muscle pain that can be a sign of the flu. Those experiencing a cough that is getting worse with phlegm can also be a sign of the Covid-19; however, that occurs when the infection has worsened.
What really makes Covid-19 a serious matter is that it causes more deaths than the flu.
As reported by the WHO, the mortality rate is around 3 to 4 percent in the case of Covid-19, which is when you divide the cases reported by the reported deaths. When you compare that with the flu’s mortality rate, it comes to less than 0.1 percent.
2. Covid-19 Affects Only The Elderly People
Out of 100, most people that are infected with the coronavirus only exhibit mild symptoms. As per the WHO, 14 percent of infected people need to be admitted to a hospital due to developing severe symptoms. About 5 percent of the people have to be kept in an ICU or Intensive Care Unit.
The elderly citizens are indeed at an increased risk of getting infected with the coronavirus; that, which does not mean that the young are safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its report regarding the serious consequences of the coronavirus among the infected people in the United States, 29 percent of 2500 people infected with the coronavirus were aged between 20 to 44.
Dr. Bruce E. Hirsch is of the view that although the young do not develop serious complications due to the coronavirus but there are so many cases right now where those that are affected are in their 30s and 40s. They exhibit severe symptoms and also have to be kept on ventilators.
A lot of such patients have other underlying conditions like hypertension, diabetes, along with being overweight. He adds that one of the most common reasons why the coronavirus is affecting the young so severely is that those people are not leading a healthy life. They are constantly stressed, do not sleep well, and have other underlying issues.
Dr. Joseph M. Pierre adds that initially, only the elderly were seen as the high-risk group, which made the young take a sigh of relief and go about their lives as before. The young are also very likely to overlook the fact that they might get infected; they have this ”optimism bias”, which is a very dangerous state of mind.
3. Only a Vaccine Can Stop Covid-19
As per Dr. Hirsch, for the vaccine to develop and be available for the masses, it might take around 12 to 18 months. When it is developed, it will take some further time for the experts to see if it really works, what are its risks, and such. He adds that, of course, the fact that health experts and scientists are working on developing a vaccine for the Covid-19 gives us hope, but there is no guarantee that the vaccine will stop it in its tracks.
Apart from finding a definite cure for the coronavirus, we should also look for other alternatives, medicines that can appease the inflammatory response of the body. He is of the view that the pandemic might take a while to go away and so there is a need for a definite strategy which includes looking for other alternatives when it comes to curing the illness.
4. Humans Created The Coronavirus
The coronavirus is very new, but there have been other types of it in the past that have caused illnesses like the MERS and the SARS. Dr. Hirsch says that there are some viruses found in bats that have the potential to cause pandemics. He believes that the coronavirus’s current pandemic situation is not a biological weapon created by humans, as most people like to believe.
Thinking that way gives some sort of comfort to the people and helps them understand the situation better. We are biological creatures, and we are living on this planet with other biological creatures that we do not have any control over. Since the world is a crowded place, there is a great chance of our health getting influenced by other people’s health. We have become more vulnerable to such types of diseases.
According to Dr.Pierre, most people in the United States believe in some sort of conspiracy theory regarding the pandemic instead of believing in the information put out by legitimate sources. This creates myths and causes people to be misinformed. The conspiracy theories pick out information from trusted sources and choose the ones that they feel biased about and believe that instead.
5. The Government Along With The Scientists Are Being Secretive
A lot of people are giving the pandemic situation a political twist and are increasingly getting suspicious of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. According to Dr. Pierre, this fear and suspicion is being created by those people that think that the liberals will go to any lengths to make the re-election of President Donald Trump difficult. That is why they are not taking the Covid-19 pandemic seriously. Such people also view that the media is creating panic unnecessarily again due to political reasons.
Dr. Pierre says that in theory, it is likely that we are overreacting to the pandemic; health experts are of the view that there is a dire need for rigorous measures to bring down the negative impact of the pandemic. However, in reality, such rigorous measures such as practicing social distancing can damage the economy, the further it is practiced.
Misinformation is a popular political tool that has been used worldwide, and it can also be seen in the United States by some people in order to gain in the political sphere. Misinformation is used to make people distrust the authorities and the institutions.
6. Act In Order To Protect Yourself
Dr. Hirsch recommends that people follow the instructions given by experts, such as practicing social distancing, not touching your face, and frequently washing your hands. Apart from doing these, it is also important to lead a healthy lifestyle since the coronavirus causes severe problems for those who are not healthy and suffer from inflammation. He adds that if people are healthier, we can be more strong to avoid such infections in the future. Being healthy would also make people less likely to suffer from serious complications.
He suggests that people should eat a healthy diet and take up exercising along with managing stress. Those who are suffering from conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and such should work towards managing such illnesses. The pandemic is actually getting serious, and so it is time to let go of myths surrounding it.
We need to believe that our health relies on the health of those that are around us. We need to accept that we are vulnerable to this planet. Some people are creating myths in order to safeguard their views, which is not the right thing to do as it neither serves them nor us.