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Coronavirus: get the truth behind the rumours

March 10, 2020 • read

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Coronavirus: get the truth behind the rumours

With new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases being confirmed daily, more and more rumours are spreading. With all the information being thrown around it can feel overwhelming trying to figure out what’s true and what’s not. We talked to our CEO, Dr. Brett Belchetz, a practicing ER physician, to get the truth behind the rumours.

Rumour:
'You can catch coronavirus by buying products from China'

Fact:
Viruses have a limited lifespan. Even if a parcel was handled by someone with coronavirus, it's very unlikely that a virus could survive for days or weeks, while the package is in transit from China.

Rumour:
'Only elderly can catch coronavirus'

Fact:
It’s possible for anyone to contract the coronavirus. However, the elderly and those with conditions that affect their immune system are more likely to be susceptible to the life-threatening effects of the virus.

Rumour:
'The flu shot can protect you from coronavirus'

Fact:
Flu shots can't protect you from coronavirus. Vaccines are designed to protect us against specific viruses. In the case of the flu shot, it protects against strains of the influenza virus. Since flu season runs from late fall to early spring in Canada, even though it has no impact on coronavirus, we strongly recommend you still get your yearly flu shot to protect yourself.

Rumour:
'Getting coronavirus is a death sentence'

Fact:
We want to be very clear here: The coronavirus is not a guaranteed death sentence to those who’ve been infected. Current measurements show that only 2% of coronavirus cases are fatal, which is much lower than SARS (10%). As with many illnesses, the elderly, small children and those with a compromised immune system are at a much higher risk of death than healthy adults.

Rumour:
'Coronavirus is just a mutated form of the common cold'

Fact:
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses, some of which do cause the common cold. However, the coronavirus family includes other viruses that cause some very deadly illnesses, such as SARS and MERS. Evidence has shown that this particular coronavirus first passed through animals before infecting humans.

Rumour:
'Canadians have a high risk of infection'

Fact:
Canada's risk is quite low compared to some other areas in the world. To help keep it that way, Canadians should be careful in planning their travel destinations. If you're going to travel, take all the precautions you can to prevent becoming infected and potentially spreading coronavirus.

Rumour:
'A face mask will prevent you from catching coronavirus'

Fact:
Face masks can’t completely protect you against coronavirus. Disposable masks could actually increase your risk of infection, because they don’t completely protect you against some small airborne particles and they often cause you to touch your face more often than if you weren’t wearing a mask. Rather than wearing a mask, the best way to protect yourself is frequent and thorough handwashing, and avoiding overcrowded areas.

Rumour:
'You'll know right away if you get coronavirus'

Fact:
Just like influenza, some of those who are infected show minimal symptoms or none at all. It can take between 1 and 14 days for an infected patient to begin showing symptoms, which means they can spread the virus without realizing it. Unless you're a trained medical doctor, you shouldn't try to diagnose yourself.

 

Did you see? Dr. Brett Belchetz recently appeared on the Marilyn Denis Show, where he discussed helpful health advice around the coronavirus outbreak.

We’re here to support you. If you feel sick, need a prescription, or you’re simply looking for medical advice, we can connect you to a Canadian doctor from the safety and comfort of your home, 24/7.

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