Myths and Truths

Social distancing: Myths and Facts

  • Myth: If I am outdoors, I do not need to practice social distancing.
    • Fact: While it is less likely that you will catch COVID-19 in open areas, it is still important to stay at least 6 feet away from others. Some people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and can spread the disease through respiratory droplets.
  • Myth: It’s OK if I go have a cup of coffee with my neighbor, or my teenager visits a friend, or my child has a play date with a friend – just this once.
    • Fact: Social distancing only works if everyone stays within their immediate household circles. Exposing yourself to even one additional person increases transmission risk.
  • Myth: Wearing a cloth face covering/mask will keep me safe if I am around anyone who has COVID-19.
    • Fact: Use of cloth face coverings is recommended in public because they can prevent people who have COVID-19 — possibly without any symptoms — from passing it along to others. The coverings do not block out viruses.
  • Myth: If I and everyone around me are wearing cloth face coverings, there’s no need to practice social distancing.
    • Fact: Cloth face coverings are NOT a replacement for social distancing. Whenever you are outside your home or around anyone outside your immediate household circle, you should stay 6 feet away from others.

COVID-19: Myths and Truths


  • It is not safe to receive a letter or package from China.
    • People receiving packages from China are not at an increased risk for getting coronavirus. Coronavirus does not survive long on objects such as letters and packages.
  • It’s not safe to eat in Chinese restaurants.
    • There’s no evidence that dining at a Chinese restaurant in America increases a person’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19, and WHO officials have advised against actions that stigmatize people.
  • Eating garlic can help prevent the infection of coronavirus.
    • There is no evidence that eating garlic has protected people from coronavirus.
  • Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating coronavirus.
    • Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only against bacteria.
  • Hand dryers are effective in killing coronavirus.
    • Hand dryers are not effective in killing coronavirus. To protect yourself against coronavirus you should frequently wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Vaccines against pneumonia protect you against coronavirus.
    • Vaccines that protect against pneumonia, do not protect against coronavirus. Coronavirus is new and different, which means it needs its own vaccine.
  • Spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body can kill coronavirus.
    • Spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying these substances on your body can be harmful.
  • Ultraviolet disinfection lamps can kill coronavirus.
    • Ultraviolet lamps should not be used in trying to kill coronavirus, as this can lead to skin irritation.


  • The coronavirus is believed to have a higher death rate than the flu.
    • Coronavirus and the flu are both respiratory illnesses, the flu’s mortality rate is averaged at 0.13% while coronavirus is about 3.4%.
  • Some public health experts expect a jump in the number of U.S. cases.
    • Some public health officials have said they expect the number of cases in America to rise sharply and quickly. This is in part due to increased testing abilities.
  • Health officials are suggesting limiting travel as the outbreak continues.
    • Travel to countries with heavy cases of coronavirus is being banned and some hotels, airlines, and cruise lines are waiving fees and changing policies. This will only increase as the virus increases.
  • A person can test negative and later test positive for the new disease.
    • Symptoms are believed to appear between two days and two weeks after exposure. It is possible the virus won’t be detected in the early stages of infection.
  • There is no treatment for the coronavirus.
    • There there is no cure for the coronavirus. Hopefully this will change soon. For now, infected patients should seek care that relieves and treats symptoms.