The information below helps distinguish between some common rumors and facts regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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Fact: No. None of the authorized and recommended vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. All of the vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
Fact: No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Fact: Yes. You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.
Fact: Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19. Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications.
Fact: No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Fact: Yes. People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. Scientists study every vaccine carefully for side effects immediately and for years afterward. The COVID-19 vaccines are being studied carefully now and will continue to be studied for many years, similar to other vaccines.
Fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. However, like other viruses, it is possible that the virus can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, it is critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety - clean, separate, cook and chill.
To avoid contamination from food packaging or food containers, the CDC recommends that you wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from packaging, before you prepare food for eating and before you eat. Consumers can follow CDC guidelines on frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces.
Fact: The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and been exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. WHO Source , USPS Source
Fact: There is no indication at this time that leaf blowers spread COVID-19. However, if you have concerns regarding the use of leaf blowers, there are many other options to dealing with fallen leaves that reduce or eliminate the need for a leaf blower, including composting/mulching, raking, and natural landscaping.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). CDC Source
Fact: Testing of specimens collected during the outbreak of respiratory illness at Greenspring in July 2019 showed several bacteria, including Haemophilus influenzae (H. flu) and rhinovirus, the cause of the common cold. There is no need to re-investigate the outbreak. At the time, the Virginia Department of Health put out an alert about an increase in respiratory illnesses in long-term care facilities .
The first human cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. At this stage, it is not possible to determine precisely how humans in China were initially infected. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 20, 2020 in Snohomish County, Washington and the first confirmed case in Virginia was reported on March 7, 2020. WHO Source , VDH Source
Fact: Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus. CDC Source
Fact: No. On March 22, President Trump directed the Secretary of Defense to permit full federal reimbursement, by FEMA, for some states’ use of their National Guard forces. The President’s action provides Governors continued command of their National Guard forces, while being federally funded under Title 32. Each state’s National Guard is still under the authority of the Governor and is working in concert with the Department of Defense. FEMA Source
Fact: Drinking bleach or other cleaning product will NOT kill the virus inside your body. There is no product you can swallow to prevent a virus from attacking your cells once it is in your body. Swallowing cleaning products could result in serious illness or injury. The CDC recommends using approved cleaning products, including diluted bleach solutions, to clean frequently touched surfaces. This will help kill any viruses lurking there. CDC Source
Fact: While older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of serious illness, anyone can become sick from coronavirus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe regardless of how old you are or if you have other medical conditions. CDC Source
Fact: Antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, do not work against viruses. They only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.
There is no medication that prevents or treats COVID-19, but there are medical remedies that may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of the diseases. They should only be used as directed.
Stay alert for coronavirus scams, including businesses that may be selling fake safety measures, unproven treatments or medication to prevent or treat COVID-19. To report a business, contact Consumer Affairs Branch of the Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services at 703-222-8435. WHO Source
Fact: The CDC states that employers should not require sick employees to provide a negative COVID-19 result or health care provider note to return to work. Source: CDC
Fact: At this time, there is no data to suggest that this new coronavirus or other similar coronaviruses are spread by mosquitoes or ticks. The main way that COVID-19 spreads is from person to person, through respiratory droplets.
However, ticks and mosquito do spread other diseases. Learn more about how to protect yourself from the Fairfax County Health Department’s Disease Carrying Insect Program.
Fact: Hypoxia occurs when blood oxygen falls below a certain level, causing shortness of breath, confusion, or headache. Common causes of hypoxia are high altitude, asthma and heart disease. (Source: Mayo Clinic). The CDC recommends creating cloth face coverings from common, breathable materials such as a scarf, bandana, hand towel, or old t-shirt, and, given the breathability of these items, a cloth face covering should not cause hypoxia. However, cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. (Source: CDC)
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