COVID-19 Myth and Rumor Control

Facts matter.

The information below helps distinguish between some common rumors and facts regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Do your part to the stop the spread of coronavirus, as well as the spread of disinformation, by doing three easy things:

  1. Don’t believe the rumors.
  2. Don’t pass them along, especially on social media.
  3. Go to trusted sources of information like Fairfax County Government, the Virginia Department of Heath and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get the facts about (COVID-19) response.

Hear a rumor? Email us at ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov.

MYTH: I can get the coronavirus from food, food packaging, or food containers.

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.

 

MYTH: I can get COVID-19 from my mail or other packages that I receive.

GRAPHIC - "Myth: I can get COVID-19 from takeout food"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

MYTH: Leaf blowers spread COVID-19.

GRAPHIC - "Myth: I can get COVID-19 from takeout food"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

MYTH: COVID-19 was circulating last summer at Greenspring, an assisted living facility in Springfield.

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

MYTH: Certain races and/or ethnicities cannot get COVID-19.

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

MYTH: The National Guard is being deployed in Virginia to control the spread of COVID-19.

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

MYTH: Swallowing cleaning products, such as bleach, kills coronavirus.

GRAPHIC - "Myth: I can get COVID-19 from takeout food"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

MYTH: Children cannot get coronavirus.

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

MYTH: I can take antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, to treat COVID-19.

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

MYTH: Fairfax County can require face coverings in public (such as at grocery stores), but won't.

Fact: While Virginia has not mandated face coverings in public, health officials strongly recommend wearing them in public settings in accordance with CDC guidance.

MYTH: If you were sick with COVID-19, you need a clearance from your doctor to return to work.

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

MYTH: I can get coronavirus from tick and mosquito bites.

Myth: COVID-19 and mosquitosFact: 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.

Sources: CDCWHO

MYTH: Face coverings cause hypoxia

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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