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Facts about COVID-19

McLennan Community College will continue monitoring and assessing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it relates to the health and well-being of our campus and community.

Corona 101: A guide to COVID-19 in Central Texas

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Precautions Video

Below are some Fact vs. Fiction statements provided by the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District:

FICTION

FACT

Fiction:
If someone is diagnosed with a coronavirus by their doctor, it means they have COVID-19.
Fact: 
The COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus which means it is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified.

The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronavirus that commonly circulates among humans and causes mild illness like the common cold.

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses.

Fiction:
I am at risk for COVID-19 from a package or products shipped from China.
Fact:
Because of poor survivability of this strain of the coronavirus on surfaces, there is likely a 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 spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID–19 associated with imported goods, and there have not been any cases of COVID–19 in the U.S. associated with imported goods.

Fiction:
I can catch COVID–19 because there are positive cases in Texas and the US.
Fact:
Someone who is actively sick with COVID–19 can spread the illness to others. That is why these patients are currently being isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better, and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

The current cases in San Antonio, Texas, have been isolated since they returned to the U.S. and are not spreading the illness to the community.

As of March 2, 2020, there are currently NO cases in McLennan County. 

Fiction:
I can protect myself from COVID–19 by wearing a face mask.
Fact:
The CDC does NOT recommend that people who are not ill wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID–19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.

A face mask should be used by people who have COVID–19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.

The use of face masks is crucial for healthcare workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID–19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).

Fiction:
There is nothing I can do to protect myself from COVID–19.
Fact:
There are ways to protect yourself from these types of illnesses, much the same as you would protect yourself from getting the flu:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands, and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then, throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe, including regular laundry detergent.
Fiction:
I should be tested for COVID–19 if I have a fever or cough.
Fact:
You should only be tested for COVID–19 if you:
  • Have developed a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath
    AND
  • Have a history of travel from affected geographic areas (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea) within 14 days of symptoms onset
    OR
  • Have come in close contact with a person who has COVID–19, or have been exposed to someone sick within 14 days of symptom onset
    OR
  • Have fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g. pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without an alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g. influenza).
Fiction:
I should be worried about COVID–19.
Fact:
While COVID–19 is a new coronavirus and is spreading worldwide, influenza infects and kills more people in the U.S. than COVID–19.

The CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 29 million influenza (flu) illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations, and 16,000 deaths from influenza (the flu).

While we need to be preparing for a potential COVID–19 outbreak in the U.S., we need to take the proper preventive actions to protect ourselves from the flu as well.

Fiction:
COVID–19 only affects the Asian population.
Fact:
All people, including those of Asian descent, who have not recently traveled to China or been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID–19 are NOT at greater risk of acquiring and spreading COVID–19 than other Americans.

Viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds. People from China in the U.S. may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in the region. Facing stigma can make fear and anxiety worsen. Social support can help them cope.

Fiction:
The new coronavirus was deliberately created or released by people. 
Fact:
Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat, or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.
Fiction:
You can protect yourself from COVID–19 by swallowing or gargling with bleach, taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, saltwater, ethanol, or other substances.
Fact:
None of these recommendations protect you from getting COVID–19, and some of these practices may be dangerous.

The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus (and other viruses) include:

  • Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly using soap and water.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoiding the spread of your own germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.
Fiction:
Younger people can’t become infected with COVID – 19.
Fact:
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (COVID–19). Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Fiction:
Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating COVID–19.

Fact: 
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (COVID–19) is a virus, and therefore, antibiotics should be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for COVID–19, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Fiction:
There are specific medicines to prevent or treat COVID–19.
Fact:
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (COVID–19). However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

For more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Texas Department of State Health Services

World Health Organization

Waco-McLennan County Public Health District