Editor’s Note: This article is the culmination of the research of the entire ENN staff.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health is monitoring for cases of the coronavirus in Oklahoma, but so far there are no confirmed cases of the virus. As the virus spreads across the world, so is the misinformation about what it is and how to protect yourself from infection.
Can a surgical mask protect you from the spread of the virus?
While some have stocked up on masks the United State Surgeon General made an announcement on Twitter.
“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams wrote. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
The Surgeon General added that the best way to stop the spread of the virus is by using normal preventative measures such as staying home when you are sick and frequently washing your hands.
Adams also recommended people continue to get their flu shot to protect against the regular flu because if you can avoid the regular flu it will help keep medical resources free in the event of a major outbreak of the coronavirus.
Is the coronavirus really new?
The claim is usually followed with some variation of a picture of disinfectant spray, like this one shared by a Twitter user. The can shows sprays like Lysol can kill the human coronavirus.
The coronavirus was first identified in the 1960s, but the current strain was first identified late last year in Wuhan, China. Officially known as COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2, there is no antiviral cure for the latest mutation.
However, companies like Lysol say their products have proven effective in killing past strains of coronavirus on surfaces. It is important to note, disinfectants like Lysol are not to be swallowed.
What does Corona beer have to do with the coronavirus?
Aside from sharing a name, there is no connection between the virus and the beer and you cannot get the virus from the beer.
However, recently hundreds of media outlets around the country published articles arguing some consumers are avoiding Corona beer out of fear of the virus. The stories are based on a phone survey of 737 beer drinkers by 5W Public Relations.
According to a press release about the survey results “38% of beer-drinking Americans would not by Corona under any circumstances now.”
Missing in the context of the article. The 737 people surveyed represent only a fraction of a single percent of beer drinkers in the country. The press release fails to release any data on how the survey respondents were selected or what methodology was used.
In response to the articles, the company that owns the Corona Beer brand said the assertion the virus is hurting beer sales is false.
“Sales of Corona Extra remain strong, with dollar sales up 5% in the U.S. per the latest 4-week period ended Feb. 16, nearly doubling the 52-week trend for the brand,” Constellation Brands said.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible virus and we hope efforts to more fully contain it gain traction soon,” said Bill Newlands, president and chief executive officer at Constellation Brands. “It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation.”
Is the coronavirus more dangerous or less dangerous than the regular flu?
Worldwide there are nearly 90,000 people infected by the coronavirus and just over 3,000 deaths associated with the virus.
In America alone, the Centers for Disease Control report the regular flu has resulted in 32 million illnesses and 18,000 deaths.
At face value, it would appear the regular flu is more contagious and deadlier than the current coronavirus.
That is not necessarily the case.
The regular flu is more common, but using the CDC numbers, the regular flu has a mortality rate of just one-tenth of one percent. The World Health Organization reports the mortality rate of the coronavirus is 3.4% globally.
So while more people have experienced the regular flu, it is not nearly as deadly as the coronavirus. However, the coronavirus is not a death sentence because a large majority of people do recover from the virus.
What can you do to protect yourself from the virus?
Wash your hands and practice the same advice doctors give during every flu season.
If you would like to see more myths versus facts about the coronavirus click here.