To help young people to understand and challenge some of the common misunderstandings around coronavirus (COVID-19), our public health experts in Camden have put together this useful Q&A in a true or false format.
Test yourself - find out if what you thought is actually based on fact or not.
1. Coronavirus can ONLY be spread by touching someone - FALSE
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. If you shake hands with someone and they have the virus on their hands and then you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you can become infected. However, it can also spread from person to person through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes out or speaks. If you are standing near someone (within 1 metre) who has the virus, or you touch something they have touched and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you can become infected. People can also get coronavirus if they are standing close to someone who has the virus and they cough, sneeze or breathe on them. That’s why it is so important to keep social distance (be 2 metres away from someone outside your household) and wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (or use hand gel if there is no soap and water).
2. When the weather is hot and sunny, you cannot catch coronavirus - FALSE
You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is - or how cold the weather is, for that matter. Countries with both hot and cold weather have reported cases of COVID-19. Keep to the key steps to protect yourself - stay at home, keep social distance and wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or, if that’s not possible, use hand gel.
3. Animals and pets cannot catch coronavirus or transmit the virus to humans – TRUE
There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit coronavirus.
4. Once you have coronavirus, you will have it for life - FALSE
Most of the people who have coronavirus and become ill with COVID-19 will recover. Only a small percentage of the global population who have had the virus, have died from it.
5. I am young, so I won’t get coronavirus - FALSE
Young people are not protected from getting the virus. People of all ages can be infected by coronavirus and can pass it on to others. 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, but some teenagers and people in their 20s and 30s have also become severely ill with the virus. Many young people seem to experience very mild or even no symptoms. Because people can have very mild symptoms, you cannot know whether you or anyone else has the virus and you cannot know whether or not you are passing it on to friends or family. People of all ages must protect themselves and others from the virus, by staying at home, keeping social distancing and washing their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or, if that’s not possible, using hand gel.
6. The source of coronavirus comes from 5G (mobile phone networks) – FALSE
This is a conspiracy theory that is completely untrue and has been branded “the worst kind of fake news” by NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powis. 5G does not cause coronavirus and 5G does not transmit the virus. No one knows exactly what the source was, but it is believed to have come from a market in China where meat was sold alongside live animals such as chickens and bats.
7. I cannot catch coronavirus from someone who does not have any symptoms - FALSE
While the risk of catching coronavirus from someone with no symptoms at all is very low, many people with the virus only experience mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is possible to catch coronavirus from someone who has, for example, just a little cough and does not feel ill.
8. Coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to several days – TRUE It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or with hand gel if there is no soap and water. Stop yourself touching your eyes, mouth or nose.
9. There are things that I can do to help prevent the virus spreading - TRUE
We all have a responsibility to do our bit to help prevent the virus spreading even more. We have been told by the Government to stay at home and only to go outside once a day for exercise, as well as to keep social distance (staying 2 metres away from other people). We should also reduce the number of times we go to the shops for essential items, such as food or medicines. We should stay in and not meet up with friends or family or go into other people’s houses. Youth clubs, community centres, restaurants, cafés, bars, cinemas and theatres have all closed to help reduce the spread of the virus.
10. There isn’t a cure for COVID-19 – TRUE
Currently, if someone gets COVID-19 there is no cure or specific treatment. For most people the body fights the virus and they recover after 7 to 10 days. Some people become very ill and they will need to go to hospital because coronavirus can cause people to have difficulty with their breathing and some to get pneumonia (a disease of the lungs).