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With so many coronavirus myths circulating, here are the facts

Posted at 2:00 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 16:39:39-04

There are a lot of myths circulating about COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Let's break the facts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms can appear two and 14 days after exposure.

Doctors draw comparisons to the flu.

“Coronavirus is also interesting because it doesn't seem to be quite as infectious as common influenza,” said Dr. Shauna Gulley.

Dr. Gulley with the large health system Centura Health has worked with coronavirus patients during this outbreak.

"Many of those people are quite well and have very minimal symptoms and do not need additional interaction with the health care system,” said Dr. Gulley. "We do believe in people that are, perhaps, older or have multiple medical problems such as diabetes or anything that makes your immune system weaker, that coronavirus may be more dangerous than influenza.”

Dr. Gulley says it’s still unclear why coronavirus has been mild in children. She has advice on what people should do.

"First of all, the worry about going and getting toilet paper, I don't think that should be first and foremost on anyone's list today,” said Dr. Gulley.

While it’s important to be prepared, it’s important to not go overboard.

"We are seeing people come into our environments and take soap, masks and other supplies home to try to stockpile that in their homes,” Dr. Gulley said. "One of our hospitals actually had all of their soaps and hand sanitizers stolen last week."

She also says people need to know how to use hand sanitizer.

"The myths around putting it on your body or on your face is where we get into trouble. Those things are not safe for people to do,” said Dr. Gulley.

The CDC says people at a higher risk should avoid crowds. Dr. Gulley says it’s a good idea to keep your space.

"We believe that staying about six feet away from somebody with symptoms is the most protective space,” Dr. Gulley said.

As the number of cases grows in the United States, public anxiety may be growing with it. So, don’t fear communicating if you’re dealing with another kind of medical issue.

“If you're an allergy sufferer, I think it's important for you to talk to others about the fact that you have allergies and for them to be a little bit more assured that you're not infected. You have no fever, you have no deep cough and you have no risk factors for coronavirus,” Dr. Gulley said.

If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

Click here to learn more about COVID-19 and how to help prevent the spread of the virus.