Coronavirus, also known scientifically as COVID-19, has been a global nightmare. One by one, the virus has infiltrated nearly every country and about 10% of those who have contracted the virus have died. Sadly, there are many African Americans who still don’t fully understand what the virus is, and how to prevent it.
Here are some of the top, most common misconceptions that many in the Black community have:
#1 – Black People Can’t Get It: This is simply not true. To date, at least three African American NBA players have contracted the virus. In addition, several African nations including Rwanda, Nigeria, and Kenya have all reported individuals who have tested positive for the viral. Therefore, Black people are not immune to the virus.
#2 – Vodka Kills the Virus: Most vodka brands are only 40 percent alcohol, and that is not high enough to effectively kill microbes. The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Having a bottle of Hand Sanitizer on you to use when you come into contact with surfaces while you’re out and about might not be such a bad idea when it comes to protecting yourself against the virus.
#3 – You Need Health Insurance to Be Tested: Definitely not true. The U.S. government has mandated free testing to all individuals who have the symptoms of Coronavirus. All hospitals are required to comply, but not all hospitals may have enough test kits. In addition, there may be a long waiting line to get tested.
#3 – You Should Call 911 If You Have the Symptoms: Unless you are suffering from an immediate life-threatening emergency, you should not call 911. You should, however, call your doctor and/or visit your local hospital’s emergency room if you are not feeling well. Those who have questions or confusion about the virus can also visit CoronaVirusHelpline.org or call the toll-free Coronavirus Helpline at (888) 581-5029 for more information.
#4 – The Flu is More Dangerous: This also is not true. Although it is true that last year more than 60,000 people died from the flu. The Coronavirus has been proven to be more contagious, more deadly, and also more misunderstand. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than 1% of people who typically contract the flu die from it, but so far, about 3.4% of those who have contracted Coronavirus have died.
#6 – You Must Have Multiple Symptoms: This also is not correct. Many individuals who have tested positive for the Coronavirus have only been found to have just one of the major symptoms. According to the Washington State Dept of Health, those symptoms are shortness of breath, cough OR fever.
#7 – Only Elderly People Die From It: While it is true that people age 60 and over are more likely to contract and die from the virus, younger people must also exercise plenty of caution. The truth is that many patients that are age 22-59 are also being affected. South Korea reported 2,718 cases among patients under the age of 30.
#8 – There is a Cure: Currently, there is no cure or medical treatment available for those who contract the virus. Depending on the location, if a person tests positive for the virus, he or she will be quarantined and/or sent home and encouraged to self-quarantine. Drinking plenty of water, eating healthy foods with high nutrients, and taking immune-building vitamins are encouraged.
#9 – You Don’t Need To Wear Any PPE: The government has not made face masks and other forms of PPE mandatory, but they have recommended using them. The World Health Organization (WHO) have also said masks should be worn when going out in public. It is irresponsible not to wear a mask at the very least. If you are a keyworker and are having to go to work, your workplace should be providing PPE and should be looking for a sneeze guard and similar forms of protection from customers, where needed.
#10 – You Can Catch and Spread the Virus Through Sex: This is a difficult one. This statement is not technically true, as there is no evidence that COVID-19 is a sexually transmissible disease. However, it is possible to pass it on to someone by kissing, touching their face (as it could be on your hands), or even breathing in their direction. This means that you can still have a fun time in self-isolation, you just need to be extra careful.
#11 – All Travel Has Been Banned: As of March 16, 2020, no type of domestic travel has been restricted. However, the U.S. government has initiated several international travel bans to many countries in Asia and Europe. Most of these travel bans, however, do not affect American citizens but affect non-U.S. citizens.
Those with more questions about the virus are encouraged to visit CoronaVirusHelpline.org or call the toll-free Coronavirus Helpline at (888) 581-5029 for more information.