The COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic, and with that comes a lot of false information on the internet. It is our objective to provide you with reliable facts, figures, developing news, health tips, FAQs, and the latest information as they relate to coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO [World Health Organization] Country Office in China on December 31, 2019.
- The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020.
- On February 11, 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease as COVID-19.
- On March 11, 2020, WHO upgraded the status of the COVID-19 outbreak from epidemic to pandemic.
What’s the Difference between an Epidemic and a Pandemic?
Before WHO March 11 announcements, the COVID-19 outbreak was being described by the UN health agency as an epidemic. This means that it had spread to many people, and many communities, at the same time.
By labeling the spread a pandemic, WHO was indicating the virus was now a worldwide phenomenon. The decisions also reflect the WHO’s concern at what it calls the “alarming levels of coronavirus spread, severity and inaction”, and the expectation that the number of cases, deaths and affected countries will continue to climb. However, calling COVID-19 a pandemic does not mean that it has become more deadly, it is an acknowledgment of its global spread.
The WHO chief acknowledged that the COVID-19 spread is the first pandemic to be caused by a coronavirus (i.e. any of the large variety of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases). He also pointed out that all countries can still change the course of this pandemic, and that it is the first ever that can actually be controlled.
Source and Spread of the Virus
Coronavirus are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronavirus can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States. Some international destinations now have ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, as do some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed.
Learn what is known about the spread of this newly emerged coronaviruses.
Key Facts about COVID-19
- Know the facts about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and help stop the spread of rumors.
- COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: Latest news, information, and updates
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
In the United States of America, CDC ─ nation’s health protection Agency─ is responding to this outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 163 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). On January 31, the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.
On March 11, WHO publicly characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.
On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.
CDC: Symptoms (COVID-19)
CDC: Testing for COVID-19
CDC: Travel (COVID-19)
Severity of COVID-19
The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
A CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report that looked at the severity of disease among COVID-19 cases in the United States by age group found that 80% of deaths were among adults 65 years and older with the highest percentage of severe outcomes occurring in people 85 years and older.
Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Financial Impact of COVID-19
- The Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Low and Middle-Income Countries
- COVID-19 could affect the global economy in three main ways
- COVID-19 Implications for Businesses
- COVID-19 and Your Finances
- COVID-19 Will Hit Minorities The Hardest
- CNN: Coronavirus will change the grocery industry forever
- Coronavirus Leads China to Ban Wildlife Trade
COVID-19 and Scams
Inevitably, natural disasters and national crises will spawn a wave of scams and fraudulent services. It does not take much imagination to see such activities surfacing already such as the following:
- Beware of snake oil salesmen peddling “secret” cures and vaccinations to anyone desperate enough to pay for them. Such remedies will come in the form of pills, herbal formulae, and non-traditional treatments. Although you might want to justify spending money on outlandish claims in the “hopes” of it being helpful, but hope and fear are polar opposites. Hope leads to positive changes while fear leads to negative choices. Pay attention to the irrational claims you hear or read as well as to your gut instincts.
- Avoid becoming the victim of unethical activities that pray on your fears and our collective panic. We have already seen this in play in our rush to clear shelves of toilet paper, but if you find an “opportunity” to buy such supplies online at exorbitant prices, do yourself and your bank account a favor and steel yourself against overreacting.
Worse yet are the outright fraudsters who will offer to sell “emergency equipment” and supplies for some supposed doomsday scenario, peddling generators, hazardous materials suits, filtered facemasks, goggles, and surgical gloves, and coronavirus first aid kits. Most of these items will never be required or used. As for goggles, gloves, and first aid kits, they will be no different in a “Coronavirus Kit” than what you would find in the first aid kit you may already have in your bathroom, with the exception of the ridiculous price. Such excessive pricing can be termed profiteering, and you do not want to fall victim to it just because of fear and panic.
Should I stop investing in the stock market?
Consider what Warren Buffett did when the stock market plunged in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Instead of selling stocks in panic or staying away from the stock market, he jumped in feet first. The stock market will rebound. Is now not the best time to take advantage of other people’s panicking? Certainly, you would at the very least be wise NOT to cancel any automatic monthly investments through your 401(k) or IRA.
Should I stock up on supplies in case of quarantine?
Nobody likes the thought of being quarantined for days, let alone for weeks. Look in your cupboard for canned foods and supplies you could use in case of such an emergency. Before you head to the grocery store to empty the shelves, remember that current quarantines are just two weeks, not two months. In a pinch, you will likely have a friend, family member or neighbor who could do your shopping for you, not to mention your option of ordering groceries online.
BUDGETING FOR COVID-19 DIRECT IMPACTS
As the pandemic reaches into all 50 states, and into most communities, having a plan for spending your resources wisely will benefit you today and into the future. If you do not have a spending plan (aka budget) for your household, now is certainly a better time than later to put one together.
A budget is simply a plan on where you would like your money to go. To prepare for potential health issues and medical expenses, it would be wise to divert some discretionary spending from activities like dining out, going to the movies, vacations, and even subscription services, to an emergency savings fund for medical-related expenses.
Typically, this includes housing and utilities, food, transportation, and communications, and some clothing. I do not believe households should go into financial lockdown because of this virus pandemic, a household should always consider their priorities. In times of crisis, what is most important to us comes into clearer focus. Ask yourself if your spending money is going to the most important priorities in your life.
COVID-19 AND DEBT
Do not discount the continued importance of paying down your debt balances consistently and paying them on time every month. COVID-19 will not be the end of society as we know it, but if you stop making payments to your creditors, you could put yourself into a financial hole that will take years or even decades to dig out of.
HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS AND COVID-19
Throughout this pandemic, most households should continue to contribute to their savings funds so long as there is income coming in the home. Do not max out your income and credit cards because you are worried about a run on toilet paper. Do not go online to stock up on a year supply of hand sanitizer. Instead, follow the guidelines from the CDC while continuing to contribute regularly to your emergency savings fund as well as to funds for your short-term goals.
In the end, while COVID-19 is already causing temporary disruptions to our entire society and even the unfortunate death of many of our co-citizens, it is quite possible that in 20 years we will look back on 2020 not as the year of COVID-19 but as the year of the Great Toilet Paper Panic.
Myths and Misinformation
The World Health Organization identified early in the COVID-19 outbreak the global wave of misinformation about the virus and dubbed the problem the “infodemic.” The WHO “Q & A” page on COVID-19 is updated frequently and addresses myths and rumors currently circulating.
According to the WHO website, the agency has reached out to social media players such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, and Weibo, the microblogging site in China. WHO has worked with these sites to curb the “infodemic” of misinformation and has used these sites for public education outreach on COVID-19. “Myth-busting” infographics posted on a WHO web page are also reposted on major social media sites.
The CDC has followed with its own “Frequently Asked Questions” page to address questions and rumors. State health agencies have put up COVID-19 pages to address public concerns and offer advice on prevention. The Maryland Department of Health web page directly addresses dangerous misinformation: “Do not stigmatize people of any specific ethnicities or racial background. Viruses do not target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds. Stay informed and seek information from reliable, official sources. Be wary of myths, rumors, and misinformation circulating online and elsewhere. Health information shared through social media is frequently inaccurate unless coming from an official, reliable source such as the CDC, MDH or local health departments.”
‘Cold Weather Kills Coronavirus’ and 13 other COVID-19 Myths
The COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic, and with that comes a lot of false information on the internet. There are many myths about COVID-19 that have been circulating through social media. Here are some of the most common ones, according to the World Health Organization.
Myth #1: Cold weather kills novel coronavirus
Truth: The CDC and the WHO have said this from the start: the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is with frequent handwashing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. The WHO says there is “no reason to believe cold weather can kill the new coronavirus,” or other diseases, for that matter.
Myth #2: COVID-19 cannot be transmitted in hotter, more humid climates
Truth: Protective measures, like proper handwashing and social distancing, need to be taken no matter where you live. COVID-19 can be transmitted anywhere, regardless of how hot or humid the air is.
Myth #3: Taking a hot bath prevents you from getting COVID-19
Truth: This myth has been stemming from the false idea that cold and hot temperatures can kill the virus. Just like the cold weather and hot and humid climate myths, this is not true. Your body temperature stays relatively stable even when you take an extremely hot bath. This just leaves you at risk for a burn. Still, the best way to prevent getting COVID-19 is to wash your hands often. This prevents viruses on your hands from infecting you when you touch your face.
Myth #4: Coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites
Truth: As temperatures continue to warm as we dive into spring, mosquitoes will become more common again. That typically brings a risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus, but the increasing population of mosquitoes does not create another channel in which you can get COVID-19. From the WHO, “there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.” This is because the new coronavirus is spread primarily through droplets when someone with the coronavirus sneezes or coughs. This is why social distancing and frequent hand washing is so important.
Myth #5: Hand dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus
Truth: The heat from a hand dryer alone is not enough to kill the new coronavirus. However, in combination with washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, this method is very effective. You can also dry your hands after using paper towels, or instead use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Myth #6: UV lamps kill the new coronavirus
Truth: It’s too soon to tell whether UV light is an effective way to kill the new coronavirus, and the World Health Organization does not suggest its use. It should especially not be used on hands or your body as it can cause irritation. UV light has been known to kill the flu virus, however.
Myth #7: Thermal scanners can detect everyone who is infected with coronavirus
Truth: Thermal scanners, like thermometers, can detect people who have a higher-than-normal body temperature due to infection from COVID-19. But not everyone who is infected with the coronavirus has a fever yet. According to the WHO, “it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.”
Myth #8: Spraying alcohol and chlorine all over yourself kills the coronavirus
Truth: This will not cure you of COVID-19 if it has already entered your body. Spraying alcohol and chlorine all over your body can be harmful if it gets into your eyes or mouth. The World Health Organization says they both can be used to disinfect surfaces, however.
Myth #9: Getting a pneumonia vaccine protects against COVID-19
Truth: The WHO says, “Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.” COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, yes, but it requires its own vaccine, which is in the testing phase right now.
Myth #10: Rinsing your nose and gargling with saline solution helps prevent COVID-19 infection
Truth: The World Health Organization says there is some evidence that regularly rinsing your nose with saline can help you get over the common cold more quickly. But this does not apply to COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. The same applies to gargling with a saline solution.
Myth #11: Eating garlic helps prevent COVID-19 infection
Truth: There is no scientific evidence that eating garlic prevents you from being infected with the novel coronavirus. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, it does have some antimicrobial properties.
Myth #12: The coronavirus only affects older people, not younger ones
Truth: The World Health Organization says people of all ages need to take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19. The best ways are frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizer, and social distancing. However, people who are older are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the new coronavirus. People with preexisting conditions are also at an increased risk for more severe complications, such as people with heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
Myth #13: Antibiotics prevent and treat COVID-19
Truth: Antibiotics are used to fight bacteria, not viruses, which is what COVID-19 is. This myth may have stemmed from the fact some people who are hospitalized for coronavirus have received antibiotics, but that’s because bacterial “co-infections” are possible with COVID-19, according to the WHO. The antibiotic does not treat the virus itself.
Myth #14: There are medicines to prevent and treat coronavirus
Truth: The World Health Organization is helping with research and development efforts to find treatments for coronavirus, however, they are still under investigation, and must be tested through clinical trials. Right now, there is no medication recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19. You can use medication to relieve symptoms, but those with severe symptoms from coronavirus should seek help from a medical professional.
What’s Not Myth: Coronavirus, the Sun, Fresh Air & Vitamin C & D
When new and virulent diseases emerge, such as SARS and Covid-19, the race begins to find new vaccines and treatments for those affected. As the current crisis unfolds, governments are enforcing quarantine and isolation, and public gatherings are being discouraged. Health officials took the same approach 100 years ago when influenza was spreading around the world. The results were mixed. But records from the 1918 pandemic suggest one technique for dealing with influenza─ little-known today─ was effective. Some hard-won experience from the greatest pandemic in recorded history could help us in the weeks and months ahead.
Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients; and infections among medical staff. There is scientific support for this. Research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs. Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is no evidence it can kill the flu virus.
Look at this way…
It is the spring of 2020 and the stock market has plunged 30%─ wiping out over $10 trillion in U.S. wealth, a national emergency has been declared over coronavirus pandemic, school and businesses are closed indefinitely, short term unemployment is expected to go over 20%… and the FED is considering a Trillion dollar bailout amid coronavirus meltdown.
The good thing is, it’s not the end of the world.
The Sun will rise tomorrow, clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe will be plentiful… and with roof over our head and food in our belly, we all should pray and count our blessings. Having a family or friends to love, food on the table, a half or quarter tank of gas, and clean clothes to dress our children should be considered the “New Rich and Healthy”.