CORONAVIRUS: Debunking the myths

Updated: Feb. 28, 2020 at 10:22 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When it comes to the coronavirus, it’s important to get the facts, not fear, from your favorite new sources.

Depending on which news outlet you watch though, it’s either nothing, or something you really need to worry about.

WAFB spoke with Dr. Frank Welch, medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Immunization Program, to dispel some of the myths.

No. The virus cannot stay alive for more than a few hours on hard surfaces, and that includes letters and packages. There’s also a myth about wedding dresses being shipped carrying the virus; that’s not true.

There’s no evidence so far that pets, like cats and dogs, can be infected with the coronavirus or even spread it to humans. Dr. Welch warns people to just wash their hands after playing with pets.

Air travel is perfectly safe right now.

Face masks cannot protect someone from getting the coronavirus, however, if someone is sick with coronavirus, it can help them prevent spreading it to others.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China. Where it technically came from, that hasn’t been specifically pinpointed yet. Also, there are no antibiotics to help cure coronavirus at this time.

“So you know, the first thing we hope for is an anti-viral treatment to be effective, but the first thing you need is to test it on a bunch of people who have it. So far, this is so brand new we haven’t had time to do that. The next thing is the vaccine, but vaccines usually take six to eight months to make, then they have to be tested, then they have to be produced,” said Dr. Welch.

Dr. Welch believes the soonest we can likely expect a vaccine in is one and a half to two years.

The best way to prevent the spread of infectious illnesses like the coronavirus is to wash your hands.


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