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5 COVID Myths Busted by Experts

Believing them could prove fatal for you or someone else.

Myths are an American tradition—tall tales and highly fictionalized accounts passed around to explain things bigger than ourselves, situations that are hard to understand. But perhaps at no other point have myths been so dangerous than those spreading on social media about COVID-19. Ignoring scientific evidence, they encourage people to engage in behaviors that will likely harm themselves or the people around them. These are five of the most common COVID myths, busted by experts. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Myth: "Masks Don't Work"

Experts including the CDC and the Mayo Clinic say it plain: Research has found that face masks effectively slow the spread of COVID-19. Face masks reduce the chance you will excrete or inhale particles infected with the coronavirus. More solid evidence was reported this week. A huge randomized controlled study in India—which tracked 340,000 adults across 600 villages in rural Bangladesh—found that mask-wearing can significantly limit the spread of symptomatic COVID-19.  


Myth: "The Death Rate Is Tiny"

Medical staff work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for COVID-19 multiple patients inside a hospital.

Some people say this to justify not getting the vaccine. The reality is: in some states, like Florida, the death rate is now the highest of the entire pandemic. Nearly everyone who is dying of COVID now is unvaccinated. This year, U.S. life expectancy declined by 18 months because of COVID-19—the largest drop since World War II.

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Myth: "It's Only Dangerous for Old People"

Top view of doctor and covid-19 patient with oxygen mask in bed in hospital, coronavirus concept.

Doctors and nurses nationwide are reporting that more people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are dying of COVID. And the virus seems to be landing younger people in the hospital. "Many of the patients with Covid-19 now arriving at the hospital are not just unvaccinated — they are much younger than 50, a stark departure from the frail, older patients seen when the pandemic first surged last year," the New York Times reported on Aug. 8. This month, NBC News reported on two COVID patients, age 25 and 24, who had to undergo a double-lung transplant and partial lung removal, respectively, this summer. And children under 12—who are not yet eligible for vaccination—are increasingly at risk of serious illness too.

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Myth: "It's Just Like the Flu"

Young woman feeling sick and sneezing in a tissue at home.

"COVID-19 appears to be more contagious and spread more quickly than the flu," says the Mayo Clinic. "Severe illness, such as lung injury, may be more frequent with COVID-19 than with influenza. The death rate also appears to be higher with COVID-19 than the flu. COVID-19 can cause different complications than the flu, such as blood clots and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children."

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Myth: "Ivermectin Cures COVID"

Box of Ivermectin tablets, an antiparasitic drug

Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medication most often given to animals, has been touted online as a cure for COVID-19. "Ivermectin isn't a drug for treating viruses and the FDA hasn't approved use of this drug to treat or prevent COVID-19," says the Mayo Clinic. "Taking large doses of this drug can cause serious harm. Don't use medications intended for animals on yourself." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael