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COVID Myths Proven to Be False

The truth is out there.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Coordinated, evidence-based public health strategies are crucial to ending any pandemic. Unfortunately, during the Trump administration, some myths about COVID-19 were spread—or actively promoted—that have since been proven to be false. These are five COVID myths that science has found to be untrue. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Myth: "Masks Don't Work"


Reality: 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. 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 COVID Death Rate Is Tiny"

Infected patient in quarantine lying in bed in hospital

Reality: Some people say this to justify not getting the vaccine. The truth is: in some states with low vaccination rates, like Florida, the death rate from COVID-19 is the highest it's been during 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.

RELATED: These 5 States to Have Next COVID Surge


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

Senior woman with caring daughter at home

Reality: 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. And children are increasingly at risk of serious illness and death.

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Myth: "It's Just Like the Flu"

Woman having chest pain and coughing while lying down on sofa at home.

Reality: "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 is Approved for COVID"

Doctor explaining the bottle of pills to patient in the office at desk

Reality: Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medication most often given to animals, has been touted online as a cure for COVID-19. This is not supported by evidence—at least, not enough evidence to convince the larger scientific community. "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. Read more about Michael