Most likely, there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t heard of the officially dreaded word of 2020: coronavirus. Also known at COVID-19, it’s a new strain of the same virus that causes milder illnesses such as the common cold; except that in this case, the virus is stronger and more potent than a typical cold or flu–it’s disrupted our entire world. But are you really armed with all the facts you need to get through this uncertain time of quarantine and distancing? Let’s go through some topics and talk about what’s fact, and what’s actually fiction.

COVID-19 was created in a lab and released as a part of biowarfare.


Many scientists and world organizations have been studying the virus and conclude that it came about naturally through animals, specifically human contact with an infected animal. An infected pig, for example, could have carried the new strain of coronavirus in its body (not getting sick like humans do, though), then transferred it over to a human host, who becomes what’s known as “Patient Zero.” This person then unknowingly spreads it to those around them, and soon it’s everywhere.

Washing yourself with bleach will kill the virus faster


DO NOT wash any part of your body with bleach, as it is a caustic chemical that will damage your body tissues and can make you extremely sick. Even breathing in potent bleach fumes can be harmful to your lungs, not to mention the harm they can do to your eyes. Handwashing with soap and water has proven to be highly effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, along with regular use of hand sanitizer.

There is no cure for COVID-19


While scientists are currently working on a vaccine, there is no way to cure the virus once you catch it, and no way to immunize those who haven’t been exposed. Once a vaccine is created, it will prevent the public from catching COVID-19. But even though there isn’t a vaccine yet, medical care is very effective at helping patients recover. As minor as rest and fluids, and as major as breathing treatments in the ICU, the world has excellent resources when it comes to the ability to fight coronavirus.

You are likely to die if you catch it


While still a serious illness, the numbers are in most people’s favor when it comes to risk of death. Data changes daily, but so far the average total death rate around the world is around 2-3%. Higher risk groups like the elderly, and those with diabetes, asthma, lung problems, or immune deficiency will have a greater risk of death than others, ranging from 6-20%, depending on the pre-existing condition of the patient.

The death rate is low, so it doesn’t matter if I catch it


Even if you personally are very low risk and highly unlikely to die, you may cross paths with someone who is high risk, or even cross paths with someone average but who can transmit it to someone high risk, who can then transmit it to someone else, and so on and so forth. Also, if the virus keeps spreading rampantly across the world, it will only mean longer quarantines and a further declining economy. Staying home as much as you can will help stop that.

Children don’t get sick with COVID-19


While children are not immune to the virus, they somehow do much better with it than adults. Their chances of catching it are lower, and their symptoms are much less severe. So far, no children have died of COVID-19. There have been a handful of children who have reported severe symptoms, but they are in the incredibly small minority. Keep in mind that anything is possible and somewhere around the world, a child could die of it, but so far, the data shows that children have a much easier time. And also keep in mind, that even if a child has mild symptoms, they can still transmit the virus to others, including those  who are high risk, and should be quarantined like adults.

COVID-19 impacts more than just the world’s overall health


While the economy isn’t imploding into a deep recession by any means, it has definitely slowed. Many industries have been forced to cut back on hours and eliminate services, like restaurants having to close their dining room–their main source of income. Mechanic shops, nail salons, some dental offices, and many other businesses have seen their stream of customers either slow or come to a screeching halt. But, even though it is a tough time for many Americans, the projection for the slow in our economy is short-term, and shouldn’t take a long time to rebound.

So, what else is fact or fiction when it comes to the new coronavirus? There’s a lot, probably too many to lists. Rumors, statistics, assumptions, trends–they all piece together the current state of the world and our reaction to this hard time. Hopefully, everyone can do their research to find which is real and which is not, stand strong, and get through this pandemic with hope.