Myths and Facts

1) Myth: Dogs and cats cannot get or spread COVID-19.

Fact: Some types of coronaviruses can infect dogs and cats, and on rare occasions, can spread to humans. In April 2020, the first cases of domestic cats were confirmed sick with COVID-19. The two cats lived in separate areas of New York State. People who have COVID-19 should limit contact with pets until more is known about the virus.


2) Myth: The number of people infected with the coronavirus is being inflated to cause panic.

Fact: COVID-19 deaths are counted through the Vital Statistics Registry, which has data for every death in the United States. The reason you might see different death rates reported is that there are both confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. Confirmed COVID-19 deaths means they were able to test for COVID-19. Probable deaths mean that the death was probably caused by COVID-19, but there was no testing available to confirm.


3) Myth: I should go to the Emergency Room if I have symptoms of COVID-19.

Fact: If you think you have COVID-19, you should first call your doctor. Many times, your doctor will advise you to stay home to recover. This is because many people can get better on their own, without medical attention. Or your doctor may want to test you for other things first, like strep throat and the flu. If you have serious symptoms (like trouble breathing), call 911 and tell them your symptoms. Ambulance personnel and emergency rooms will want to prepare for your arrival. They will give you instructions to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others.


4) Myth: My child’s check-ups and shots can wait until after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fact: Check with your doctor. Many healthcare providers are limiting their hours for routine and preventive care (like well-visits) during the COVID-19 outbreak. But experts recommend that children still get important immunizations (shots) and well-care to protect against serious diseases. Here is what you should know:

  • Many doctors are taking extra steps to make sure they can still give children the shots they need on time. Some doctors may prioritize giving shots to babies that are 24 months or younger. Call your doctor today if your child needs shots or well-care.


5) Myth: I cannot get COVID-19 in hot or cold weather.

Fact: False. No matter how hot or cold the weather is, you can still get COVID-19. There have been many COVID-19 cases in countries with different types of climates. Keep in mind that the normal human body temperature does not change based on what the weather is.


6) Myth: If I hold my breath for 10 seconds without coughing or sneezing, I don’t have COVID-19.

Fact: False. You cannot diagnose COVID-19 with a breathing exercise. The only way to know if you have the virus is to get tested.


7) Myth: Using a hand dryer will kill the coronavirus.

Fact: False. Hand dryers cannot kill COVID-19. To protect yourself against the virus, clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.


8) Myth: Taking ibuprofen (brand name: Advil) can cause COVID-19 complications.

Fact: False. So far, there is no scientific proof that taking drugs like Ibuprofen can make a person with COVID-19 sicker. If you have mild symptoms, like a low fever, and want to take over-the-counter medicines, make sure to read the instructions on the label and take the recommended dosage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin for mild symptoms of COVID-19.


9) Myth: Eating garlic can stop me from getting viruses, like COVID-19.

Fact: False. Garlic is a healthy food that may have some health benefits, according to the World Health Organization; but there is no evidence that eating garlic can protect people from COVID-19.


10) Myth: I don’t need to practice social distancing when around immediate family members.

Fact: False. It is important to stay at least six (6) feet away from anyone, especially people who do not live in your home. The coronavirus can travel at least 3 feet when coughed or sneezed. It can also live on surfaces for hours to days.

If you cannot avoid close contact with the people you live with, then you should be extra careful so you can protect yourself and your loved ones. Wash your hands often, change clothes right after you enter your home, and disinfect household surfaces often.


11) Myth: I can get COVID-19 if I order or buy products shipped from overseas.

Fact: False. It is very rare to get COVID-19 from a package delivery. So far, there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States because of imported goods.


12) Myth: Due to the shortage of hand sanitizers, people should make their own—it works just as well.

Fact: False. Homemade hand sanitizer products do not work as well. It is better to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.


  • To kill COVID-19, hand sanitizers need to have at least 60% alcohol.
  • Do not use DIY or homemade recipes that use essential oils
  • Do not use hand sanitizer to disinfect surfaces and objects. Instead, look at tips from reliable websites like the CDC, for cleaning and sanitizing your home.


13) Myth: I can take antibiotics to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Fact: No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat COVID-19. They should only be used to treat a bacterial infection, as directed by a physician.


14) Myth: I can’t catch COVID-19 from another person unless they cough or sneeze near me.

Fact: Some scientific experts believe that COVID-19 can be spread not just from an infected person coughing or sneezing but also from merely talking or breathing. This is another reason to social distance at least six feet from another person and wear a mask when you are in public.


15) Myth: None of my family or friends have COVID-19, so it is okay to have a gathering.

Fact: If you are planning a get-together or going to one, do not do it. People can have COVID-19 and not show symptoms. That is one of the reasons why the virus has spread to so many parts of the world, so quickly. Do the right thing, stay home and avoid crowds.


16) Myth: Wearing a facemask can cause carbon dioxide toxicity and lack of oxygen.

Fact: Wearing face mask for a long period of time may be uncomfortable. But it does NOT cause carbon dioxide toxicity (poisoning) or a lack of oxygen. When you wear a face mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not reuse a disposable mask and always change your reusable mask as soon as it gets damp.