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Question of the day

Monday, Jul 6, 2020

* Ethan Colbert at the Herald-Whig

There is almost an infodemic of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic on social media and circulating in public, local physicians and public health experts say.

The myths cause health officials to worry that as Illinois reopens, the public will disregard the experts’ advice and instead believe what they read on social media sites, including information that is not vetted by medical professionals or reported from credible sources.

“I think it is very hard for lay people to know what to believe, especially since there is still a lot we don’t know about the virus, so when they see someone speaking with some degree of confidence they want to believe that person,” said Dr. Mary Frances Barthel, Blessing Health System’s chief quality and safety officer, who also is one of the health care system’s COVID-19 response team members.

“Everyone needs to know that most of what is out there can always be clarified and explained with science.”

The article goes on to list several myths, including one about how face coverings “decrease the body’s oxygen levels or lead to carbon dioxide intoxication,” another about how “COVID-19 is not a serious threat to public health due to most people recovering from the virus,” another about how the virus “is comparable to influenza,” a bogus test “if someone can hold their breath for 10 seconds or longer without coughing or feeling discomfort, they do not have the virus,” and the whopper about how “staying indoors in isolation lowers your immune system and that wearing a mask lowers your immune system.”

* The Question: What COVID-19 myths have you been seeing and how did you deal with them, if at all?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments
  1. - lake county democrat - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    A fairly famous attorney on Twitter has been tweeting/retweeting anti-facemask garbage. Not carbon dioxide but how even N95 masks are ineffective. He hasn’t blocked me (yet) so I try to post links to studies and other nation’s experiences for people to see in the comments, but it’s dismaying.


  2. - Gooner - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    The most common is along the lines of “masks don’t work.”

    The creepiest is claiming that Bill Gates is part of some conspiracy related to the virus.

    I deal with them either by pointing out the flaws or simply ignoring them.

    The odds of changing a mind on that issue are limited.

    Let me add one more thing:

    The area wheere this is real discussion is amonng those who take it seriously. I have had several discussions with people about issues as to whether this is a respiratory v. blood clotting issue, and when is best to start treatment.

    Among people who understand the seriousness and genuinely want to find a solution, discussions of that sort can be beneficial.


  3. - Currently Unemployed - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:47 pm:

    Washing your hands removes the natural flora that protects us from infection. From now-unfriended high school facebook friend.


  4. - the Patriot - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:50 pm:

    The Government has any idea what they are doing.

    Don’t believe anything on social media. Find local real time sources for what is going on in your town and react based upon the level of the problem. Practice common courtesy with respecting other people’s space and their decisions on how to protect themselves/their employees.


  5. - El Conquistador - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    There is an unending storm of social media memes with these themes. Their impact is reflected daily in the behavior of many and the case counts in conservative states/areas.

    With ill intent by the perpetrators of the misinformation and willing adoption by the ignorant, this is a political issue - like it or not.

    The intense political division and rampant ignorance will only result in needless suffering.


  6. - JoanP - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    Early on the pandemic, a friend forwarded an email she’d gotten with the “hold your breath” test garbage. But within a few minutes, she sent a second email, basically saying, “I’m sorry I sent that; it’s nonsense.”

    I find that one particularly bizarre, because if it were that simple, why would we have been concerned about the availability of tests?

    But, of course, “Big Pharma” doesn’t want you to know.


  7. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    ==their decisions on how to protect themselves/their employees==

    Why would I have any respect for someone who has no respect for others. If you are a business that doesn’t require your employees to wear a mask or you are an individual that doesn’t wear a mask then you are showing no respect for others. Don’t expect me to have one ounce of respect for you. Irresponsiblity is not something to respect.


  8. - Frank talks - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    I kind of thought France having to actually issue a warning saying cocaine will not stop the virus may be one of the best in the whole deal.


  9. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    That the virus will just go away and that the virus is no big deal. Two myths perpetuated by our President. How did I deal with them? Ignored them. That’s what I do with nonsense. You ignore it.


  10. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:05 pm:

    The most dangerous one, that masks are government oppression. How shallow and insecure must one’s concept of freedom be to hold such a view in the middle of a pandemic? We cannot have a country to “make great again” if we don’t have a collective response and strategy to fight and win. That requires government. Our national COVID-19 response has helped make us a pariah and embarrassment to our allies and a big part of the rest of the advanced world.


  11. - Gooner - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    Demoralized, you beat me to that response.

    Some people act like choosing whether to wear a mask is as simple as choosing chocolate or vanilla.

    It isn’t.

    It is a very serious choice with very serious consequences, and like you, I avoid people and businesses were masks are not worn.


  12. - Flapdoodle - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:15 pm:

    Because I basically stay off social media, I haven’t heard very many myths. If they come up in conversation, I ask for a source — which mostly ends the discussion. Fine by me.


  13. - Nick Name - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    That masks inhibit breathing. I respond that I have severe asthma and that wearing a mask in no way inhibits my breathing. Also, in May when I had bilateral pneumonia prior to my hospital stay, wearing a mask made my breathing no worse than it already was.

    What I say to those who claim that masks are government overreach/”violate my freedom” etc. would violate the CapFax content rules.


  14. - Jocko - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    If anything, COVID-19 should put to rest the belief that the GOP is the party of personal responsibility.


  15. - dbk - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:21 pm:

    This isn’t actually a myth, but I am following the discussion re: the opening of K-12 schools in August, esp. in light of the serious increase in cases in the majority of states.

    A lot of opinion writers for the big outlets are advising we start up again because children aren’t particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and may not even be very contagious if they’re asymptomatic carriers.

    These same opinion writers almost universally forget the adults involved in K-12: teachers, substitute teachers, administrators, classroom assistants, janitors, admin assistants, bus drivers.

    Don’t know quite what to say about this omission.

    It’s like they’re not even part of the decision-making process.


  16. - hot chocolate - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:23 pm:

    I unfortunately followed Darren Bailey’s Facebook page. Now I have to deal with videos of him saying all the Governor’s restrictions have now been lifted. I am coping…but it is tough because he goes on Facebook live literally every day multiple times a day saying the same things.


  17. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    That Cornell … “Study”


  18. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    Infodemic is so good…I’m envious of whoever coined it.


  19. - Pundent - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    The claim by the President and his staff that 99% of all Covid-19 cases are harmless in the face of over 130K fatalities.


  20. - Centennial - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:38 pm:

    That Covid spike numbers are totally blown out of proportion due to increased testing and “double counting” positive retests.

    Oh and that the ICU beds being near capacity in FL is actually due to people who delayed receiving medical care because of Covid, not covid patients.


  21. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    One of the ones I hear frequently is someone attributing some illness they experienced between November of 2019 and February of 2020 as having been COVID-19, so they’ve already had it, and have nothing to worry about. This is sometimes combined with the attitude that it wasn’t so bad, so you have nothing to worry about either or the suggestion that someone else try to get it so they can be immune too.


  22. - Back at Work - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    The one that blows my mind is this one: “The virus will gone the day after the election.” I get being 3 months into this, people are frustrated, wanna get out, etc. But the people who tell this one, they firmly believe there’s no virus, that it was made up for political advantage. Whew buddy.


  23. - Anon221 - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    The “myth” that because I’m taking this seriously, wearing a mask and following social distancing, that I’m a basement dweller and afraid of the world. The “myth” that we need to be a “herd” and “get back to normal”. The “myth” that 99%ers believe with evangelical zeal that death rates are not important anymore, not to mention long-term co-morbidities. The “myth” that testing alone will keep someone from contracting the virus.

    It’s tiring and not worth my efforts to contradict those perpetuating such divisive and dangerous material. So, basement-dweller, scared little rabbit, believer of Science, reader/watcher of Main Stream Media, and hand-washer/distancer I will remain. I’d rather be the tortoise than the hare in this particular race to see who can run the stats and hospital beds up fastest.


  24. - Mama - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:52 pm:

    I noticed people were wearing mask until Trump declared it not necessary to wear a mask and called COVID-19 a hoax. I’m hearing if Trump and his staff don’t feel the need to wear a mask, why should we wear one?


  25. - Got my head spinning - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    This one got me today speaking to a couple of people from down in southern IL Clay County. They said all of Illinois numbers are terribly inflated to give Governor Pritzker the power he’s wanted all his life. That’s why Bailey and DeVore had to go to court and stop him. Wasn’t able to show me any information proving this, but a few people joined in and said it’s the truth and if you get tested you’ll automatically have it and be quarantined. They couldn’t tell me about the other states.


  26. - M - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    I have heard several people say COVID-19 didn’t infect the large crowds of protesters so I will should be safe going to church or having a party at my place, etc.

    They think the virus is the same as a cold or the flu and is being blown out of proportion.


  27. - Earnest - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    That masks don’t protect you, with little arrows illustrating that air can flow through space by your nose. I’ve also seen the opposite, that you’ll suffocate.

    It’s got to be a benchmark in human achievement that a portion of the American populace were radicalized against something as simple, sensible and effective as wearing a mask to help others and our economy.


  28. - Henry Francis - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:00 pm:

    People are saying that Trump related merchandise is full of the Covid. Something about it being made in China. And it is part of a plan by Xi and Jeffrey Epstein (who’s death was faked).

    So I try to avoid anyone wearing Trump merch.


  29. - M Python - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    I was coaching at a youth softball tournament this weekend. Hundreds of parents sitting in close knit groups. I maybe saw 3 people in the crowds wearing a mask. Several umpires had them on. I wore mine from the time I got out of car until I got back in my car. Scary. Fairly certain we may see an increase


  30. - Logical Thinker - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    The biggest myth is that if you test positive you’ll automatically get sick or worse, die. I choose to live my life instead of let others tell me I should be scared.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    === if you test positive you’ll automatically get sick===

    Logically speaking, if you test positive… you *are* sick.


  32. - Excitable Boy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    - if you test positive you’ll automatically get sick or worse, die. -

    Literally no one is saying that. You very well could infect someone else though, who could get sick or worse, die.

    But go on just thinking about yourself, hero.


  33. - Logical Thinker - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    “Literally no one is saying that. You very well could infect someone else though, who could get sick or worse, die.“

    Is this going to become a permanent thing? If we ever get a vaccine for Covid, will we use the same litmus test for EVERY flu/cold season in the future?


  34. - Pundent - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    =I choose to live my life instead of let others tell me I should be scared.=

    Maybe you should walk around with that disclaimer on so the rest of us can steer clear.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    === I choose to live my life instead of let others tell me I should be scared.===

    Your selfishness is noted.

    It’s rare people admit their disregard for others so proudly…


  36. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    ===Maybe you should walk around with that disclaimer===

    Easy to spot people like that because they don’t generally wear face-coverings in public.


  37. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 3:03 pm:

    I’ve spoken to people who seem to be confused about antibodies. My stepdaughter wants to come visit from Texas ’cause fares are only 50 bucks and she’s (just) gotten over the virus (2 weeks ago) so she’s got antibodies (exclamation point) and can’t infect us.
    Eye roll.


  38. - Chatham Resident - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    Unknown if this is a myth, but there are some researchers, and the media, that wonder if COVID-19 can spread in municipal water and sewage supplies:

    https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2020/04/researchers-concerned-that-covid-19-could-infect-the-water-supply/

    I am sure some people in Chatham (among other places) who have issues with the community’s water quality have been wondering about COVID’s spread in water.


  39. - Excitable Boy - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 3:32 pm:

    - EVERY flu/cold season in the future -

    We have flu vaccines, and the cold is rarely deadly.

    But go on setting up straw men, Mr. Logic.


  40. - Southern IL Bob - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    Someone told me the other day that the sooner we all get the virus the sooner we can attain “herd immunity” and get back to normal. I think I’ll pass.


  41. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 4:06 pm:

    =the sooner we all get the virus the sooner we can attain “herd immunity”=

    Yeah. Ask the Swedes about that.


  42. - Demoralized - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    ==will we use the same litmus test for every flu/cold season in the future==

    There’s a myth. That this is just like the cold or the flu. You can’t fight the ignorance of people like this so I don’t even try. You’ll never convince the covid deniers.


  43. - Wensicia - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 4:32 pm:

    I think the most popular myth has been proven wrong. The summer heat will eliminate the virus.


  44. - John Gregory (ex-IRN) - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 5:08 pm:

    My reporting now revolves around identifying health misinformation. I’d say the most common COVID-19 myths are variations of it being a manmade/engineered virus.

    New myths will continue to be created. The misinformation industry has a hungry audience.


  45. - 44th - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 5:18 pm:

    All of these press releases for pump and dump stocks saying they have a cure, often after 10 person “studies”.


  46. - AnnieH - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 5:36 pm:

    The numbers are inflated because no matter what you die of it’s counted as Covid-19 because hospitals make more money on Covid cases. Those are the saner ones. I just checked in with a FB “friend” I’ve unfollowed and sure enough, it’s also “globalists” setting the stage for something that will involve Bill Gates, a cashless society, an mandatory vaccine certificates. I gather it’s all explained in a video I chose not to watch.


  47. - Chatham Resident - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 5:51 pm:

    Back on March 16, a relative of mine called me and told me to get my money out of the bank. Claiming that he heard Glenn Beck say something along the lines that the President was going to order the shutdown of all banks and the Federal Reserve. I called my local bank and they assured me that even though they were going to close the inside lobby to customers during the pandemic, the drive-thru and ATMs would remain open. But for good measure, during the first days of the State office closures I did take out a little over $1000 of loose cash out of my account to have on hand at home (I don’t like using debit cards, I don’t use credit cards or other forms of debt, nor do I like to use an ATM unless it’s a last resort).


  48. - Chatham Resident - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 5:56 pm:

    This may or may not be a myth, but a Science Alert article did claim in a March 30 article that COVID-19 has been around for years: “One of the scenarios suggests the virus may have been circulating harmlessly in human populations for quite a while before it became the pandemic that’s now stopped the world in its tracks.”

    https://www.sciencealert.com/the-new-coronavirus-could-have-been-percolating-innocently-in-humans-for-years


  49. - Narc - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 6:29 pm:

    The microchipping. Quantum dot microchipping, even. So much microchipping. That the masks will lead to mandatory vaccines that will lead to mandatory microchipping. That Bill-Gates-and-(((George-Soros))) funded vaccines will CONTAIN the microchips.


  50. - Chatham Resident - Monday, Jul 6, 20 @ 6:33 pm:

    ==The microchipping. Quantum dot microchipping, even. So much microchipping. That the masks will lead to mandatory vaccines that will lead to mandatory microchipping. That Bill-Gates-and-(((George-Soros))) funded vaccines will CONTAIN the microchips.==

    Along those lines, there’s also the “5G caused COVID-19″ myth.


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