Coronavirus: “I’m young and healthy, so i’m not worried” – one of seven myths that have led to the sudden increase in covid-19 casualties

With the lifting of lockdowns and other restrictions all over the world, it is easy to fall into a false sense of security from the coronavirus.

In Ghana, the lifting of lockdown and gradual easing of restrictions meant re-associating with people while still observing certain safety protocols.

However, many have let their guard down because of the spread of certain misconceptions. This article addresses 7 of these myths and why we should correct our viewpoint on them.

1. If the economy is open, the pandemic is getting better, right?

No, not really. “This is not even close to being over,” the head of the World Health Organization said. Recent weeks have seen a sharp increase in cases of covid-19 in Ghana.

Among the events that have contributed to this increase in cases is the gatherings in homes and other locations for events such as funerals, weddings, get togethers, church services, work related activities and even schooling.

It will be many months before a Covid-19 vaccine might be publicly available — if one becomes effective and available at all. There’s also no cure for the novel coronavirus at the moment. So the only way to control this deadly pandemic is through personal behavior — like staying 6 feet away from others, including in social settings, and wearing a face mask. It is important that we all make it our responsibility to follow protocols and encourage other to do so too in order to slow the transmission of Covid-19.

2. I’m young and healthy, so I’m not worried

While the death rate is significantly lower among young adults, there has been a rise in infection of youths worldwide, and many are struggling with long-term effects from the disease.

There many reports of youths who after attending parties and the likes got infected with the disease. As at now, some students in some educational institutions that recently opened in Ghana such as Accra girls and Wesley SHS have contracted the virus.

In the USA, a New Jersey physician Dr. Jen Caudle said she’s seen young patients suffer serious or long-term complications from Covid-19 — including strokes, shortness of breath, fatigue, or the inability to smell and taste long after recovering from the virus.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, 28, was the first NBA player to report testing positive for Covid-19 back in March. Three months later, he still hasn’t fully recovered, Gobert told the French sports publication L’Equipe. Days before his diagnosis, Gobert had made light of the pandemic when he jokingly touched every microphone during a news conference. He later publicly apologized and urged the public to not fall into a false sense of security like he did.

3. We’re checking the temperatures of all employees / customers / party guests

While these temperature checks are good, it is important to note that temperature screenings won’t catch asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers of coronavirus, who don’t feel sick but are still contagious. An estimated 40% of coronavirus transmissions happen without any symptoms, according to the CDC. Even those who do have symptoms might not have a fever. In fact, many older adults — the age group most likely to suffer severe complications from Covid-19 — don’t get a fever at all.

4. I don’t need to wear a mask

“As economies open up more, masks become more important, not less important,” said Jeremy Howard, a research scientist at the University of San Francisco.

Despite the awareness raised and the many warnings given, some people still fail to wear masks. In one of his recent state of the nation addresses, the president of Ghana legalized the wearing of facemasks. The police have been given the mandate to arrest and sanction those who refuse to wear them and we have heard reports of such people being sanctioned. But at many marketplaces such as Madina and Accra, many sellers and buyers still refuse to wear them.

People give all sorts of reasons for not wearing them, some of which are very unreasonable. Some feel that face coverings infringe on their freedom of choice. It is important to keep in mind however, that face coverings lead to less asymptomatic viral spread which will eventually lead to more places being open sooner.

5. The rate of deaths is decreasing, so things are getting better, right?

Ghana recently reported its highest number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths in a single day. With medical facilities running out of testing kits too, it will be hard to test many and treat them.

Despite the fact that the rate of coronavirus deaths in Ghana is steadily decreasing at the moment, it is impossible to predict what it will be like in the coming weeks with the lack of enough testing kits. This makes it impossible to give an adequate assertion of the total number of people infected. Not forgetting the asymptomatic patients who may be transmitting the virus without even knowing, it is just best that we all follow laid down protocols and take action to protect ourselves and prevent the further spread of the virus.

6. I’ve already tested negative, so I’m fine

That is not an excuse to stop taking precautions. “Sometimes there are false negatives, which means you have the disease but the test doesn’t detect it,” according to Penn Medicine.

“Because it is possible to get a negative result even when you have coronavirus, it is important to be careful even when you receive a negative result.” That being said, even if a negative test result is correct at the time of testing, it is possible to contract the virus later after that test was taken.

7. Maybe we should just let nature take its course and get herd immunity

Herd immunity generally happens when 70% to 90% of a population becomes immune to an infectious disease — either because people have been infected and recovered, or because they’ve been vaccinated.

This is however not a good idea because some intensive care units are already at or near capacity. Even if you get coronavirus but don’t get very sick, this virus is highly contagious — and you could infect others who will need hospitalization. And that could reduce care for anyone else who needs it — such as victims of serious accidents or people suffering from heart attacks.

The other problem with waiting for herd immunity is that, this virus is so new, no one knows whether antibodies developed after recovering from the virus will provide any long-term immunity. But the CDC director said everyone can help stop this deadly pandemic. It just takes personal responsibility.”We have powerful tools at our disposal — social distancing, wear a face cover in public, and be disciplined about the frequent hand washing,” Redfield said. “We are not defenseless against this disease.”

Adapted from: CNN

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Semih Durmuş