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COVID 19 Myths Burst: What You Need to Know About Masks, Indoor Transmission, and Conspiracy Theories

CHICAGO – University of Chicago Medicine Executive Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Control Emily Landon took the time to dispel some of the most prevalent myths about COVID-19 and the pandemic as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country.

Inconsistent recommendations or data are not signs of conspiracy

Since the start of the pandemic, information on COVID-19, its effects, symptoms, transmission methods and prevention has changed consistently, prompting some to question whether the information can be trusted.

It can, Landon said, and should. There is no measurement that works in every situation, and sometimes doctors and public health experts use different measurements in different contexts to make decisions.

New data comes every day as science continues to learn, Landon said, which can lead to disagreements, but disagreements are a normal part of the scientific process.

“We change our guidance because we are learning something new,”

; she explained. “Changing advice should make you feel good about how we make progress. Disagreement is a normal part of any process and there is no right way to deal with a new pandemic. But we are all in the same boat, and we must try to row in the same direction as much as possible. “

Do not be wary of masks: they work

Landon fully admitted that some of the guidelines on masks may have been confusing to the public because doctors and scientists simply did not know in March how important they would be in limiting transmission.

“Every single study now shows that masks reduce the risk,” Landon said. “Common sense says that masks reduce the risk. Healthcare workers all get COVID when caring for patients whose masks do not prevent infection, and studies of healthcare worker antibodies show that they have only had COVID slightly more than the general population, despite having a lot. close contact with patients taking COVID. “

No mask is perfect, but Landon said there is growing evidence that if you get COVID-19 while wearing a mask, you may not get that sick. This means that wearing a mask also appears to be related to the lower levels of mortality as the pandemic progresses, according to Landon.

She also stressed the importance of mask mandates, pointing to a study in Kansas that showed counties that had mask mandates had both lower COVID-19 and lower mortality than counties that did not have mask mandates.

According to Landon, wearing a mask can reduce the severity of COVID-19 disease, and consistent use of masks is essential to prevent transmission.

She also stressed that face masks are absolutely safe, pointing out that all kinds of people – from health professionals and doctors to construction workers and artists – have had masks for long periods without complications and negative effects.

Her main point: Masks are safe and you must wear one to control the spread of COVID-19.

Autumn and winter will make COVID-19 transmission worse

Doctors and public health experts have warned that COVID-19 would return roaring in the fall and winter for several reasons related to the season itself, including temperature and air.

The humidity in humid, warm air keeps COVID-19 from spreading, Landon explained. The virus gets trapped in the droplets of moisture in the air, which weighs more and falls faster, preventing the virus from traveling as far as possible.

Cold air, on the other hand, is dry, and HVAC systems in homes and businesses are poor at creating or maintaining moisture. We know this, Landon said, through the things we typically do in the winter, like using more lotion to fight dry skin or buying humidifiers to help with the air in our homes.

The dry air leaves the COVID-19 virus hanging longer, falling later and traveling further, Landon said. This means that it can be more easily transmitted via airborne transmission.

Landon said the cold weather also causes us to stay inside our energy-efficient homes, which so effectively hold in both heat and viruses. Therefore, we are most exposed to what Landon called “Three C’s: Unmasked contact in a closed space, is crowded.

Landon said studies have found that indoor ventilation in most buildings is not enough to prevent COVID-19 transmission without masks. This is one of the reasons why bars and restaurants have a higher risk of transmission; it is not possible to eat and drink while wearing a face.

As a result, it is crucial to limit indoor gatherings, from break room whims and small book clubs to larger gatherings such as eating out or large family parties.

“I know you miss your family and your friends, and some days you probably don’t care if you get COVID,” Landon said. “But you do not care. We are all interested.”

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