Unfortunately, myths still exist about the risks and transmission of COVID-19 | News, Sports, Jobs

Unfortunately, myths still exist about the risks and transmission of COVID-19 |  News, Sports, Jobs

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

That was told to me several years ago when I was preparing for an interview. Whether my presentation went well or poorly, whether I dressed appropriately or responded with accurate or misleading information, good or bad, it is most likely a specific item or behavior that is remembered by my name.

The same goes for our first impression of COVID when it entered our lives more than two years ago.

If you recall, it was originally believed that only the older adult was at risk of contracting the potentially deadly virus. That population was at risk because they were believed to be the most affected with underlying conditions that would make them vulnerable to infection.

Initially, young adults and children were thought to be exempt from contracting COVID.

My goodness, how times have changed…

Within a few months we learned that COVID did not spare any age group. not only the “unaffected” young adult, but children also contracted the virus, and due to the delay or lack of COVID symptoms, they often perpetuated the spread of COVID.

We learned that whether or not you were an older adult, you were at higher risk if you had underlying conditions, such as diabetes, heart or respiratory conditions, or were immunocompromised, and that obesity was a contributing factor.

Unfortunately, misinformation and misunderstandings about how life-threatening and extremely contagious the original and later variants of COVID are continue to help the virus thrive.

It was a year ago in August that a relative, suspected of the vaccine, contracted COVID. This was just a day or two before the FDA announced that the vaccine was safe, which I thought would be the turning point for him to take the vaccine. Luckily for him, he was able to receive the monoclonal antibody infusion that lessened his symptoms.

Fast forward almost a year to that day.

Through the family vine I was informed that the previously infected family member’s child has contracted COVID. He believed that he had picked it up at the gym. Like his father, he was also against vaccinations, but he felt that he did not need to be careful because he believed “Only older people who have other health problems get COVID.”

A year and a half after COVID changed our lives, I was hearing misinformation that I thought had been put to rest for too long. However, here was a smart but “selective in its sources of information” boy still believing that first impression.

As a member of a very active COVID prevention education and awareness committee, it was a rude awakening to discover that a belief generated in the early days of COVID was still being perpetuated. How anyone could take such a restricted view of COVID when hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds have died made me question their sources. Perhaps believing his age was a COVID safe zone, he allowed himself the “normal” the life many of us yearn for. And in doing so, ignorance of the facts is not always bliss.

Because wait, there’s more…

The young man also shared that you can only get COVID once, that you have more than 99% chance of not getting COVID again because the antibodies stay with you.

His father blew up that theory when, a week after his son’s infection, Dad contracted COVID a second time, this time from his son.

However, both father and son remain unwilling to receive the vaccine.

For many, social networks have become the main source of information on current events. Social networks tell us what we want to hear, often leading to links that reinforce specific topics. It is important that information, especially life-saving information such as facts about COVID, is obtained from trusted sources.

For those of you reading this article, consider this information generated from lessons learned.

We know that COVID is much worse than the flu. If you have ever had the flu or if you have had a flu shot it does not make you immune to COVID. Your best defense is to get your COVID shots and boosters.

Live in rural areas, have few neighbors or visitors, or “does not go anywhere” it does not prevent you from getting COVID. Simply running errands in everyday life can expose you to the virus.

Is it COVID? Breast? allergies? The flu? A cold?

All of these conditions share symptoms. Take a test. If you test positive, contact your health care provider.

Hanging out with vulnerable people or people you don’t know? Wear a mask.

You can have COVID and not have symptoms; it is estimated that half of people infected with COVID do not know they have it.

Vax. Proof. Mask when appropriate. Take care.

Chris Smith of Muncy was a traffic safety/preventive education specialist for over 35 years and is a member of Let’s End COVID!, a group of people in Northcentral PA working to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic through education, disclosure and mitigation.

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