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Cut through coronavirus rumors and separate facts from fiction.

With all the rumors circulating, it’s important to stay in the know as understanding prevention and treatment are our greatest tools in combating a new strain of coronavirus that is causing coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19).

Stopping misinformation can help stop the spread of the virus. Here are 6 facts to share with friends and family and some rumors you can help dispel.

Rumor: Garlic and other foods can prevent or cure coronavirus.

Fact: While there are some foods known to naturally give the immune system a much-needed boost, especially during the winter months, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that none of them will prevent coronavirus infection — or cure it.

Rumor: Eating or drinking certain products causes the virus.

Fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s no evidence to suggest that this disease is being transmitted through consuming anything specific. This includes ordering from your favorite takeout restaurant.

Rumor: Masks protect you against the virus.

Fact: Masks are not effective protection against COVID-19 while walking around in public. According to the CDC, masks are designed to be worn by a person with COVID-19 symptoms, so they don’t spread the virus to healthy people.

The only time the CDC recommends that a healthy person wear a mask is if they are taking care of someone who is sick and can’t wear a mask because it’s hard for them to breathe.

Rumor: The incubation period for COVID-19 is the same as the flu.

Fact: The incubation period for coronavirus is between 1 and 14 days after exposure, with the average being 5 days before symptoms start. The average incubation period for the flu is 1 to 4 days.

Rumor: A vaccine has been discovered and will soon be revealed to the public.

Fact: According to the WHO, possible vaccines are in development, but there’s no vaccine currently available.

Rumor: You can give coronavirus to your pets and they can give it to you.

Fact: The CDC explains that there’s no evidence of household pets passing the virus. The WHO agrees, and adds that there was one case of a human passing the virus to a dog in Hong Kong. However, there’s no evidence that this dog or any dog has transmitted COVID-19 to people.

If you or someone you care for is feeling sick, experiencing fever, having difficulty breathing, showing signs of respiratory illness or symptoms of coronavirus, the best thing to do is call your doctor or our dedicated 24/7 hotline at 570-284-3657, which is staffed by nurses who have all the latest information and can tell you anything you need to know.

We ask that you do this before heading to the ER or seeking care at your doctor’s office, unless your symptoms worsen, and you have no other options for care. The ER is a crowded place, and the risk of infection to you and others is higher there.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) websites.

Next steps:
Read our coronavirus FAQ page
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COVID-19 updates: Visit Geisinger's Coronavirus Resource Center for the latest information and helpful resources.