Facts and information about the coronavirus pandemic are constantly changing. Visit the CDC site for the most up-to-date information during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Changes in information about COVID-19 may lead to doubt for some people. Why did the CDC say that people shouldn’t wear masks initially, but now they recommend that everyone wear a mask in public? Why are new symptoms coming up in the news? How come calculations of death rates seem to change? New ideas and information can make people feel uncertain — but new COVID-19 information is a good thing.
There is always a learning curve when dealing with new things. As we learn more about SARS-CoV-2 through experience and research, we can improve how we respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Doctors, researchers, and health experts continue to learn new things about COVID-19 and coronavirus. Be responsive and seek health information from reliable sources.New information about coronavirus and COVID-19 doesn't discredit previous information; it helps us improve our response to the pandemic. Click To Tweet
New information doesn’t discredit health experts
SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, is a new virus, and we don’t know everything that there is to know about it yet. Many diseases have been around for decades or centuries, and experts have large amounts of information to rely on. With a new disease, new data becomes available frequently, but there is less long-term information to work with.
Public health experts provide the most accurate information that is available, and sometimes this information is corrected or improved upon.
Changes in information about COVID-19 don’t mean that health experts were providing false information. It means that we are learning more about the virus, and we are getting better equipped to keep our communities safe during the pandemic.
Changes in COVID-19 information
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people not to wear a face mask unless they were sick. This was because personal protective equipment needed to be reserved for medical professionals.
We’ve since learned that a significant number of people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms, and large numbers of asymptomatic and presymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2 could increase transmission in communities. Wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when social distancing is not possible.
Some research now suggests that masks could also provide some level of protection from coronavirus, but the main reason to wear a mask is to prevent spreading the virus if you unknowingly have it.
Even though reusable cloth face coverings are now recommended by the CDC — and some states require masks, including Arkansas — it is still recommended that N95 respirators and surgical masks be reserved for medical professionals.
There was also initial concern about coronavirus remaining active on surfaces, which could potentially lead to infection.
Research has since shown that while this type of transmission is possible, it is not the main way COVID-19 spreads. Coronavirus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets and close contact between people.
However, it’s still recommended that you frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and frequently disinfect surfaces.
Listen to new information and get the facts
SARS-CoV-2 is new and we don’t know everything there is to know about it yet.
Here’s what we do know:
- COVID-19 is highly infectious and we do not have a vaccine.
- The best way to prevent COVID-19 is by avoiding contact with the virus.
- Wearing a face mask properly helps contain respiratory droplets that carry coronavirus; this helps prevent spreading the virus to others.
- Close contact with others increases the risk of spreading illness.
- Maintaining physical distance between yourself and others reduces the risk of spreading coronavirus and COVID-19.
- Washing your hands properly and frequently helps prevent illness.
There is still much to learn, however.
We still don’t know the long-term effects of COVID-19, or if the disease could lead to complications later in life. We’re still learning about how the virus affects people of different ages and people with different health conditions. We don’t know exactly what type of immunity people have after recovering from COVID-19.
We are dealing with a new virus, and we are learning as we go. There is always a learning curve when dealing with new things. We have to be flexible and make adjustments as necessary.
Be flexible, and get your information from reliable health sources.