With all the information circulating about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it’s important we separate myths from reality.

Employer Solutions, Coronavirus Updates | 2 months ago

4 Myths About COVID-19, Debunked

With all the information circulating about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it’s important we separate myths from reality. That’s why we pulled in Atrium Health’s director of infection prevention, Dr. Katie Passaretti, to shed some light on COVID-19 truths.

While we’re learning more about COVID-19 each day, there are still several unknowns surrounding the virus and how it spreads. This makes paying attention to the facts we do know extremely important.

To help, we pulled in our director of infection prevention, Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director of infection prevention at Atrium Health, to dispel myths about COVID-19. We hope this will guide you in taking the necessary precautions to keep yourself, your loved ones and employees safe.

Below are 4 myths about the virus that Passaretti settled for us.

Myth #1: People with Type O blood type can’t get COVID-19.

This idea surfaced after a recent report was published in medRxiv analyzing the data of almost 2,000 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Italy and Spain. According to the report, those with Type A blood were at increased risk for respiratory failure, while those with Type O blood were less likely to have these complications.

“While these findings are interesting, we need more data to back them up. It’s also too early to tell whether these stats are conclusive,” says Passaretti. “At Atrium Health and across the country, patients of all blood types have tested positive for COVID-19. It’s important to note that even those with Type O blood can still become critically sick from COVID-19.”

Myth #2: Asymptomatic people can’t spread COVID-19.

While Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical lead for COVID-19, said asymptomatic transmission (or spreading the virus without symptoms) is “extremely rare,” it’s still possible. According to Passaretti, when a person catches COVID-19 or any other virus, their viral load (the amount of the virus in their blood) builds up and peaks at the onset of symptoms. This means someone could have COVID-19 and spread it unknowingly as the virus builds up in their system.

Passaretti shares that we have seen the virus spread via asymptomatic patients, especially when confined in close quarters. As an employer, it’s best to advise all staff members, especially those frequently within 6 feet of others, to wear a mask.

Myth #3: The COVID-19 fatality rate is too low to worry about.

As more patients are being tested, the virus mortality rate is lower than once predicted. And, as an unfortunate result, many are now neglecting the use of masks.

According to Passaretti, however, we shouldn’t put our guard down. As of now, around 20% of people who contract COVID-19 experience severe symptoms and 5% wind up needing care from an ICU.

“Even if the virus mortality rate is only 1%, a small mortality rate across a large population makes for a large number of people at risk,” says Passaretti. “We must remain vigilant in these uncertain times. We should wash our hands, wear masks, social distance and stay home when we’re sick as if lives depend on it. Because they do.”

Myth #4: Kids are immune to COVID-19.

While we are still learning the mechanisms of child virus transmission, one thing we know is that kids can and do contract COVID-19. In fact, we are currently seeing an increase in pediatric cases.


As our communities reopen, COVID-19 cases are subject to rise. Please encourage your employees to continue wearing masks and practice proper hand hygiene and social distancing guidelines. And as we move into the next phase of this pandemic, remember that it’s important to get the facts from a reliable source. For more information and guidance on COVID-19, visit AtriumHealth.org/Coronavirus.