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More myths and facts about the coronavirus

A gloved hand holds a model of the coronavirus.

Scientists are learning more about the coronavirus every day, but there's still a lot we don't know. And it's easy in the meantime for some false ideas to take on a life of their own.

To help set the record straight, here are a few myths about COVID-19 you may have heard, along with facts from the World Health Organization and other experts.

Myth: 5G mobile networks are spreading the virus.

Fact: Viruses cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks. Keep in mind: The coronavirus is spreading all over the world, including in countries that don't have 5G.

The coronavirus spreads from person to person, mainly through droplets we breathe out when we cough, sneeze or talk. It may also be possible to get infected by touching a surface on which a droplet has landed and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Myth: Wearing a face mask will cause low oxygen levels.

Fact: Wearing a face mask may be a little uncomfortable, but it's not going to keep you from getting enough oxygen. People who work in hospitals often wear face masks all day with no effect on their oxygen levels.

You should change your face mask if it gets wet or damp. That can make it harder to breathe through. Otherwise, just make sure it fits tightly on your face—and breathe normally.

If you have a lung condition and find it hard to wear a mask, talk to your doctor about your options.

Myth: You're probably tracking the coronavirus into your home on your shoes.

Fact: The chances that the coronavirus is being spread by shoes is very low. While the virus can survive on surfaces, that isn't thought to be the main way it spreads.

If you're concerned, however, you can leave your shoes at the entrance to your home. That way you won't track anything that's on the bottom of your shoes into your home, where little ones might touch the floors and then their faces.

Myth: Sunbathing or being in hot temperatures will protect you from COVID-19.

Fact: Sunlight and hot temperatures will not kill or cure the virus. It is spreading all over the world in a variety of climates, including hot ones. And overexposing yourself to heat or sun could be unsafe.

Instead, learn the best ways to protect yourself from the virus.

For more facts about COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus health topic center.

Reviewed 10/6/2020

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