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Local doctor addresses myths about Coronavirus amidst widespread concern

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DULUTH, MN -- Widespread concern about coronavirus is causing a lot of conversation - some facts, and some fiction.

Dr. Andrew Thompson, an infectious disease physician with St. Luke's in Duluth, said the biggest myth is that everyone needs to wear a mask.

"Masks aren't going to protect anyone unless they have very close contact with someone who's ill. Most of the people who will be doing that are healthcare workers," Thompson said. "They also need to be used appropriately - put on and taken off appropriately - or you can get sick from whatever else you've touched."

Another misconception is that there is an at-home cure or intervention, like certain supplements, bleach, or alcohol.

"There's no intervention - except for common sense ones - to protect yourself from coronavirus. Common sense ones being don't touch your face, wash your hands, maybe stay away from large gatherings if there's widespread disease activity," Thompson said.

Another myth making rounds - according to CNN, a survey last month showed 38% of Americans said they would not buy Corona beer because of the outbreak. Of course, Corona beer has nothing to do with Coronavirus.

What is true is that coronavirus an infectious, contagious respiratory disease.

Symptoms are similar to the flu, and while there are far fewer cases, Dr. Thompson said as of now it's much more deadly.

"The World Health Organization reported that there is a 3.4% case mortality rate, which is very high. it's much higher than the flu, which is 0.1%," Thompson said.

We also know for sure that we can take our own preventative measures to stay healthy.

"The most important thing that's in our control is to practice good hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene. If you're sick, stay home," Thompson said.

Dr. Thompson said health officials in our area are working hard to stay on top of the disease.

He said St. Luke's may be developing plans for patients with respiratory illness to be treated in a certain part of the clinic, so if you have symptoms that you are concerned about, Dr. Thompson said to make sure you call ahead.

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Dr. Andrew Thompson

Jenna Wells

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