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Fact checking common COVID-19 misconceptions

Will the summer heat stop COVID-19? Is it worse than the flu? Is the spike in cases easily explained by more tests? We verify these common claims.

FORT WORTH, Texas — As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, the level at which some people take it seriously continues to drop.  As part of our Verify commitment to help educate you on what’s true and what isn’t, we’re fact checking three common claims about COVID-19.

Claim 1: “We’re only seeing more cases because more people are getting tested.”

More tests will reveal more cases, but all over Texas, data shows a bigger percentage of those tests is coming back positive.

“We’re very concerned,” said Vinny Taneja, director of Tarrant County Public Health. 

The department saw the percentage of positive cases almost double in three weeks.

On June 1, the department reported the percent of positive COVID-19 tests was 10%. On June 21, the latest date for which results were available at the time this article was published, positive results accounted for 20% of COVID-19 tests in Tarrant County.

“There are actually more people out there getting the disease,” Taneja said.

Claim 2: “The summer heat will kill the virus.”

While some researchers believe warm, humid weather might slow transmission, the CDC says there’s just not enough research yet to know for sure.

COVID-19 has already spread significantly in summer months. In the southern hemisphere, summer runs from December until around late February because of the axis and orbit of the earth around the sun. 

Warmer weather in the summer months did not stop the spread of COVID-19 in those regions.

Claim 3: “The flu kills tens of thousands every year so we shouldn't make a big deal about COVID-19.”

While researchers are still learning more about the overall impact, it appears COVID-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu.

The CDC estimates there were 35.5 million cases and 34,200 deaths in the 2018-2019 flu season.

The United States has seen 2.3 million confirmed cases and more than 121,000 deaths.  With far fewer cases, COVID-19 has killed closer to four times as many Americans, despite strict stay-at-home orders.

“What else proof do you need,” Taneja said. “COVID-19 is here in our community and we all need to be taking precautions."

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