Employers can help stop the spread of coronavirus misinformation

Employers can help stop the spread of coronavirus misinformation

The majority of working-age Americans—61%—receive health insurance through their employers.1 As such, many working-age Americans also turn to their employers for reliable information on how to navigate the healthcare system.

During this time, as information about the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) is rapidly changing, many adults are looking to their employers for accurate information about the pandemic and how to keep themselves safe. Below are common myths about COVID-19, along with their factual counterparts, that you can share with your employees.

  • Myth #1: Vaccines against pneumonia caused by bacteria and the “flu” (influenza virus) protect you against COVID-19.
    • Vaccines for the flu or pneumonia do not provide protection for COVID-19. This virus is new (novel). There currently is no licensed vaccine for COVID-19. Vaccines for the pneumonia or flu, however, are still highly recommended by the World Health Organization and other public health institutions as they are effective in preventing other respiratory illnesses.2
  • Myth #2: Only older people can get COVID-19.
    • Individuals of all ages can be infected by COVID-19. While there have been fewer reports of children having the disease, everyone is susceptible and should take precautionary measures. The disease appears to be more severe for elderly people, immunosuppressed individuals, and individuals with pre-existing conditions (eg diabetes, heart disease, asthma, etc).2
  • Myth #3: A face mask will protect someone from getting COVID-19.
    • Most disposable face masks are not completely effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, as they are loose-fitting and virus particles can escape from the mask. Public health organizations do not recommend that healthy people wear face masks.3
  • Myth #4: COVID-19 can only infect individuals of a certain race or ethnicity.
    • Stigma is spread by the lack of knowledge about how the virus spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 can infect all individuals. Anxiety about the spread of disease can lead to social stigma towards certain groups of people. However, stigma creates more fear instead of promoting factual information.4
  • Myth #5: If someone tests negative for COVID-19, they do not have the virus.
    • It is possible for someone to test negative and still have the virus. A negative COVID-19 test means that the virus was not found in the individual’s sample at the time it was taken. If the virus is in the early stages, it may not be detected by testing. However, according to the CDC, if someone tests negative while they have symptoms, this likely means that their condition is not caused by COVID-19.4 Patients who are suspected of COVID-19 infection who have a negative test result may have an additional sample collected and tested for the presence of the virus at a later time at the request of their clinician.

To stay up-to-date on COVID-19 information from Quest Diagnostics, visit https://www.questdiagnostics.com/home/Covid-19/.


  1. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employer-sponsored coverage rates for the nonelderly by age. 2020. Accessed March 20, 2020.
  2. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: myth busters. 2020. Accessed March 20, 2020. 
  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Corona virus disease 2019: myth v. fact. 2020. Accessed March 20, 2020. 
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus disease 2019: myth vs. fact. March 19, 2020. Accessed March 20, 2020. 

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