Coronavirus in US: Health officials work to separate fact from fiction

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Rumors about the novel coronavirus are spreading almost as quickly as the illness itself, from fake cures to how the virus itself can be caught.

“Things like eating garlic, eating sesame oil, stuff like that. First of all, there’s no reason to believe any of those activities would prevent the spread of this virus,” Sacramento County Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson said.

It also doesn’t spread through the mail, he said.

Dr. Beilenson is working to separate fact from fiction, so FOX40 took your questions to him:

Do people need to be really worried about coronavirus right now?
“It’s vastly, vastly more important to protect yourself against the flu, the regular, everyday flu, than against this novel coronavirus. There are 25 million cases of the flu in the United States and 10,000 deaths.”

So far in the U.S., there have been just 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus and no deaths.

Did the vaccine I already took cover it?
“The vaccine against the flu does not protect against the coronavirus but it’s still very important to get the flu vaccine.”

So far, there is no cure for the new coronavirus -- only treating the symptoms as they come. But scientists are working quickly to develop a vaccine.

A rumor I did hear is that Lysol cures coronavirus.
“There are a lot of types of coronavirus. In fact, the common cold is caused by a coronavirus. Not to get scared, because we are talking about a novel, a new coronavirus coming out of China. My guess is that actually that Lysol, since it works on coronaviruses, would work on this one as well.”

For now, Beilenson says the threat in the U.S. is relatively low. His best advice is to wash your hands and continue to take the normal steps to keep yourself healthy.

You may have also seen people walking around with paper masks on. Beilenson says they actually won’t do much to protect you from the coronavirus.

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