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Eight Persistent COVID-19 Myths and Why People Believe Them

○ 1 The virus was engineered in a laboratory in China.

Because the pathogen first emerged in Wuhan, China, President Donald Trump and others have claimed, without evidence, that it started in a lab there, and some conspiracy theorists believe it was engineered as a bioweapon.

Why It’s False: U.S. intelligence agencies have categorically denied the possibility that the virus was engineered in a lab, stating that “the Intelligence Community … concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.” Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli—who studies bat coronaviruses and whose lab Trump and others have suggested was the source of COVID-19—compared the pathogen’s sequence with those of other coronaviruses her team had sampled from bat caves and found that it did not match any of them. In response to calls for an independent, international investigation into how the virus originated, China has invited researchers from the World Health Organization to discuss the scope of such a mission.

Why People Believe It: People want a scapegoat for the immense suffering and economic fallout caused by COVID-19, and China—a foreign country and a competitor of the U.S.—is an easy target. Accidental lab releases of pathogens do sometimes occur, and although many scientists say this possibility is unlikely, it provides just enough legitimacy to support a narrative in which China intentionally engineered the virus to unleash it on the world.

○ 2 COVID-19 is no worse than the flu.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has lied about the disease’s severity, saying it is no more dangerous than seasonal influenza. Trump himself admitted to journalist and author Bob Woodward in recorded interviews in early February and late March that he knew COVID-19 was more deadly than the flu and that he wanted to play down its severity.

Why It’s False: The precise infection fatality rate of COVID-19 is hard to measure, but epidemiologists suspect that it is far higher than that of the flu—somewhere between 0.5 and 1 percent, compared with 0.1 percent for influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the latter causes roughly 12,000 to 61,000 deaths per year in the U.S. In contrast, COVID-19 had caused 200,000 deaths in the country as of mid-September. Many people also have partial immunity to the flu because of vaccination or prior infection, whereas most of the world has not yet encountered COVID-19. So no, coronavirus is not “just the flu.”

Why People Believe It: Their leaders keep saying it. In addition to his repeated false claims that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu, Trump has also said—falsely—that the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 are exaggerated. In fact, reported deaths from COVID-19 are likely an undercount.

○ 3 You don’t need to wear a mask.

Despite a strong consensus among public health authorities that masks limit transmission of coronavirus, many people (the president included) have refused to wear one. Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp went so far as to sign an executive order banning

Dentist dispels common MYTHS that may be putting you off going fora check-up

  • Dr Safa Al-Naher works at Care Dental Platinum in Hammersmith, West London 
  • Expert has debunked common misconceptions about dentists and treatment
  • Seen increase in problems linked to teeth grinding in patients amid pandemic
  • Includes fractured and broken teeth, jaw pain, muscle pain, and headaches

One of the most common reasons people fear the dentist is from horror stories that have spread through the gripe vine.

Dentist Dr Safa Al-Naher, who works at The Care Dental Practice and Care Dental Platinum in Hammersmith, West London, which specialises in the treatment of nervous patients, has debunked several myths that may be putting you off booking a check-up. 

Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, Dr Safa, who provides treatments as well as facial aesthetics to those who normally struggle with fear, has explained why going to the dentist shouldn’t be ‘scary’ – adding that the professionals are not ‘money grabbers’ – despite what people may think. 

The expert has also offered her top tips to overcome fears of going to the dentist – including seeing a therapist to help you talk through your phobias or trying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Dentist Dr Safa Al-Naher, who works at The Care Dental Practice and Care Dental Platinum in Hammersmith, West London, has debunked common misconceptions about dentists and treatment. Pictured, stock image

1. GOING TO THE DENTIST IS SCARY

This is a completely understandable fear that many people have, and most of the time dental anxiety and phobias are a result of a particularly bad past experience. 

Dentists know this and are highly trained in the psychology of dental phobias, how to spot them, and how to manage them. 

Dentists receive experience in sedation and the management of nervous patients during their university training. 

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No two dental phobias are the same, and they range in severity, triggers and experiences. 

Most people are afraid of pain, but other reasons for being afraid of the dentist include the feeling of loss of control, the fear of being told off and the various sounds and smells inside a dental practice. 

Making an appointment and turning up is often the first step and usually an in-depth discussion takes place about what your problems are, what you would like to achieve and whether they are able to help you or need to refer you to someone who can.  

2. PATIENT CAN’T GET OVER BAD EXPERIENCE THEY HAD AS A CHILD 

This is the most common cause of dental phobias that we treat. As a child you don’t understand strange situations and cannot rationalise that sometimes it is necessary to experience pain for the greater good, so you develop an irrational fear of certain aspects of visiting the dentist. 

There are many ways this can be addressed. The simplest way is by many small visits and discussions about your fears, and slowly becoming more familiar and comfortable with the dental environment and treatment. 

Dr Safa Al-Naher (pictured), is a Dentist and Facial Aesthetics Practitioner and Trainer, and