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'Up Front Explores Popular Myths and Facts About COVID-19 in Conversation with Atrium Health Doctors

Dec 11, 2020 10:48AM ● By Jason Huddle

With all the information on social media and in the news regarding COVID-19, it is difficult to know what is true and what is myth. This week, we include you in our conversation with two respected doctors from Atrium Health who deal with this terrible virus everyday, Dr.'s Katie Passaretti and Mindy Sampson. They help us get through some of the misinformation regarding how you can contract the virus, what can be done to prevent it, as well as some questions regarding testing as well!


Jason Huddle  00:00

With all the information about COVID-19 being thrown out there, it's almost impossible to know what's true and what's not.


Dr. Mindy Sampson  00:07

You know,often, one physician can't, you know, spread the truth as much as society of all of us that are that represent our, our beliefs. So the idea say,you know, we always look towards the CDC for our guidance, the AMA, everywhere, all of our major medical societies are really kind of grouping together and saying, hey, this is the truth. And this is what we want to make sure that the public knows so that they can make good decisions moving forward.


Jason Huddle  00:32

We have the opportunity to sit in on a conversation with two doctors from atrium health in order to quell some of the myths and urban legends we've all heard through social media along with some dire warnings about the coming months.


Dr. Katie Passaretti  00:46

The next couple of months have the potential to be very scary and health care incited, like this is on us to change the trajectory we're on right now.


Jason Huddle  00:54

Join us for this important conversation in our special factor or fiction COVID-19 edition of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine, a presentation of CabCo Media Group sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Reality, New Hope Worship Center, and Walk Cabarrus, I'm your host, Jason Huddle. Hello my friends, and welcome to another edition of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine, Episode Number 86. But a very unique one in that this is going to be a different format than what you may have been used to if you are a regular listener of this show, we got an invitation to be a part of a conversation with some doctors from Atrium Health for the specific purpose of addressing common myths and misinformation that we've heard about COVID-19. Now, if you are listener of this show, you know that I have my own doubts. Not to say that I do not believe in COVID-19 or that I don't think it's real. I'm not saying that at all. But over the course of the past nine months or so I've developed some very real concerns as to the accuracy of the information that we're receiving. That having been said, I do respect the doctors that we talked to today. And I also respect atrium health as an organization. So I trust the information that is coming from them. And I wanted to preface this entire episode by saying that right off the bat, the doctors that you're going to hear from our Dr. Katie Passaretti, and Dr. Mindy Sampson, they are both experts. They deal with COVID-19 every single day. Also, you're going to hear a moderator, that is Kate Gaier. She is with atrium health. And she's kind of moderating the conversation. So it won't be me. Although I do pop up with a question. And towards the end, it will not be me that is guiding the conversation. However, because of the information that they expressed, and the things that they addressed. I wanted to make sure that you guys got this information. I think it's important that we keep our perspective no matter where you fall on the COVID-19 spectrum, whether you think it is a deadly disease that must be avoided at all cost, or if you think it is something that's out there, and we need to just live our lives and cross our fingers. Wherever you fall in that spectrum. This is valuable information for you. It is a long conversation. So I am not going to do shameless plug time. I'm simply going to cut to my first break when we come back. We will start the conversation with atrium health factor fiction COVID-19 addition, it's coming up next.


Commercial  01:51



Kate Gaier  04:35

So I don't know about all of you, but I know I'm getting a lot of packages in my porch recently, especially as the holidays are approaching and one of the myths that we've heard from the beginning and it continues to really be relevant is can I get COVID on my package. It's coming from a certain place or even within the actual item that's inside the box Dr. Passaretti do you want to answer that one for us?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  05:06

Sure. So the primary spread of COVID is really respiratory right. So it's being in close proximity to someone that think that did their breathing, coughing, sneezing, and your general area, those, the way the virus enters the body is through your mucous membrane, so your mouth, your nose, and your eyes. So the only way kind of a contaminated surface, a contaminated box or contaminated package can really cause infection is if you touch it, there's a lot of virus on it, you pick it up on your hands, and then you touch your face. So you know, I really don't think you need to do anything in particular, as far as packages, especially, you know, targeting coming from certain locations or anything like that. But what I do want to reinforce with people, is the importance of washing your hands regularly. So that's how you protect yourself, wash your hands regularly, you never know what you're touching, you know, money's disgusting gas nozzles are just, you know, there's a lot of contamination out there beyond COVID. And you should wash your hands regularly. But that's going to get you your biggest bang for the buck rather than quarantine packages, or, you know, wiping off all your raw chicken you get from the grocery store and whatnot.


Kate Gaier  06:18

Some good advice. So what I think I've heard is you've given me permission to continue shopping. So thank you.


Dr. Katie Passaretti  06:24

That's what I follow as far as the shopping front so.


Kate Gaier  06:27

Excellent, so speaking of bringing things from the outside in another myth is that you can carry it on your clothes, or that it can come in at the bottom of your shoes. Dr. Sampson, do you want to take that one?


Dr. Mindy Sampson  06:39

Yeah, I think, you know, this kind of somewhat doctor has already just emphasized that we really think you know, from contact, the the main way of getting into it being coming infected with it is touching your face and touching those, those those areas that may be contaminated, and then re touching your face. So remembering the basics, I think is still important with hand hygiene, and in order to prevent spread. But I think that, you know, the the concept of bringing things into the house, on your shoes or on your clothing is still something people worry about. And if you know, taking your shoes off at the doorway is a way to be extra precautious. But I think going back to the hand hygiene, and those regular basics is most important.


Kate Gaier  07:26

So speaking of going outside, another myth is if I'm outside, I can't get it. If I'm outside, I don't need to wear a mask. If I'm outside, as long as I'm six feet away from everyone else, I'm good to go. I'm going to throw that to both of you. I would love your answers there.


Dr. Katie Passaretti  07:43

Yeah, so this is bit and I'll start Mindy  or Dr. Sampson, and you can add on. Um, you know, this has been a big challenge all along. I think the guidance that's out there as far as prevention is how to minimize risk. So you minimize risk by staying more than six feet apart, you minimize risk by wearing a mask, and you know, layering all these things together that swiss cheese model. So the holes all align and you get protection is very, very important. But none of them are absolute right? Especially, you know, people that don't have a great sense of what six feet actually is, as far as gifts. And so, you know, really, the message needs to be rather inside or outside, you know, group gatherings are intended to cause socialization, right, it's hard to truly keep six feet apart for people outside of the same household, that mass really need to be worn all the time, unless you're very clearly far away from all individuals when you're out in public and keep coming back to that rather than saying, okay, I can have this outside gathering, if I say I'm gonna stay six feet apart. And but yet everyone's drinking, and we're all kind of intending to socialize.


Kate Gaier  08:52

So before we go into our next myth, I'd love to get both of your opinions on as we're going through these packages, the bottom of issues. How do these myths start? And because you had mentioned, you know, when we spoke before capacity that there is a little bit of basis in some of how these have begun. What is your your thought on how these myths are beginning and why they're kind of generating so much fuel behind them?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  09:16

Yeah, I mean, none of them are wrong, right? There is the rare case where, you know, contamination on a surface can lead to infection, if you know, it's just very, very minimal. And I think we default to what we want to hear to some extent, right, like, Oh, I can focus on cleaning stuff, then I don't have to wear my mask, like I, you know, talk to people that have a group gathering. They're like, but I wiped everything down. So no one was touching the same thing. And everyone had their individual little stations. I'm like, Yeah, but you were inside, right? And were you wearing a mask, but they're like, Well, no, we kind of default to what allows us to do the behaviors we want to do. And you know that that gets to be a slippery slope with COVID. Unfortunately, as much as you know, I hate as much as anyone all the restrictions that are in place. Presented anything you want to add to that?


Dr. Mindy Sampson  10:02

Yeah, and I think all these myths started with, you know, like, like we said, a bit of truth, that guy, you know, exaggerated or emphasized and, and has kind of spiraled, so yes, we know that, you know thing you can have a phone, Midori say a thing that will transmit infections, and we focus on that a ton in infection prevention. And so, you know, as we're learning more about covid, and the way it's transmitted, we know that respiratory droplets is the primary way, mode of transmission, but those original ideas of all the ways that an infection can be transmitted, have it have kind of, I think, you know, people have focused on a lot of that rather than, you know, then thinking about where we what we know now and how we what we've learned over the last 10 months. really.


Kate Gaier  10:47

Its a great point. So another thing we talked about, and we hear a lot of misinformation matters, you know, how do I know that I have the right symptoms. And I know there has been some concern, and you brought this up Dr. Samson on you know, someone thinking that perhaps they have a sinus infection, or allergies, and so they think it's fine. It's not anything to worry about, I don't need to go to the doctor and kind of the myth that it doesn't present like a sinus infection or allergies, I'd love to hear you explain that.


Dr. Mindy Sampson  11:15

Yeah, I think this is something we hear all day long and every day over and over. So it really resonates with us. But the you know, it is a respiratory illness. And it infects both the upper airways, which is your nose and your throat and in and into the lower airways when people have the pneumonia and the more serious illnesses. But I think people forget that, it can feel just like a what people call the common cold. And you can have that sinus pressure, the the feelings of either a sinus infection, it's sinus infection, a common cold, any of those sort of respiratory illnesses that we're all used to dealing with, and the symptoms that we all know very well, it can present that way and, but it also can present with more serious illness, which is what we, you know, we fear and why we're, you know, very concerned about our hospitalizations, and the progression of disease. But I almost think about it at this point now that, you know, regular sinus infection or the common cold is almost a diagnosis of exclusion, once you've ruled out COVID, then we know that it's not COVID but it's really hard to, to have to differentiate between all these signs and symptoms and because it they do overlap so much. And I think it's important to be diligent if you do have any sort of congestion, those type of nasal throat symptoms to to be precautious of and around the people that you care about and in your socialization so that you can help to reduce the spread in case you are infected.


Dr. Katie Passaretti  12:45

And the other thing I just add on to that is you know, we hear at least a couple of times a day while I didn't have a fever above 100 so I didn't have COVID I you know in the output in the regular kind of general public people infected with COVID we're seeing only about a third of people have a true fever. You know, they might have chills, sweats, but like actually a true documented I took my camp and have a fever. So that one is probably the most common one that I would just encourage you to know if the fever is not the be all and end all of covid symptoms.


Kate Gaier  13:15

It's great to know so the mist itself can be kind of putting ourselves into a corner when it comes to some of our symptoms. That's a great point.


Jason Huddle  13:23

Stay tuned on the other side of this break. We'll continue our conversation with doctors Katie pass already and Mindy Samson, as they continue to address information we've heard about COVID-19 right after these messages, welcome barrass presented by the kannapolis cannon ballers and in partnership with move your way is a community wide walking initiative focused on creating healthier lifestyles. As part of this initiative. Walker Barris has challenging all of us to reach 1 billion steps together as a community. Yes 1 billion with a B. All you have to do is register at Walker Barris comm where you can also join or create groups, log your steps toward our community total and access movie way resources. So head on over to Walker get registered and join the challenge today. Atlantic Bay mortgage group wants you to remember three letters when you're buying a home to take away the guesswork by knowing how much you qualify for and what information will need to provide be beat the sellers expectations by closing in under 29 days on average and deep deliver the next best thing to a cash offer giving you the advantage over other potential buyers with our TBD process closing it's faster and easier than ever before call Matt dinner here at 704-201-9603. to experience the Atlantic Bay mortgage group difference today won't change any topic or availability of bodies dependent on digital information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. income verification, credit approval and property appraisal not limited.


Kate Gaier  14:59

Another one that we hear a lot is you can't get it twice. I've had it I'm done. I'm good to go kind of check me check the box. I would love to hear what both of you have to say about that.


Dr. Mindy Sampson  15:09

Unfortunately, you know, there's been a few a few case reports and this is something that we're we are learning a lot right now about because it's actually been months since many people have been infected so and are being re exposed. So we're actually able to start learning about this immunity and the reinfection process, unfortunately, we are seeing re infections. And so I don't think we know enough about how natural immunity from infection is going to work in order to prevent people from getting a second infection or you know, a repeated infection after their their initial infection. So I think we have to, you know, still focus on the most important part of that, which is those precautions and everything we've already preached about are still needed. It's still important right now.


Kate Gaier  15:53

Dr. Passaretti, you want to add to that?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  15:55

Yeah, absolutely agree. While it's still rare right now, because it's reflecting kind of the earlier part of the pandemic. We are starting to see reinfection. We don't know how common or how often or exactly when that's occurring, but it to me, it's clear that it is occurring. So it just points to like Dr. Samson said, you know, regardless of whether you've had infection or not, you need to wear your mask, stay away from people, same rules apply.


Kate Gaier  16:18

I'm hearing a nice theme there. We keep talking about this.


Dr. Katie Passaretti  16:22

We're a little broken record it throughout this whole thing.


Kate Gaier  16:25

I will say oh, let's talk about some of the more kind of a you know, interesting or unique one. So some of the favorites I've heard is you know, if I spray myself with bleach or if I drink a lot of alcohol, I can get rid of it. Or if I sit out in the sun or in the cold. I'm going to I'm going to kill the virus or I won't be infected octopus ready? You want to start us off on that one?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  16:47

Yeah, so you know this is another example where someone took something like loosely based in fact and another situation and applied it where it didn't really belong, right. So you'd be like leech those kind of things. Do kill Coronavirus that found surfaces human beings are not considered surfaces those are not treatments those are not things that in any way kind of mitigate your risk you know really surfaces sure it's an adjunct that can be used you can bleach surfaces to kill coronavirus, UV light that kind of stuff. But as far as human beings treatment, not at all.


Kate Gaier  17:21

Another funny one I've heard at is if I drink mouthwash, or if I rinse my mouth out with mouthwash, and I have a virus in my mouth because I've just been exposed to someone that'll get rid of it. Dr. Passaretti, You want to comment on that?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  17:35

That's kind of the same thing. So mouthwash is highly alcohol based, right? So we know that we use alcohol hand rub to kill germs on our hands. You know, it does kill coronavirus that's in your mouth at that moment. You are not constantly gargling swallowing, washing your nose and mouth with mouthwash. So it doesn't really impact your risk of infection. It may just kill that for the you know, a couple of minutes that you're gargling in the morning but it doesn't it doesn't it's not a real true preventative measure. It's not going to impact your risk of infection. I'm not against oral health like please you walk I mean everyone is grateful that you use mouthwash in the morning but just don't think of it as a coronavirus prevention step


Kate Gaier  18:15

So speaking of things that we shouldn't and shouldn't ingest a lot of myths also around herbs that you should take drink lemon juice different you know, plant based you know that kind of thing you know, where if I take a you know, a certain supplement that's either going to prevent it or cure it. Dr. Sampson, love to hear what you have to say about that.


Dr. Mindy Sampson  18:37

Yeah, there's no extra supplements that are you know, recommended right now to treat the coronavirus. You know, we know that having a healthy immune system is always you know, good to help your if you prevent you from getting infections and also if you do get in infections to prevent severity. So of course a healthy diet and you having adequate supplement, vitamin supplements in your diet such as vitamin C and D sure are recommended but they're not we don't need to go out and you know, over take all the supplements and purchase extra vitamins that we wouldn't typically ingest. So you know, the usual things that we recommend to keep yourself healthy is what we're still recommending. So once I'm sad little victim of this as well has been our four legged friends there have been rumors around that we can get them from our pets doctor pass ready. I'd love to hear where that started.


Dr. Katie Passaretti  19:33

Yeah, so there have been some very public cases right where pets have gotten infected seemingly from humans. There was a tiger there's been a cat there's been a couple of dogs that kind of stuff. Um, you know, it is not by any stretch of the imagination, a significant mode of spread. I'm not advising anyone to, you know, think that their pets are going to give them COVID or anything you know, it really is a person to person, primary, transmit You know, and to protect your pets, you know, wash your hands regularly the same kind of stuff we recommend for everything else. But you know, pets are not a significant source of transmission. It's more often our own behavior with other people.


Kate Gaier  20:14

I think pets around the world are grateful for that answer. Another big thing that we've obviously it's huge, you know, news this week is when we start to talk about vaccines. But we're also in a time when we're talking about people really encouraging them to get the flu vaccine. And there's a lot of misconception about, you know, if I it's just like the flu, it's no different or if I get the flu vaccine, I'll be fine. Um Dr. Passaretti?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  20:39

Yeah, so a couple of things are on that. So the flu, influenza is a completely different virus, right. So the flu shot does not give you any protection against Coronavirus, completely separate viruses completely separate ways to protect, while their spreads similarly have similar symptoms. Unfortunately, the vaccines don't cross over and protect. So you do still need your flu shot. And it's more important than ever to get that flu shot this year to avoid having to deal with the height of flu season at the same time as we head into our very current current very steep incline and COVID cases. So very much advocate for everyone over the age of six months getting a flu shot. But recognize that doesn't mean you don't need to wear masks that you don't need to distance anymore. You know, you need to continue to take those same protective measures. The other thing I've heard just to piggyback slightly different perspective, people saying they don't need the flu shot because they're masking and, you know, distancing that they don't have to do that it's not important because they're doing this preventive stuff. You know, and again, coming back to that Swiss cheese model, the flu vaccine is one component and ultimately once we have a coded vaccine, that's one component they still need at this time to be done in conjunction with masking in public in conjunction with distancing and avoiding group gatherings.


Jason Huddle  22:04

On the other side of this break, we will conclude the program and I will ask some questions about testing. That's coming up rght after this Stay tuned.


Commercial  22:13



Jason Huddle  23:28

Jason Huddle from Cabarrus Magazine had some questions, but they're more related to testing. A couple of things that I've heard regarding testing is that every positive case counts as a positive case. In other words, if someone goes in, gets tested, they test positive. They come back two days later get tested again, they still test positive that counts as two cases for the same person is that is that true?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  23:53

That is also a myth. So no individual patients do not get double, triple quadruple counted at all. That is blatantly untrue and any kind of CDC database state data hospital data not true.


Jason Huddle  24:07

Okay, great. The other question is just a logistics question that I've had for the past ever since we started testing for COVID. If COVID is spread through mouth droplets, how come they have to swab into your brain to get a test for COVID.


Dr. Mindy Sampson  24:24

So our respiratory tract is connected. So you know upper airway on our nose and the terminates in our nose, which is where they're actually swabbing when they're going towards your brain as everyone says is connected to the oral fair next. So the droplets that produce the spread, you know our way of of kind of transmitting infection droplet because of speech and you know, sneezing and everything else that we do. That's the way that we project the majority of it but it is still transmitted through the the nose as well, which is why we always recommend making sure you have good math techniques. Over the nose and over the mouth as well.


Kate Gaier  25:03

I also think it's a great myth that they're touching your brain even though I know some people would describe it that way.


Katie Peralta  25:09

This is Katie Peralta with the Charlotte Agenda. And I had a couple of questions for you guys about vaccines. The obviously big news of this week, and this will continue to be quite a topic of conversation as it will take a long time for everybody to get one. So one of the things that we are hearing from a lot of our readers is a lot of skepticism about the vaccination and the safety of some of the options coming out. When it comes to vaccines. How are healthcare professionals to convince people that they should get a vaccine? In other words, what is the communication strategy for a mass vaccination effort like this?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  25:49

Yeah, it's a huge issue, right? Vaccine hesitancy, even before COVID is listed as one of who shows like biggest risk to our population. Even before COVID, we were having issues with measles outbreaks, mumps outbreaks, because people were hesitant to take a vaccine. And obviously, with COVID, those same issues plus are continuing. I do think, you know, starting now, and, you know, educating the public on what we do know about the vaccine, being transparent with the data from the studies and why and health care providers being transparent. And why we are recommending it is important, as well as the consequences of not, you know, as Dr. Sampson said earlier, we are seeing reinfection there is no we're not going to get to herd immunity that turned you guys here where you know enough of the population is protected, to prevent kind of significant ongoing spread without a vaccine. So I think one, you know, being transparent with the data on how effective what the side effects are is hugely important. And then to the consequences and the importance of vaccination. And, you know, to your point, education is challenging, right, reaching that many people is challenging, that is an uphill battle and whatever, you know, assistance we can get from the media from, you know, different levels of our society is going to be hugely important as we move forward.


Katie Peralta  27:11

And kind of piggybacking off of off of that, no, this is related, but also sort of another communication challenge. These vaccines coming out often require two doses, how worried or how concerned our health care professionals that people won't come back for their second dose? Is there any way to, like make sure that they do come back? Or is there any strategy to? You know, make sure that doesn't happen? Because and the second part of my question is, is the vaccine therefore uneffective? If you only get half of it?


Dr. Katie Passaretti  27:46

Yeah, so that is enough, you know, there are a bevy of challenges as we head into vaccination for covid administration, right, some of it storage, some of it is administration challenges, and, you know, a vaccine that requires two shots at two different points in times does carry its challenges, and certainly, you know, efforts to make sure that second shot takes place, you know, that's making sure people are were setting up that appointment at the time they get their first vaccine, you know, reminders, all those things are part of the strategy, you know, will some people not show up for their second vaccine? I feel sure that's going to happen. Right. And that, and to your question about whether one shot is protective, we just don't know, right? Because all the studies are based on two doses. And, you know, the reason they give two doses is based on kind of looking at, you know, data as they went along the different phases of the trial that, you know, predicting that both of those doses were needed for full protection. So I think, you know, certainly one shot based on what we know, one would recommend if the studies show you need two shots to have that kind of degree of efficacy, then we would very clearly recommend two shots. How much protection a single shot have, you know, the various vaccine candidates, we just don't know, it's probable there's some degree of immune system reaction protection, but that likely doesn't last as long or may not be as high as doing the full regimen.


Kate Gaier  29:12

Hopefully, that will lessen the misinformation and the confusion, right. I'm sure as we continue on this journey, there will be more myths to bust. And so I appreciate you all joining and any last things that you wanted to add that we didn't ask you, Dr. Pasanetti or Dr. Sampson.


Dr. Katie Passaretti  29:27

Nothing that we haven't said, you know, wear your mask, stay away six more, you know, keep your social distancing. Avoid group gatherings. And, you know,


Dr. Katie Passaretti  29:35

we're in a dangerous play. I don't think we've mentioned you know, we the next couple of months have the potential to be very scary and healthcare in society, like this is on us to change the trajectory we're on right now. So just whatever we can do to try to be voices for that in the community, you know, because, I mean, Dr. Sampson and I every day, we look at people that have died from COVID. And, you know, kudos to people that don't have the luxury of having that in their face every day, but health care providers don't. And you know, I just hope the public recognizes that a little bit.


Kate Gaier  30:06

Thank you for all that you both do so much.


Jason Huddle  30:18

Indeed, we do thank all the frontline workers that are facing this terrible disease every single day, and putting their lives at stake. I hope you have enjoyed this episode of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine and I want to hear your thoughts. Let's get in on the conversation. jump over to the Facebook group page. It's Up Front, with Cabarrus Magazine, jump on there. And let's have some conversation about what you heard today. What do you believe? What don't you believe? What are some questions that you have? Maybe we can have another conversation with these doctors about that in the near future. In the meantime, I do want to thank doctors Katie Passaretti, Dr. Mandy Sampson and of course Kate Gaier for putting this conversation that we had together. I hope you were able to glean some good information from this that we can pass along because no matter where you are on the spectrum, I think we can all agree that having the accurate information is the most important thing. Until next week, thank you for joining Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. We are presented by CabCo Media Group and it is hosted and produced by yours truly Jason Huddle. also want to thank our sponsors Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center, and Walk Cabarrus. As always, please remember to support those that support us. Until next week, better stay six feet apart.

Episode 86: Fact or Fiction: COVID-19 Edition

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