Sequoyah Students Quizzed on Fake News Relating to COVID-19

3 min read

Recently a lot of false information about COVID-19 has been circulating on the Internet. To understand how much of it students actually believe, The Barefoot Times quizzed them on common rumors and false facts about the coronavirus. 

The Sequoyah high school community got an average of 71.61% on the ten-question quiz, and said they have been following news about the virus but not very closely (3.5/5). But, this does not match up with their correct quiz answers. Based on the data, the students who said they have been following the news as close as possible did not actually do significantly better than those who said they have not been following the news at all (as seen by the trendline in the above graph). Students who feel like they are following the news very closely may actually unknowingly be following fake news as well.

The question that most people got wrong was how long COVID-19 could stay in the air. About 54% of respondents thought that it could only stay in the air for 30 minutes, but it can actually stay for up to three hours.

Here are the true or false questions we asked:

  1. If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing or having trouble breathing, you don’t have COVID-19.

This is false because some COVID-19 patients don’t have a cough and their only symptom is a fever. 

  1. Drinking water every 15 minutes will kill off the virus.

This is false. Even though water can’t kill the virus, it’s still good to stay hydrated! 

  1. It is okay to take Ibuprofen if you have COVID-19.

This is true as of current research. On March 19, the World Health Organization officially put out a statement that Ibuprofen is safe to use if you are a patient with COVID-19, although some French doctors advise against taking Ibuprofen. 

  1. Russia released 500 lions and tigers into the streets to keep people inside their homes.

This is a false rumor that has been spreading on Tik Tok.

  1. You should wear a mask if you go in public.

This was false at the time of the survey, but is currently true. Wearing a mask is not proven to prevent you from contracting COVID-19. It’s also important to save masks for those who need it most, including healthcare workers and patients. Opinion | Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired.  Since the survey was sent out, things have changed making masks required when going out in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set a plan in place on Friday, April 3rd, saying that you must wear a mask, bandana, or other facial covering when going out. It is important to note that this does not have to be an N95 mask, and that those should be saved for medical professionals. Coronavirus: LA mandates masks. What you need to know

  1. As of March 22nd: of the 1733 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California, less than 10% of them are travel related

This is true. According to the California Department of Public Health, 120 of the 1733 positive cases of COVID-19 in California are due to travel, meaning they got it out of state and came back with it. That is about 6.9% of all the cases in California. 

  1. Since humans have been in quarantine, dolphins started appearing in Venetian canals.

This is false. While they haven’t been to the Venetian canals, they have been spotted about 500 miles away in Sardinia. But, dolphins have been in Sardinia plenty of times before the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  1. You can get COVID-19 from touching your mail.

This is true. The virus can stay infectious on surfaces for days, this is why you should wash your hands frequently and refrain from touching your face, mouth, eyes, or nose.

  1. COVID-19 can stay in the air for longer than 30 minutes.

This is true. Research from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Laboratory of Virology in the Division of Intramural Research in Montana shows that COVID-19 can stay in the air for up to three hours.

  1. It is confirmed that Sequoyah students will not be returning to school for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

At the time of the survey, this was false and based on rumors. However, on April 4th, Head of School Josh Brody emailed the school with an update on the school’s response to the coronavirus. “We have not yet ruled out the possibility of returning to campus this school year, but sadly, with each passing day, it seems more and more unlikely,” wrote Brody.