Intro and Disclaimer

QM would like to help you make sense of information being circulated by: 1. Translating data into digestible language, 2. Dispelling misconceptions and linking to evidence, and 3. Curating relevant data, and articles on a weekly basis. Our Round Up/ Mythbusting projects are intended to help our QM family make sense of information being circulated. Taking control of our health as a queer community includes making institutional knowledge accessible to the public. 

Disclaimer: Although this information has been evaluated and determined to be accurate by Queering Medicine (QM), we at QM do not want to give the impression that we are the sole gatekeepers of medical knowledge. As a collective, QM members bring professional and personal qualifications that allow us to research and share credible knowledge. Our goals for this weekly round up and myth busting is to translate data into digestible information, dispel misinformation, and curate relevant data for the Lansing queer community. We encourage the community to question knowledge found outside of reputable sources, however, Queering Medicine will gladly help facilitate this process. If evidence or recommendations change, or any inaccuracies are found, we will correct them and explain the changes. If you have any questions about our methodology and sources, or you would like to point out any inaccuracies, please let us know!

Changes to Stay-at-Home Order

Governor Whitmer has issued several new Executive Orders that loosen the restrictions of the stay-at-home order. The most significant changes are:

It is important to keep in mind that the pandemic is not over and the loosening of restrictions does not mean that the risk has been eliminated. COVID-19 cases still exist throughout Michigan; an average of 547 new cases were reported per day from May 15-May 22 alone. The virus is still present in our communities, we still do not have widespread testing, and we still do not have a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infections or a medication to treat it. It is likely that new infections will result from the loosening of restrictions, and epidemiologists warn of a second spike in cases will follow. The loosening of restrictions is effectively a test - we won't know how safe it is for at least two weeks (it takes time for new cases to appear). Patience is critical: As a state, we are taking baby steps to see what can and cannot be done safely. Rushing into major changes (e.g., abandoning social distancing and trying to get back to exactly how we lived before the pandemic) would constitute an unacceptable risk to our communities, which is why it is essential that we still follow social distancing guidelines (like staying six feet apart and wearing a mask), even as we are allowed to have small gatherings.

Individuals who are concerned about catching or spreading COVID-19 may choose not to change their behavior yet (e.g., still remaining at home and not seeing friends or family in person). People, particularly those who are high-risk due to medical conditions, age, or other factors, should be cautious; being on the front lines of public exposure to see how much the virus is spreading is a significant risk with potentially deadly consequences. Additionally, disparities in vulnerability to COVID-19 related to socioeconomic status, access to health care, race, LGBTQ+ status, etc. continue to be present, and will likely continue to cause a greater number of infections and deaths among some populations. Do not pressure or shame people who do not want to take the risk of COVID-19 exposure. This is still a deadly virus, and staying isolated to avoid the risk of exposure is very reasonable, especially since we don't have widespread testing, a vaccine, or effective treatments.

It is critical that those who do choose to attend small social gatherings or elect to venture out to retail establishments adhere to social distancing and mask guidelines. Remaining six feet apart includes not hugging or shaking hands with each other, which can be emotionally difficult in times like these. Talking while wearing a mask and standing six feet apart may be annoying and uncomfortable, but it may be the only way to have conversations right now without putting ourselves and our friends, families, and communities at risk. Remember that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and the new normal may not be the same as the old one for a long time.

Key recommendations: 

More information:

Carbon Dioxide Toxicity

Wearing a mask for prolonged periods of time will not result in breathing in dangerous levels of carbon dioxide. Oxygen and carbon dioxide gas molecules are very small, even smaller than the coronavirus, and can freely pass through surgical masks, N95s, cloth masks, and other recommended face coverings, allowing people to breathe safely. Individuals with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular conditions should speak with their health care provider if they are concerned about wearing a mask.

Helpful Link:

Claim: Different strains of the virus causing COVID-19 have different severities (FALSE)

Claim: Vitamin D reduces COVID-19 severity

Verdict: Mixed

Key takeaways:


Children are developing a novel health condition associated with COVID-19 that resembles Kawasaki disease

Children in Los Angeles and New York were recently found to have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease (Kawasaki disease is a form of vasculitis—a family of rare disorders characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels), but research shows that it may be a new condition associated with COVID-19. This condition, now called MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children), is an inflammatory disorder in children that leads to similar symptoms but is not Kawasaki disease. It was also formerly known as PIMS (Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome).. MIS-C’s’ relation to inflammation is how this has been connected to COVID-19, which is well-known for inducing a widespread inflammatory response in the body. Symptoms of MIS-C include high fever, rash, red eyes, red tongue, swollen hands and feet, and cracked lips. 

Helpful Links

Directly from the World Health Organization (WHO)

Being Able to Hold Your Breath Isn't Diagnostic

Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

COVID-19 is NOT transmitted through houseflies

To date, there is no evidence or information to suggest that the COVID-19 virus transmitted through houseflies. The virus that cause COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. You can also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. To protect yourself, keep at least 1-metre distance from others and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces. Clean your hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

Eating Garlic Does Not Prevent COVID-19 Infections

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.


Surfaces are not the primary means of transmission

Current research suggests that the virus that causes COVID-19 is primarily spread through close person-to-person contact and that surface contamination is possible, but is not the main source of infection. The risk of infection after touching contaminated surfaces depends on what the surface is made of, how much virus is on the contaminated surface, and how long the viral particles have been there. A person must then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes with a contaminated finger in order to be infected by  the virus. Over time, the amount of virus on the surface able to cause infection declines. Larger amounts of virus, whether on surfaces or in the air, are associated with a greater risk of infection, which is why person-to-person contact and conversations within close proximity, or in poorly ventilated areas, increase the risk of spreading the virus. As we continue to learn more about how the virus is spreading, the CDC continues to recommend routine hand washing and disinfecting frequently used surfaces, as well as maintaining six feet of distance from others and wearing a mask in public spaces. COVID-19 is spread through droplets produced when people speak and cough. These droplets can then land on people, objects, or be inhaled. As of now, research suggests the virus can live on some hard metal surfaces and plastic for up to 72 hours, and on cardboard for up to 24 hours. 

Primary takeaways:

Helpful Links

Reinfection and Recovery from COVID-19

There continues to be conflicting evidence as to whether individuals can be reinfected with COVID-19, and for how long the virus is detected after not showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

South Korea’s leading health commission released a report indicating that patients who have had with COVID-19 do not remain infectious after recovering, even if they later re-test as being positive for COVID-19. This data prompted the recommendation to not have recovered patients in quarantine, even if they re-test positive. A possible explanation is that around 13% of individuals infected with COVID-19 seem to have the virus detectable in their serum for longer than others, which a recent study from the University of Wisconsin showed. Researchers in this study indicated that this doesn’t necessarily imply that these individuals are infectious, but that this might be part of the natural course of the immune system’s response to the virus. 

According to another recent report, U.S. sailors that had previously had and recovered from COVID-19 have tested positive for COVID-19 again (and have again had symptoms of the disease) after being in two weeks of isolation and previously feeling well. This adds to other reports of individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19 again after recovering from it. 

While there are more questions than answers that arise in these circumstances, experts point to inaccuracy of some diagnostic testing as well as the time course of active COVID-19 cases that differs from person to person.

Key takeaway: 

More information:

Pennsylvania Now Collecting LGBT Data with COVID-19 Testing

The state of Pennsylvania announced that it will track sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data related to COVID-19 testing. Queering Medicine has previously communicated of the increased risk of infection or death from COVID-19 that the LGBTQ+ community faces for a variety of reasons, including disproportionate high prevalence of pre-existing medical issues, less access to healthcare and health insurance, and historically being less likely to seek healthcare due to fear of discrimination. According to a press release from the Pennsylvania’s governor office, the move to include SOGI data came in an effort to try to provide “equitable care,” regardless of SOGI status. The move to record SOGI data in COVID-19 comes with the support of Pennsylvania’s Governor and its Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, who is the first transgender person ever to lead the pubic health services for the state. There has been increased support for including SOGI data in COVID-19 data to show how COVID-19 has impacted queer communities. 

Michigan, like most other states, does not record SOGI data in their COVID-19 basic demographic information. Historically, the LGBTQ+ community has been reticent about sharing their personal information due to fear of being discriminated against, but the collection and reporting of anonymized data is necessary to provide clear evidence of disparities, which, in turn, is critical to advocating for policy, practice, and culture change. If you’re interested in advocating for SOGI data to be collected in the state of Michigan’s standard COVID-19 reporting, you can contact your state legislator, the governor’s office, and/or state LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.

More information:

QM Mythbusters (in no particular order):