Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pandemic or Infodemic?

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pandemic or Infodemic?

The most recent news about Coronavirus is the announcement of WHO according to which this virus is considered a pandemic now. Before moving forward let’s understand what the pandemic is and how this announcement changes the situation.

A pandemic is defined as “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people” (A dictionary of epidemiology, 4th edition. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001)

The definition doesn’t include any mentioning of the severity or mortality of the virus, so the panic it has caused is just because of a lack of knowledge. We don’t want to underestimate the seriousness of the situation, but it needs to be acknowledged that misinterpretation of the information is a major problem now.

How to Stop The ‘Infodemic’?

Everybody wants and needs to be informed, but don’t just search “What is Coronavirus” and read the first thing that appears in your search results. Be conscious about the information you consume, rely on and also spread.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is one of the most covered topics now and everybody seems to have something to say about it. In this flow of information, it’s hard to figure out which is a science-based opinion and which one is just an expression of a negative approach. Thus, we encourage everyone to follow trusted sources.

How Fatal is Human Coronavirus?

Now, there are 126, 258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, but the numbers may change any time. However, to get the complete picture of the virus, let’s look at other figures as well. 4,638 people have died from Coronavirus, and 68,266 people have recovered so far.

The WHO estimated the mortality of this virus 3,4%, however, this is the average number, and each country has a different situation. First of all, let’s accept that although the number of dead is estimated, it is hard to be sure about the number of people infected with the virus. There are many people in the world, who are infected but haven’t been yet discovered because the virus goes symptom-free. Thus, we can assume that if we got the complete and accurate numbers, the mortality would be much lower.

Coronavirus Symptoms and How to Protect Yourself?

Coronavirus symptoms mainly include:

  • Fever,
  • Cough,
  • Shortness of Breath.

If you experience any of these symptoms call your doctor to get appropriate medical care. However, we should remember that common flu and many other respiratory diseases are also spread and just because you have these symptoms doesn’t mean that you are infected with the virus. So, don’t rush to make conclusions until you get tested and have the results.

 

Protect Yourself and Others from Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The WHO suggests undertaking the following measures to protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain social distancing (at least 1 meter) from people who sneeze or cough.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene (cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze)

For more info, click here.

When and How to Use Masks

Use the mask ONLY if you are ill or taking care of the ill. In all other cases, wearing a mask makes no sense and should be avoided. Despite this, a huge number of people are still desperately looking for masks and buy as many as they possibly can. However, we again want to encourage you to follow the guidelines and advice suggested by the WHO.  For further information, click here.

The Bottom Line

The best scientists in the world are working on creating a Coronavirus vaccine, and hopefully, we will have a strong shield against this virus very soon. Before that happens, each of us should contribute to the global fight against this threat by protecting ourselves, getting informed and informing others too. So, let’s spread reliable information and positivity, not panic and fake news.

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