Photo © Imperial College London
A very different post was planned to be posted today but there is an elephant in the room that I’ve finally decided to cover: NOVEL CORONAVIRUS SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, the disease it causes.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a virologist but I’m a fully functioning science journalist, one of my degrees is in biology(physiology)and I’ve been keeping an eye on this issue as I’ve been covering it for a Russian media since January: for my Russian speaking audience: that’s the link.
And I think it’s much more important tp spread some info about it than to post another travel guide. Just to let you know: I suppose I’ll be staying in the UK for at least a month when I come back from Malta, and we’ve already cancelled our trips to Croatia and Dubai. Staying safe and responsible is our priority now – and I hope you share our views.
Novel Coronavirus: important rules to follow
- Wash your hands at least 20 sec and more often than you usually do or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol.
- Sneeze and cough in a tissue (and throw it to the bin immediately) or in your elbow.
- Don’t wear a mask unless you’re sick or you’re caring for someone who is sick (but if masks prevents you from touching your face – scroll below)
- Avoid touching your face, especially the eyes.
- Take self quarantine seriously: if you travelled from a country with high number of cases (Italy/China/Iran/South Korea etc), stay at home (ideally don’t go outside at all) for two weeks. If you ignore this, you might spread the infection even if you don’t have any symptoms and, for instance, get your friends’s grandparents killed (sorry for being so straightforward).
Try to quarantine your elders and self quarantine yourself if you have any symptoms.
- Don’t be racist/nationalist, throughout the human history viruses emerged from all sorts of geographic locations. We’re all in one boat struggling with SARS-CoV-2.
- Don’t panic and don’t overreact. It’s not a zombie apocalypse until you haven’t made your mind on it.
- Educate yourself. More you know and more you understand the scientific side, lesser are chances you’ll perceive the situation subjectively. Emotions are important but (sometimes) it’s more important to stay reasonable.
- Check trustworthy sources of information like the WHO website – for instance, their reports. If you think that reports come out a bit too slowly (I do), check this live map.
- Think about other people. If you haven’t recently been to Italy/China/Iran/South Korea etc and haven’t talked to anyone who has, don’t rush to your doctor to check for SARS-CoV-2 just because. You might delay the visit of people who need the check more than you.
Same with buying things: if you ever choose to stock, make the stock for a short period of time, not for the years ahead. You really don’t need all that toilet paper, food, masks and drugs – but other people really might do.
Important info about COVID-19:
- At the time of writing the countries with the highest number of cases are as follows:
Islamic Republic of Iran
Republic of Korea
- The wast majority of people have only mild symptoms
- The elderly people, especially with underlying conditions, are at the highest risk
- Children seem to be affected less than it was expected
- Mortality is low: check the mortality for flu and relax
- The main symptoms are fever, cough, shortness of breath; running nose is not a main symptom
- Bacteria and viruses are different entities, antibacterial products target bacteria, not viruses.
Video produced by the WHO is below:
P.S.: I didn’t updated the page with my popsci articles for ages but I promise I will!