With Coronavirus being a hot topic, it’s crucial to stay on top of the news and avoid misinformation. So Wired got a doctor to explain everything you need to know about the virus.
You can watch the video at the top of the page, although if you’re in a public space without headphones and don’t feel like risking mass hysteria, we’ve summarised the facts below.
In the video, Dr Seema Yasmin begins by unpacking Coronavirus. So what is it exactly? Well, Coronavirus is part of the family that ranges from deadly SARS right through to the common cold which, as you would know, is typically far from deadly.
Symptoms include a fever, cough and viral pneumonia – so a terrible chest infection. While the media often focuses on the worst of the virus – deaths and quarantined cruise ships, Dr Yasmin points out that the death rate is only around 2.5% – 3.5% which is far lower than what was experienced during the SARS pandemic in the early 2000s.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned. Like many viruses, Coronavirus is more contagious than SARS, even if it’s less deadly. What’s worrying is that some of the infected people were contagious before showing symptoms, making it trickier to get a handle on the pandemic.
Dr Yasmin says precautions differ from country-to-country. Australians should check out the Department of Health website, while international readers can take a look at the World Health Organisation and US readers should visit the CDC website. All of these websites are frequently updated and are your best sources for keeping an eye on Coronavirus.
Wired’s video also highlights the importance of avoiding misinformation. Stick to credible sources when looking for safety tips and don’t let social media and the likes make you feel panicked. There’s been a spout of racism due to the virus which is absurd. A virus does not have a nationality.
Anti-virals and vaccines are already in development. Although it does take a long time to develop and test them for safety, so the virus may be contained or peter out beforehand. Either way, there’s currently less to be concerned about than what the media would have you believe. As of today, there are just 15 cases of Coronavirus in Australia.
There’s a good chance that the above information could change over the coming weeks. For now, Dr Seema Yasmin says you should do the following:
- Stay on top of the news
- Look for credible sources
- Be prepared but do not panic or let others make you feel panicked.
You can find the Department of Health website linked below.