In the midst of the global Coronavirus pandemic, misinformation can truly be lethal. It can lead to a false sense of security or a failure to emphasize protective measures that actually work. This brief article shares some valuable resources that you can count on for reliable information.
Before we dig in, let’s resolve any language confusion:
- Coronaviruses are a family of viruses. They are tiny little balls carrying single stranded RNA , which contains the instructions for their host to make more of them. They can cause respiratory disease in humans but can inhabit bats and other mammals without symptoms. Other examples of coronaviruses that have affected humans include SARS and MERS.
- SARS-Cov-2 — severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 — is the name of the specific Coronavirus causing the 2019/2020 pandemic.
- COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by infection with SARS-Cov-2 (i.e. SARS-Cov-2 is analagous to HIV; COVID-19 is analagous to AIDS).
Where Can You Get Reliable Information About COVID-19?
The first set of go-to resources in any sort of outbreak situation is public health organizations. They provide current outbreak statistics (e.g. deaths, cases, and recovered), advice on what to do if you may be affected, and recommendations (and rules) for protective measures. Some also provide answers to common questions and mythbusting.
Public health organizations
- International: World Health Organization
- United States: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Canada: Health Canada
- Europe: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
- Regional: Check with your local government health authorities (e.g. British Columbia Centers for Disease Control)
In addition to resources above, I highly recommend checking out a few data aggregators — these sites present the data above in illuminating ways. Here are some of my favourites:
We are all in this together. Please do your part to act responsibly and fight misinformation. It’s not just about you and your family. Society’s most vulnerable are counting on us to protect them. Please practice social distancing, wash your hands well and often, and don’t touch your face!