The subject of the year or may I say, the curse of the year that is affecting schools, workplace and travel plans. In the mid of this event, a lot of misinformation have been circulating. As a research assistant and medical student, I have the chance to be a part of the health committee looking into the Data & Analytics for the crisis and I would like to demystify a few things.
1. Informationisbeautiful infographic that’s been circulating on social media are misleading. Most of them dedramatize the situation and in most parts, if you look closely they compare apples and oranges.
These pictures have been featured everywhere and they are very misleading. You should almost never trust infographics because they tend to:
1.oversimplify everything so it’s colorful and beautiful
2. take one side of the story
3. they are not scientifically representative at all when you looks closely at the pictures.
I’m only asking you one thing, if you are about to share graphics about scientific data, verify your sources, look at the graphics. Do they make sense? Do the axis and the scale show what you think you understood?
2. “IS IT AS CRAZY AS PEOPLE MAKE IT SEEM?”
My simple answer is this: from a sociology and psychological point of view, in a middle of a crisis like a pandemic, people will overreact in two different extremes of the spectrum:
It is completely disrespectful to say that it’s simply a flu and we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. People died because of this virus at a much faster rate than the seasonal flu. Do you think you have experts and leaders of the world building hospitals and reuniting resources if it was simply a flu?
And also, no it is not the end of the world. This is not a reason to justify your racism towards Asian people, telling them to go back to their countries because you think seeing an Asian will make you catch the virus and die.
3. “IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL ?”
Considering the situation in a lot of countries at the moment, I would not recommend traveling abroad and internationally. If you are outside from your country, it’ll be a good time right now to return home. Given the situations, different countries will also implement travel ban at different speed and that can affect flights canceling.
If you have travel plans in the future, I would recommend getting in contact immediately with your airlines and travel agencies to see what are their takes on the coronavirus. Some airlines already offering postponing the travels free of charge.
4. “SHOULD I WEAR A MASK” ?
You should wear a mask only if you have flu-like symptoms an shortness of breath, dry cough, fever, fatigue and muscle aches. A healthy person wearing a mask thinking it might protect them from sick people? Sorry, but that is not how it works. It’s not a guarantee to protect you against any virus if the mask does not fit you properly because the coronavirus particles are smaller than the filters of most of the masks (0,1 micron particle of coronavirus vs 0,3 micron particles blocked by masks).
Also healthcare employees start to notice the shortage of mask protections and those people need the right tools to be able to do their work. So please, don’t go out in a panic and buy all of the hospital masks, some nurses and doctors out there need those masks to do their job and protect the community.
Let me know if you have other concerns and questions about this virus, it’ll be my pleasure to help and provide you with some resources if needed! 🙂
Stay safe, be cautious, wash your hands and keep the strictest hygiene in this time of crisis!