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COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Updated: May 8, 2020

Writer: Dara Ayu | Illustrator: Safira Marini W. | Editor: Kinar Nisa

As of March 13th, 2020 there are 639 confirmed cases in Japan and 69 confirmed cases in Indonesia. With the increasing amount of coronavirus cases, people all over the world are striving to keep themselves safe, but in times like this fear and panic tend to get the best of us which makes us even more vulnerable to fake news and information. Worry not, we have gathered credible information on how you and your loved ones can keep yourselves safe while still being able to enjoy your spring break!

What is all the fuss regarding the COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new type of coronavirus that was first discovered in 2019 at an outbreak in Wuhan. It initially occurred when a group of people was diagnosed with pneumonia after being associated with seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. It has since spread within China and several other countries.

How exactly does it spread and should we be worried about getting infected?

Because the first case happened after having close contact with animals in the seafood and live animal market, it is considered to be a spillover, but unfortunately as of right now the type of animal that transmitted the virus is yet to be discovered, and therefore close contact with animals should be limited; whereas human to human transmission is generally through being in contact with droplets created when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which also includes touching a surface contaminated with the virus. Even so, people that are usually more at risk would be health workers caring for those with infection or family members.

What symptoms should we look for in case of infection?

The symptoms vary from mild to severe cases in which fever, cough, and shortness of breath would be considered as mild, meanwhile, those with severe symptoms would suffer from pneumonia, kidney failure or even death. However, the incubation period of the disease varies from one person to another and as a result there have been cases where one would seem asymptomatic but their test turns out to be positive, therefore if you have been in close contact with an infected person, we strongly recommend you to contact your nearest health officials.

How can we keep ourselves safe and prevent transmission?

According to The World Health Organization’s website, the public should follow these simple steps:

  1. Avoid touching our eyes, nose or mouth as our hands might have touched surfaces contaminated with the virus.

  2. Clean our hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub for at least 30-60 seconds.

  3. Cover our cough or sneeze with the bend of our elbow or tissue.

  4. Avoid crowded places for the time being and stay at home when we feel even the slightest cough or fever.

Why are people bulk-buying masks, hand sanitizers, and even household supplies? Should I also be worried, especially now that the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 as a pandemic?

With the increasing number of cases as well as numerous amounts of misinformation circulating within the public, they have heightened the anxiety about the disease and make it seem like it's a matter of life and death situation, even if it is not. The reality is bulk-buying only makes matters worse as it puts health care and social workers who are taking care of sick patients more at risk of catching the virus. It is much better to simply follow what the World Health Organization has recommended to us as well as keeping ourselves well informed of recent updates from credible sources.

It is very much normal to be anxious about the current situation of the disease; however, it is also our job to make sure that we are not hindering the officials’ efforts while still keeping ourselves and those around us safe from the virus. Remember the simple steps above and don’t forget to keep yourself updated with the recent news! Stay alert and not anxious, be safe everyone!

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