Here’s Where You Shouldn’t Be Looking For Info On COVID-19
We are in the midst of a pandemic, as per WHO. There is tons of information and misinformation doing rounds on the internet. From the number of confirmed cases across countries, to treatment, to preventive measures, and whether using masks works or not; we are searching for answers left, right and centre. Plus a lot of information is being dumped on us via chats, media coverage and padoswali know-it-all aunty. Everyone knows everything. Everyone wants to share everything. So what does an average Indian do, to sort out relevant information from this pile? How does one stick to solid facts and ensure that unnecessary anxiety and panic doesn’t find its way to their minds? Besides following unsolicited advice, without any scientific backing could in fact put you in harm’s way. So as an Indian, here’s where you can go, if you seek trustworthy information on coronavirus.
World Health Organisation: WHO’s website is providing constant updates from across the globe on coronavirus outbreak. They have created a page where you can find access to information on how one can protect themselves from this outbreak, travel advice, various publications available on coronavirus and the answers to most common questions one may have regarding it.
The most essential information on offer for everyone is their visual guide to wash hands or sanitise them properly. And yes there is a section on when and how to use masks properly. What’s more, you can download charts and slides from their website and share it with others.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India: Looking at newspapers and information on social media can be a trigger for stress to many. What information does one trust? Also, where does go looking for information specific to our country? For instance, how does one know the location of the nearest testing lab and sample collection center? What are the helpline numbers for various states? What all measures is our government taking to monitor this outbreak and to segregate infected passengers flying into the country from abroad?
All such vital localised information is available on the MoH’s official website. You can also follow them on Twitter or other platforms where they are posting updates on measures being taken to clamp the coronavirus outbreak, latest government directives and sharing links for numbers of testing labs, helplines, etc.
Here’s where you shouldn’t be looking for information. At all.
WhatsApp family group: Unless you have a trained medical professional offering authentic advice, or if someone is sharing links from the above stated and other reliable sources, we suggest that you steer clear of WhatApp altogether for information on coronavirus. Don’t ditch hygiene practices because some garlic chewing long lost uncle told you that a trail mix of laung, elaichi, garlic and haldi is guaranteed to ward off COVID-19. We are not discrediting home remedies altogether mind you, but don’t you think it is too risky to leave your well-beings in hands of nuskhas that have zero backing from science?
Indian Politicians: A BJP MLA in Assam said recently that “cow dung can destroy the coronavirus,” reports the Deccan Herald. While speaking at an event in Uttarakhand, Yogi Adityanath, CM of Uttar Pradesh said the following, “…if a person overcomes mental illness, then he/she will not suffer from blood pressure, heart attack, kidney failure, liver disfunction, or even Coronavirus. He will be able to keep himself fit and healthy.”
If there was one time for even the most ardent of politically inclined people in our country, to stop taking health advice from our politician, it is today. All the work being put by governments at the center and state level to prepare the nation to deal with coronavirus comes undone to an extent when politicians take it upon themselves to give misplaced tips on health. They have a penchant for having an opinion on any and everything, and that opinion is not essentially based on authentic information.
So give health and wellbeing advice coming from politicians a miss just like you are scrolling past those fake messages in your family chat groups.
Social media: The barrage of fake messages, no matter how well-intentioned isn’t limited to one social networking platform. So while social media may be the quickest way to get information and connect with others, think twice before believing what you read and share with others. Just a few days ago there was a big debate on whether hand sanitizers offer effective protection against coronavirus or not, creating massive confusion. It took trusted resources and some time to sort out the issue. A similar thing happened with masks. Which masks to use, are they reusable, who needs to use them? Everybody had their two cents to offer, only adding to the panic.
Social media chaos can create confusion and since we are dealing with a pandemic here, it isn’t advisable to go by every word you hear from a “friend of a friend of a friend” who is a trusted source. Ask your doctor. If they are not sure, ask for answers from Community healthcare providers or better still, leave a question with above mentioned trusted sources. The answers may take time to come, but they will be certain, besides you aren’t the only with such a query, so have a little patience.
Do you think we have missed out something on this list? Do leave behind your suggestions in the comments section.