COVID-19: Your responsibility

As society is confronting the novel CoronaVirus, you’re probably sitting at your home, surrounded by constant circulation of news, statistics, opinions on how to deal with the virus, conspiracy theories and apocalyptic visions. 

If you’re feeling extra anxious these days due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, you’re not alone. This pandemic has us all facing more stress and uncertainty than usual. It also has many of us asking: How do we keep from spiralling into a full-blown panic? 

Understand your nature.

The biggest contribution you can possibly have is to understand your behaviour in these stressful conditions. 

When we are in a group of a large size – such as social media, it is incredibly easy for us to adopt collective emotions or ideas, and end up spreading rumours or chaos. 

Your greatest weapon against this is your rationality.

Is stockpiling supplies rational? Is this information credible? Do I feel afraid or paranoid all the time?

These kinds of questions will help you steer away from irrational decisions and group-driven emotions.

Remember that your anxious state isn’t permanent. When you are in it, anxiety always feels as though it will never end, but it will. It’s hard to remember this, but do try. It’s a worrying time, and many of us will have loved ones who might be showing symptoms, but the tendency to jump to the worst-case scenario very rarely reflects reality. Be kind to yourself, and as cliché, as it may sound, this too shall pass.

Become socially responsible.

Social responsibility is defined as the duty of an individual to his or her community and environment as a whole. 

By understanding your nature and innate flaws you are now one step closer to social responsibility. 

You become socially responsible when you learn the official medical advice and apply it to your lifestyle. The Corona Virus belongs to a large family of viruses that cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory conditions. It spreads via droplets when people sneeze or cough.

Despite our medical technology and capabilities, there is little we can do against the exponential growth of a virus that we have no vaccine against. With no control measures our hospitals will be flooded and our already vulnerable members of the community in severe risk. Therefore the only measures that we can take are social distancing and hygiene. Whether by maintaining a distance between yourself and the people you encounter or avoiding crowded or partially crowded places, social gatherings, and transportation means altogether; social distancing, combined with hygiene, can prevent our health systems from failing and buy us valuable time to develop a vaccine.

Social Panic.

Regardless of ethnicity and economic, social, or technological development, history tells us that when a crisis happens, people start to panic.

A panic combined with a lack of credible knowledge manifests in the form of sharp, emotional reactions in the face of unpredictable events. 

Help share the message, not the panic.

Avoid fake news. The internet has been full of fake news and alarming messages that are nowhere near true, so try and achieve a healthy balance by sticking to factual data, e.g. World Health Organization (WHO), rather than some of the emotionally driven websites. Don’t jump to conclusions or be fatalistic; work with facts! Look at the information available. Avoid scaremongering language like ‘plague’, ‘pandemic’, ‘death toll’ etc that only serve to feed anxiety.

Staying Safe 

According to the World Health Organization, regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain at least 1-meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Avoid physical contact when greeting.

Heighten your scepticism around any piece of information you hear and only put your trust in scientific and medical expertise.

Breaking the myths.

According to the World Health Organization:

-To date, there is no vaccine to prevent or cure COVID-2019.

-There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19.

-Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask.

-Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care.

Don’t forget that you are human.

A part of being human is contracting illnesses. Do not discriminate against or disrespect individuals if they originate from a severely infected region or have contracted the disease themselves.

In the end, we implore you all, temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. 

We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. 

Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek the truth, facts, and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing. 

In the end as TEDxGUC community, we would like to extend a heartful thank you to each doctor, nurse and anyone working day and night throughout this crisis and keeping everyone’s life safe.

Originally Written by: Mohamed Amr and Roaa Wael

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