The Coronavirus Pandemic: Not The Only Danger We Have To Face
POST BY MY PHAN
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is the new global plague, and we are nowhere near ready for it. Governments are predominantly lacking in resources to prevent it from spreading in the first place, hence the severity of it, and we can only hope it doesn’t take a turn for the worse. And it’s clear as day that the people are overreacting and unnecessarily panicking. Remember the fight between 3 Australian women over toilet paper? That all happened because there’s another enemy in the lurk that we have yet to deal with: Lack of public awareness. Are we doomed?
The terrible consequences
Unfortunately, Coronavirus isn’t the only thing spreading uncontrollably right now. Fake news is everywhere and it’s exacerbating the situation. The reason why so many people are stockpiling and fighting over essential supplies is false information about how their governments will order a lockdown and force people into quarantine. Other than that, there were also pieces of fake news about people dying from Covid-19, making people panic and overreact.
Why is mal-information being spread? First of all, we are gullible. Our level of media literacy is still rather low and we don’t have the essential skills to tell fake news from authentic news. Second, ill-meaning individuals and organizations are purposefully spreading false information, either as a means of making money or just to raise panic. Whatever they do, be it for business for other evil reasons, leaves terrible consequences.
Facebook is actively trying to fact-check posts on the platform. Other social media networks have also taken measures to limit the spread of misinformation. But there’s only so much these websites and apps can do, it’s impossible to track down all of the fake news posters, especially those in private social media groups.
Racism and xenophobia
The novel Coronavirus has sparked unjust discrimination against Asian people, considering it originated from Wuhan, China.
Lack of public awareness, as well as prejudice has been causing danger to Asians living in Western countries and will continue to. Many people are being as ridiculous as refusing to be treated by Asian doctors for fear of catching the virus from them. Other Asians don’t have it as easy, unfortunately, getting assaulted while minding their own business, or just for wearing a mask – which is something you are highly advised to do. For example, on February 22, an elderly man was attacked in San Francisco’s Bayview, just because he was Asian. And no, that’s not the only case since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Even The New York Times, a supposedly prestigious newspaper, showed a negative attitude towards the measures taken by China to battle against the pandemic. Take a look at the 2 articles posted on the same day, it feels like they have multiple personalities.
Needless to say, what’s happening is wrong, and it’s absurd to be disrespectful towards a whole race or nation for something they have no control over, and also because the Coronavirus is happening all over the world.
The epidemic of mental health problems is getting worse
Just being quarantined for weeks, alone, without physical contact with other human beings is enough to drive some people insane. Yes, that was kind of an exaggeration, but it still holds true for a minority of us, who are already suffering from mental health issues.
And when gullible civilians are bombarded with shocking fake news, they are more prone to panicking and spread the terror with others. Parents of abroad students, especially those in European countries, are worried sick right now. No one deserves to be put in such a situation.
And by unnecessarily panicking, some people are more likely to suffer from anxiety or insomnia, leading to many other health problems. And just in case it hasn’t been made clear, medical systems are barely struggling against the pandemic with inadequate resources.
Are any of these necessary?
But hang on, there’s still hope.
People are more actively seeking information about the Coronavirus
According to Google trends, these are the 5 top questions asked on Coronavirus last week in the US:
- How did the Coronavirus start?
- What is the Coronavirus?
- How many cases of Coronavirus in the US?
- How long does Coronavirus last?
- How many people have died from Coronavirus?
And these are the 5 most searched “How to” questions on Google, last week in the US:
- How to get tested for Coronavirus?
- How to treat Coronavirus?
- How to prevent Coronavirus?
- How to make hand sanitizer?
- How to prepare for Coronavirus?
And also a lot of people were inquiring about whether Tom Hanks was infected or not.
So things are finally looking up! It’s good to see people making an effort to learn more about the pandemic. And the fact that most of the viral content lately is digestible is truly a blessing. We can see that awareness is higher now, people are being more careful with news they see, and most importantly, they know better how to take care of themselves and others now. Social distancing is being positively practiced!
That said, we shouldn’t just stop there. We need a wider coverage and a more diverse amount of content and learning methods!
E-learning is the answer!
Schools and public libraries all over the world are shut down for the time being, so our educational paradigm is being shifted towards learning online. Students are attending classes online now, and the Internet inarguably has become our go-to source of updated information.
The good news is there are countless sources of information to help people become more aware of the problem and their responsibility. The predominant format of educational content like that are usually infographics/ whiteboard videos/ animated videos with animated characters that go viral. If this isn’t the best method to appeal to a large amount of quarantined audience, I don’t know what is.
And that is exactly what the people need right now – more educational, credible and fun learning materials! Self-educating needs to be fun, otherwise it’s just another form of torture. Remember what I said about people panicking and are more prone to mental health problems? If we keep our heads cool, we are more rational and can deal with fake news and prejudices cautiously and independently. And when everyone is level-headed, it’s not surprising to see them stop overreacting to everything. That’s probably the first thing we need to do amidst the pandemic – stay calm, as demonstrated in this very captivating animation.
While we’re at it, why don’t we all sit down and rewatch our favorite new videos on the Coronavirus? Remember when a Vietnamese parody song got broadcasted on John Oliver’s show? This is it – a song about what you should do to prevent the spreading of the disease (which is washing your hands and social distancing):
How about an excellently researched and executed animated video from Kurzgesagt about how the Coronavirus functions, the consequences it brings about and what we can do to achieve a happy ending. Really, it’s an incredible watch.
These 2 videos from AsapSCIENCE are also very informative and were quick to be released, right from the very start of the pandemic. Be it about the symptoms or the consequences the virus causes, you need to watch it ASAP.
There’s nothing easier to digest than a beautifully animated and informative video like that, which is also budget-friendly to produce by the way. So frankly, besides essential medical supplies like masks and hand sanitizers, we definitely need more educational animations!
We’re still in the middle of pandemic’s peak, so there’s still a long way to go. But while we wait for doctors and researchers to do their job, why don’t we help them by staying calm, educating ourselves with beautiful and fun learning materials?
Make the most of the quarantine, and don’t waste your time! Spend it on doing meaningful things please!