You need not look far for a staggering amount of advice and admonitions about what to do to protect yourself from the coronavirus. It can be overwhelming, to the point that an equally mind-boggling number of articles and websites have cropped up specifically to debunk or clarify a lot of this misinformation.
In actual fact, there are really only three things you need to remember, each of which has only three words. Taken together, this will form a solid foundation for fighting the pandemic, both personally and community-wide.
Ready? Here it is:
- Wash Your Hands.
- Practice physical distancing.
- Ignore social media.
Let’s break it down, though it really is every bit as simple as the nine words above.
Wash Your Hands.
Do it well. Do it often. Don’t let up. The importance of good, proper handwashing with soap and water cannot be overstated. Wash vigorously for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself twice if you lose track of time), and do this regularly every day, particularly after being outside, using the bathroom, and before and after handling food. The whole “wash your hands” mantra extends to practicing excellent all-around household hygiene, too.
Practice Physical Distancing.
We get it. This is hard. People are social creatures, and we crave human companionship when denied it. Nevertheless, this isn’t forever, and experts say that six to eight weeks of physical distancing is what’s necessary to break the rampant community transmission of Covid-19. The key is to stay home unless it is genuinely necessary to go out, and when you do leave the house, you must – as grim as this sounds – look at everyone else as being positive for Covid-19. You need not socially isolate yourself from other people, just maintain a safe distance (1-2 metres, depending on whose advice you’re taking.) Physical distancing doesn’t just protect you personally, it protects everyone around you. And when we all engage in this as a community, IT WORKS. If you’re unclear about what this all entails, here’s everything you need to know.
Ignore Social Media.
This cannot be stressed enough: Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram are not solid, reliable sources for news at the best of times, let alone in a global crisis. At the very least, ignore forwarded messages and emails from your friends and acquaintances. At most, scold them for having forwarded them. Some are so ridiculous, they’re laughable. But some are actually dangerous. Sadly this isn’t limited to social media, but even includes suggestions baselessly given by US President Trump and Malaysia’s Minister of Health. If someone forwards you a message without a clear, credible source (including a link that you can verify), ignore it. One going around just today was that Western countries are seeing faster spread of the virus because people there like to eat salads, and the virus can live on vegetables for up to 48 hours. Not only is there no scientific or medical evidence to support this, how is there possibly any benefit to anyone in spreading around something like this? Don’t be part of the problem. Stop spreading pointless, unverified, and harmful messages.
Remember, the positive actions each of us take not only serve to keep us individually safe, they work cumulatively to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect our friends, families, and neighbours. So remember that you have something to Wash, something to Practice, and something to Ignore!
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