Coronavirus: What you need to read & watch to make sense of the pandemic

And keep yourself and others safe.

ByNL Team
Coronavirus: What you need to read & watch to make sense of the pandemic
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As the severity of the coronavirus pandemic becomes clearer, it’s imperative to ask the relevant questions. What is this new affliction? What has caused it? Is the panic it has sparked reasonable? Are we at risk? How do we keep ourselves and others safe? What should we do if we are infected? How are different countries dealing with it?

Getting answers to such questions is far from easy, for it requires navigating a sea of information, misinformation, and conspiracy theories.

We are here to help. So, here’s all you need to know about the pandemic and how to deal with it.

  • First of all, know that coronavirus is coming for you, as Tomas Pueyo explains in this article republished by Newslaundry. You cannot escape the pandemic, most likely, but you can survive it. But it would require action at the level of the individual, the community and the nation. Through charts, data and models, Pueyo details how many cases of coronavirus there are likely to be in your area, what you should do, and when? To that last question, the answer is, act now!

  • Because they did a shoddy job of containing the spread of the coronavirus, Italy and Spain are now essentially on lockdown. Britain and the United States are staring down the same path. South Korea, on the other hand, ProPublica details, has really stepped up to the plate in this crisis and is showing the rest of the world how to contain the pandemic.

  • What about India? While the number of infections is still relatively low – 112 reported cases and two deaths – India is faltering when it comes to testing and isolating the affected people.

    “India has activated 67 laboratories for conducting the first test, and 51 of those are equipped to conduct confirmatory tests, which is not even one lab per district. India has 732 districts,” the Hindu Business Line reports. “At present, cases are being reported from 13 states and union territories. In a country with a population of 1.3 billion, till now, only 6,500 throat swab samples from 5,900 individuals have been sent to these labs; at least 107 have tested positive.”

  • India also does not have enough ICU beds. So, when the number of infections starts rising– it’s a matter of when, not if – the healthcare system will be really stressed. In fact, as Rohan Venkataramakrishnan explains in Scroll, coronavirus will put all of India’s state systems to test, not just healthcare.

    How then would you keep yourself and other people safe? Through social distancing for one, as Ronak Borana explains in Newslaundry.

  • It’s easier said than done, however. Staying away from your friends, neighbours and even family members for an extended period could take a toll on your mental health, especially if you are already living with conditions like anxiety and OCD. So, how can you protect your mental health? Well, the BBC has put out a guide.

  • By now you might be wondering: how did it all start? There are countless theories, mostly bunkum. Coronavirus is a bioweapon accidentally leaked from a lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first case was reported, goes a much circulated conspiracy theory. It’s bunkum as Ronak Borana lays out in Newslaundry, presenting the evidence from genetic scientific rather than uninformed conjecture.

    Then there’s the narrative, rooted in racism and xenophobia, that blames the food habits of the Chinese people for the transmission and spread of the coronavirus. It’s debunked in this video explainer by Vox.


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