A extremely special edition of Happy Mail concerning the latest news of a global scale!
Hello, everyone! Happy Mail is back, but this time, we have a very special topic that’s dominating the headlines around the world 🙂 Today, I’m going to devote a little bit of our time to talking about COVID-19, the virus that causes it, and what we can do to help slow (and hopefully prevent) the spread of the virus in our communities.
Because there’s a lot to cover today, I’m going to plop a little table of contents here that lists each section of today’s Happy Mail. That way, you can read whichever bits you want without reading all the rest, if you so wish, but I would recommend reading everything to keep yourselves well informed and to see the cute pictures!
table of contents
- What is COVID-19?
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- How can I tell if I have the virus?
- If I get COVID-19, will I be okay?
- Where did the virus come from?
- How do I avoid getting COVID-19? What can I do to slow the spread?
- What can I do while I practice social distancing?
- How can I help people in highly-affected areas?
- Is there a cure? What are the scientists doing?
- COVID-19 and the coronavirus on the blog
I will also leave links to all of my sources on the information I share in today’s post!
What is COVID-19?
The coronavirus disease 2019 (or COVID-19) is the disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. Prior to its naming by the World Health Organization (WHO), it was known as the 2019 novel coronavirus. The virus that causes COVID-19 is commonly called in the media as the COVID-19 virus, as in the virus that causes the disease, while the official and much longer name is the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (or SARS-CoV-2).
However, contrary to what some may think, COVID-19 is not the flu (influenza) or a worse version of it. While the symptoms may be similar to the flu, it has been determined that it is different in how fast it spreads and who is most at risk.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
According to the WHO, the common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
– And dry cough
Some patients may have:
– Aches and pains
– Nasal congestion
– Runny nose
– Sore throat
– Or diarrhea
The symptoms start off small and build up. If you or someone you know starts to show flu-like symptoms, take them to the doctor just in case!
More symptoms can be found on the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Government of Canada’s page on the disease, and the Q&A page about the disease/virus from the WHO.
How can I tell if I have the virus?
Some people can become infected with the virus but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. If you do feel unwell, check with the symptoms above and see if you match multiple items on the list(s), then go see your doctor! Medical professionals can give you a more accurate diagnosis of your health and/or direct you to places or resources where you can receive specific help.
If I get COVID-19, will I be okay?
Around 80% of people will recover from the disease without needing special treatment (ie, mild symptoms), according to the WHO. Older people, immunocompromised people, and those with underlying medical problems are more likely to develop serious illness and be more affected by the disease.
Want to know what happens in your body if you get COVID-19? Watch this video by AsapSCIENCE on how viruses work and spread, including the coronavirus, and how your body fights them off.
Where did the virus come from?
As observed by the media, the coronavirus first started to infect large amounts of people in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In the past months, it has quickly spread to over 100 countries, with Europe being the new epicentre of cases. As of March 26th, 2020, the number of cases and deaths outside of China has surpassed the number in China itself.
Contrary to the Internet theory of the coronavirus being developed in a lab and released, scientists have found that the virus closely resembles some viruses found in bats and pangolins and it is theorized that this is how the virus jumped from human to animal. Scientists have yet to determine the exact origin of the coronavirus.
How do I avoid getting COVID-19? What can I do to slow the spread?
The WHO says to do the following things that can help you protect yourself against contracting the virus and spreading it to others:
– Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub (like hand sanitizer). Try to rub your hands with for at least 20 seconds;
– Maintain social distancing (1 meter / 3 feet) with others. While the virus spreads from person-to-person contact in a 6-foot (1.8 meters) radius, social distancing will greatly help reduce the chance of the virus passing from person to person;
– Wear a mask when out in public
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you have not washed your hands recently;
– Practice respiratory hygiene, ie covering your mouth/nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze and disposing of the used tissue immediately.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breaking, seek medical care early. Identifying what illness/disease you have, even if it’s not COVID-19, and then immediately taking the actions to prevent yourself from spreading it will help keep COVID-19 contained as much as possible.
What can I do while I practice social distancing?
Your friendly neighborhood medicine cat, Iceflower, is glad you asked! I’m here to provide you with several FREE resources to help pass the time while we wait for this to pass. Please ask your parents for permission before signing up for anything.
- Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone is offering 3 months of their award-winning language classes to kids K-12. You could learn French, Russian, Arabic and more! https://www.rosettastone.com/freeforstudents/
- Audible: Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon, is offering free access to select children’s and YA books for as long as schools are closed. https://stories.audible.com/discovery
- Scribd: With a 30 day free trial of Scribd, you’ll have access to plenty of ebooks audiobooks, from children’s to YA to classics. (They even have Warriors!) https://www.scribd.com/?lohp=2
- Headspace: Headspace is offering up some handy meditations and exercises. https://www.headspace.com/covid-19
- Coursera and edX: Several top universities, including Yale, Harvard and Stanford, have free classes available to audit. Duke even has one on dog cognition and behavior! https://www.businessinsider.com/free-online-courses-from-best-colleges
How can I help people in highly-affected areas?
First and foremost, don’t hoard resources. It’s tempting and comforting to do so because it’ll bring security that you and your family will last through the pandemic, even if you’re holed up in your house for a week or two. However, resources like N95 face masks, which are the most common and most needed face masks, are used by those infected and their medical practitioners and they need them the most because they’re coming in frequent contact with other infected people. Hoarding those items takes those resources away from those who are working on the frontlines to combat the pandemic, so only buy the amount you need. If you are sick or someone you live with is, whether it’s with COVID-19 or not, use a mask to prevent your/their illness from spreading to others.
Another way you can help other people is through donations to programs, funds, and charities that are working to help others during the pandemic. There are many people in the world who may not have as much wealth or resources that you do, and these donations will go a long way to helping them make it through the pandemic. Even if you yourself or your family don’t have the money or resources to spare, you can tell other people about ways that they can help! Here’s a list of places where you can get started:
– WHO’s COVID-19 Response Fund
– The International Committee of the Red Cross, an organization that works to ensure humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence (British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, American Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, Chinese Red Cross (website is in Mandarin));
– CanadaHelps’s list of Canadian organizations providing aid to affected areas and response efforts in Canada and abroad;
– FidelityCharitable’s list of U.S.A. organizations focused on national and abroad relief and support efforts;
– Doctors Without Borders (Médicins Sans Frontières), who volunteer their time and lives to helping people around the world who are in need of medical aid;
– Little Village, a British organization that works similarly to foodbanks but for clothing/toys/equipment for children up to the age of 5;
– Beauty Banks, a British organization that works similarly to foodbanks but for personal care and hygiene items for UK residents living in poverty;
– Local homeless shelters;
– Your local food bank and/or food bank organization (The Trussel Trust and Sufra (UK), Food Banks Canada (Canada), Feeding America (USA),);
Lastly, one of the most important things you can do during this pandemic is keeping yourself well-informed from non-biased sources on the pandemic, the virus and COVID-19. Fear and panic adds onto the stress we feel from this ordeal and it’s so easy to learn and trust statements that might not be true, like the source of the virus or possible cures. Be careful of what you hear or read from the media. If the media source you’re hearing something from isn’t citing a medical/health-centred source, like the World Health Organization (WHO) or a country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), take what they’re saying with some healthy skepticism until you can confirm that their information is aligned and accurate to what the medical/health-centred sources are saying.
Is there a cure? What are the scientists doing?
Unfortunately, as of today (March 26, 2020), there is no known cure for COVID-19 or a vaccine to help prevent COVID-19 from developing in your body if you contract the virus. However, scientists and researchers around the world are hard at work at developing both, as well as trying to find the origin of the virus, and it’s only a matter of time before they succeed 🙂 Right now, they need all the support they can get in their efforts and we’re the ones who can give them that support, so don’t give up hope!
COVID-19 and the coronavirus on the blog
These are scary times for everyone on the blog, no matter where you live. As such, BlogTeam will be monitoring comments about the coronavirus ad COVID-19 very carefully since we don’t want to add onto the paranoia around it and we also don’t want to be spreading around false information about either of them. We will step in every once in a while to correct information if you’re suggesting something to someone only if we see that the suggestion is false or ineffective. As of right now, and to the end of the pandemic, the coronavirus and COVID-19 are to be considered mature topics on the blog and not all comments made about them will be moderated just in case. We’d rather err on the side of safety and keeping everyone well informed rather than spread false information 🙂
These are trying times for everyone so I hope this edition of Happy Mail has helped you learn more about the situation and what we can do about it. No matter how dire things seem right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel and there are people hard at work on getting us there 🙂 In the meantime, we need to do our best to stay safe and support those who need our help 😀
Sending love from Canada and wishing you good health,