There’s a lot of information online. What should I do?
There are a lot of myths and misinformation about coronavirus being shared online ...
…including on how COVID-19 spreads, how to stay safe, and what to do if you’re worried about having contracted the virus.
So, it’s important to be careful where you look for information and advice. In addition to the guidance contained in this explainer, the World Health Organization has a useful section addressing some of the most frequently asked questions. It’s also advisable to keep up to date on travel, education and other guidance provided by your national or local authorities for the latest recommendations and news.
I’m worried about bullying, discrimination and stigmatization. What’s the best way to talk about what’s happening?
It’s understandable if you’re feeling worried about the coronavirus. But fear and stigma make a difficult situation worse. For example, there are reports emerging from around the world of individuals, particularly of Asian descent, being subject to verbal or even physical abuse.
Public health emergencies are stressful times for everyone affected. It’s important to stay informed and to be kind and supportive to each other. Words matter, and using language that perpetuates existing stereotypes can drive people away from getting tested and taking the actions they need to protect themselves and their communities.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for how to talk about the coronavirus with your children, family and friends:
DO: talk about the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
DON’T: attach locations or ethnicity to the disease. Remember, viruses can’t target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.
DO: talk about “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, “people who are recovering from COVID-19” or “people who died after contracting COVID-19”.
DON’T: refer to people with the disease as “COVID-19 cases” or “victims”.
DO: talk about people “acquiring” or “contracting” COVID-19.
DON’T: talk about people “transmitting COVID-19” “infecting others” or “spreading the virus” as it implies intentional transmission and assigns blame.
DO: speak accurately about the risk from COVID-19, based on scientific data and latest official health advice.
DON’T: repeat or share unconfirmed rumours, and avoid using hyperbolic language designed to generate fear like “plague”, “apocalypse” etc.
DO: talk positively and emphasise the importance of effective prevention measures, including following our tips on handwashing. For most people this is a disease they can overcome. There are simple steps we can all take to keep ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable safe.