8 Resources for Reliable Information About Coronavirus
Why Global Citizens should care:
The response to the coronavirus pandemic is threatened by misinformation, putting the health of individuals and the public at greater risk — for example, through the sharing of unsubstantiated medical advice. We can all play a part in limiting the spread of dangerous misinformation, through ensuring we only use reliable resources, and don't share fake news on. You can join our Together At Home campaign against coronavirus by taking action here.
By Helen Lock
During a global pandemic like COVID-19, it’s not surprising that we are seeing a lot of conflicting information flying around, and particularly on social media.
Some of the news and updates we are consuming at the moment will be well-sourced and backed up by experts – but a lot of what you’re seeing could well just be rumours and speculation.
Misinformation undermines global efforts to follow good health and hygiene practices, and can put both individuals and the wider public at greater risk.
It can sometimes be hard to tell which is which in this kind of scenario, but it’s really important that myths and misinformation are debunked to ensure good global health — and that we all play a part in making sure we’re sharing information that is accurate.
Here is a list of resources to turn to when you are looking for answers about coronavirus. If you’re not sure about something you’ve heard or read online, you can double-check it with a trusted source before sharing it on.
1. The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is publishing rolling updates on the coronavirus situation as well as useful infographics and explainers, and should be your first port of call for new assessments of what is going on.
The WHO has also got a really handy page on common coronavirus myths — covering everything from whether eating garlic or taking a bath can help prevent you catching it (they can’t), to discussion about what age people are most susceptible.
2. The National Health Service
The UK’s NHS is another excellent resource. It includes easy to understand advice about symptoms, and what to do if you think you have them.
It also gives details of how and under which circumstances you need to self-isolate, and for how long, and on how to get a self-isolation medical advice note to get to your employer.
3. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has collated a lot of useful information and resources on COVID-19, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you’re sick, as well as information about travel, schools and childcare, and for businesses and employers.
There are also regular news updates, and a map of cases reported so far in the US. You can also sign up for email updates.
4. The BBC Coronavirus Podcast
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched a Coronavirus Global Update podcast, which includes a daily round-up on the spread of coronavirus.
It also includes reports from affected areas, details of the latest medical information, and the impact on health, business, and travel.
5. COVID-19 Facts
The COVID-19 Facts website works to collate information from sources including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Health Organization, and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
It also features a series covering myths around coronavirus, including analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit of where the myth came from, and what experts say about it.
6. The New Scientist Podcast
The New Scientist podcast is becoming increasingly focused on COVID-19 — including episodes and pandemic preparations; the spread of COVID-19 and the importance of hand washing; the coronavirus vaccine; and a coronavirus special on disaster preparation and environmental change.
7. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The content platform of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Optimist, is sharing stories, research, and news stories about coronavirus from the Foundation.
The platform works to convene expert voices from across the global health sector, including sharing expert perspectives and updates on the response to COVID-19 — and you can also sign up for the Optimist’s news digest.
8. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
The LSHTM launched its new podcast LSHTM Viral in January 2020, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, and is releasing a new episode every week. It specifically focuses on the science behind outbreaks and how we respond to them.
Meanwhile, the LSHTM is also launching an online short course, for those who want to better understand the emergence of COVID-19, and how we respond to it moving forward.
The free-of-charge course launches on March 23, and will cover topics like: how COVID-19 emerged and was identified; public health measures worldwide; and what’s needed to address COVID-19 in the future.