Basic information on Covid-19 pandemic
Figuring out how to help
The very first step is to understand what we are up against. The first rule of first aid is not to put yourself at risk when approaching a casualty. When rules no longer work in a new unexpected situation, people need to know how to construct new ways of working, rather than find out the hard way, that, with the best will in the world, they did something wrong.
Here I list the official sources of information, which are the most up to date. As the virus jumps across the world, best advice moves on several steps a day, meaning that everything else on the subject ages very fast and that those in charge at a local level will necessarily lag a bit as they deal with the peaks of infection.
I also list the best available information I have been able to find, most of which references and is informed by the official sources.
- One way to help is to join the massive online world wide community which is making the best information accessible to as many people as possible, so that everyone can feel as if everyone knows what everyone is up against, and nobody is put at a disadvantage by simply not understanding things or by accepting information which is false, ill informed, or simply out of date. The community which is hardest to reach is the offline community, to whom we must simply talk.
- In the UK the section of the population least likely to be online is older people. Information about Covid-19 set out specifically for this group can be found at Age UK. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/coronavirus/coronavirus/
- Another way to help is to report your own symptoms to a team at Guys and St Thomas Biomedical Research Centre. The data you provide on how you are feeling day to day will feed into the research which will lead to a vaccine. So many people think they might have had Covid-19, or something very like it. Well, that is what the team wants to know. Download the app here. https://covid.joinzoe.com/
World Health Organisation
World Health Organisation (WHO) is the best official source of information for everyone in the world: the medical teams working flat out across the world update the World Health Organisation with what they discover. So WHO has lots of videos and the latest developments. This is an example:
For more, please go here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
National Health Service
While the World Health Organisation has picked up the baton from China, the first country affected, so with most experience of the earliest cases, the UK’s health authority, the National Health Service is following WHO guidelines. You can find National Health Service coronavirus advice here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Responsible for and resourcing the NHS is the UK government. National Government is responsible for all things which exist at a national level. You can find Her Majesty’s Government’s advice here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Local Government and community hubs
In Peterborough, Peterborough City Council public health information is here: https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus This is where you can register as a vulnerable person, or register someone else as vulnerable. And here you can offer your services as a volunteer. And get the help you need for your business. There are also excellent campaign materials for community activists.
- And from here you can find the community hub for Peterborough, which will coordinate the community response in Peterborough. Here is Cllr John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council, explaining what the hub is. (Please note however, if you read the rest of what is on this page, especially the piece about avoiding Covid completely, please do not knock on anybody’s door without observing the strictest hygiene precautions. Letterboxes and doorbells are likely to be dangerous. Telephone and online contact are much safer!)
In other parts of the country, go here to find your local authority and elected representatives: all you need is your postcode. You will find your local authority mentioned in the first column at the top. Please find your local community hub and try to resolve a problem using the hub before you contact your local councillors (they will be exceptionally busy).
Find or build a support network
- Community support and mutual aid networks are registering with Covid-19 Mutual Aid. You can find your nearest registered group here: https://covidmutualaid.org/
- Read here how one community set up a mutual aid network. I am unable to recommend this method but I’ve not tried it, so maybe some of the concerns I’d have with this method, could be tackled by organisers before take off.
What is it like?
Can I avoid getting it completely?
Someone who has experienced life with no immune system at all explains how it can be done, and what the challenges are, here:
This beautiful, clever piece of writing shows that, provided you know your enemy, you do not need to fear it.
- Please put this blog under comments from people who are dismissing the seriousness of a virus, or who are scared.
Can I avoid getting it from my food?
- Let everyone you know who is involved in the food supply chain see this video (they might be working on a farm, picking, packaging, manufacturing, transport and retail). This group has not been well enough trained (according to my latest information). But we can help make sure that is put right by spreading the word.
Could I nurse someone who’s got it at home?
Go here for advice on this, but please note the serious cautions at the bottom of the page. https://greenerblog.blogspot.com/2020/03/how-to-nurse-covid-patient-at-home.html
- This blog also links to a Do It Yourself mask. These which are regularly used in Taiwan to avoid excessive medical waste. Learn how to make your own here. https://goodyfeed.com/diy-mask/ If you know someone stuck at home with a sewing machine and some fabrics, please let them know that they can make their own mask, and maybe go into production.
How can I prepare?
I am drafting a checklist for people to tick off. If you have suggestions for what you believe should be included in it, I’d very much welcome a comment below. If you know one which has already been written, please include a link in the comments. Thank you.