With so much information circulating so quickly, it’s hard to tell what’s true. It’s easy — and normal — to feel stressed or scared. But it’s very important to have the real, up-to-date facts and to not fall for sensational headlines and hype media.
There’s a lot of misinformation flying around social media. Some of it is flawed, and some is simply wrong. This is why it is very important to check where the information is coming from. News outlets all get their information from somewhere, and instead of relying on what they choose to relay to the public, sometimes it’s better to go straight to the source.
Reliable Sources for COVID-19 Updates
- World Health Organization (WHO) — The WHO is a branch of the United Nations. They are the standard for disease control, health care, and medicine. You can trust anything from the WHO to be accurate, up-to-date, and objective.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — The CDC is the leading public health institute in the United States, and is also a federal agency under the Department of Health. Their situation summary (linked) will guide you through prevention and containment efforts in the US. It is updated very regularly.
- Minnesota Department of Health — Of course, don’t forget our own Department of Health! Their web site offers exhaustive information on what the state is doing, timely updates, and resources for anyone who wants them.
- Minnesota Governor’s Office — Find the latest executive orders issued by the Governor of Minnesota during this declared Peacetime Emergency.
- City of Saint Paul — The City of Saint Paul shared updates on closings of Saint Paul libraries, recreation centers, and parks during this outbreak. Saint Paul Mayor Carter also explains what the city is doing to support residents as he declared a state of local emergency.
Each of these resources is an excellent guide for what is going on and how each of us can take precautions to stay healthy. We’ve read through these and have made a list of some key Dos and Don’ts, as well as some of the common misinformation that is floating around.
COVID-19 Dos and Don’ts
- Wash your hands often! This is the easiest way we can help slow the spread and avoid passing COVID-19 to others, or having it passed to you. The CDC has a thorough guide for when and how to wash hands here.
- Practice good coughing and sneezing etiquette. Cough and sneeze into your elbow so it is contained and your hands remain clean. The CDC has a guide for coughing and sneezing etiquette here.
- Practice social distancing. This means don’t go out unnecessarily. Avoid large gatherings. Try to keep six feet away from people if you can. This includes even religious services, birthday parties, weddings, and other special events. This infographic, obtained from the University of Minnesota, gives a detailed explanation for the hows and whys of social distancing.
- Remember to thank public health workers. Doctors, nurses, medical and nursing assistants, and janitorial staff are just a few of the people who are at the forefront of this issue, facing the most difficult situations so we don’t have to.
- Buy excess supplies. We know that many fear a lock-down situation, leading to empty shelves at groceries everywhere. But remember that a lock-down is not our situation. Social distancing doesn’t mean isolation with no end in sight. If we all act with our community’s needs in mind, we will all benefit.
- Panic. To be clear, don’t panic. Practicing good hygiene and social distancing are effective prevention methods. Also remember that COVID-19 cases range in severity. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild.
- Forget our community. We are, as a community, all in this together. It is unfortunate that many Asian-American members of our community have faced discrimination and harassment based in fear and prejudice. Remember that COVID-19 affects us all. This is an opportunity for us to support our neighbors and strengthen our community.
By taking appropriate measures, we can all help each other stay safe and healthy. If the news cycle of quarantines, school closings, and event cancellations feels overwhelming, remember — it is all preventative and much of it is preemptive. Our efforts, combined with efforts of public health officials, will get us through.
Lastly, remember to combat misinformation. There’s a lot of myths swirling around COVID-19, so it’s hard to make sense of things. Here are some common misconceptions, originally posted by the WHO.
5 Common Misconceptions About COVID-19
- Myth: Cold weather kills COVID-19.
Fact: As evidenced by cases here in Minnesota, COVID-19 can survive cold weather.
What can I do? Practice good hygiene, wash hands thoroughly and often, and practice social distancing as much as you can.
- Myth: COVID-19 can be transmitted through mosquito bites.
Fact: COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.
What can I do? Remind others when relevant and continue to practice good COVID-19 etiquette.
- Myth: Hand dryers kill COVID-19.
Fact: Hand dryers do not kill or prevent COVID-19.
What can I do? Again, wash your hands thoroughly and often and practice good hygiene.
- Myth: Previously-administered vaccines are also effective against COVID-19.
Fact: COVID-19 is new and different enough that there is no vaccine as of now, and no previously-made vaccines are effective.
What can I do? Follow updates on vaccine development to keep yourself and others informed. Human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine have already begun in the US. Also remember that we have made such rapid progress thanks to research done in and made public by Chinese doctors and researchers.
- Myth: Antibiotics are effective against COVID-19.
Fact: COVID-19 is a virus. Antibiotics are used against bacteria, so they would have no effect on COVID-19.
What can I do? Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and practice good hygiene and social distancing!
Yes, things may seem scary and uncertain right now. All the changes may be overwhelming. But remember that the world is working together to fight the challenge. Remember that we, as a community, can help each other. The CDC has a good infographic for keeping safe and healthy. Maintain good habits and encourage others to do the same, and everyone will be a lot better for it.
If you have questions, call the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 Hotline:
School and child care questions:
651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you need immediate assistance from a KOM staff member, call one of our numbers on our current on-call schedule.