COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

How can we truly understand a world pandemic?
What seems to have started in a remote region in China, has now affected all our lives and will scar us deeper than expected.
Our social interactions have always been under the menace of some sort of disease. Think about when someone would pass you his glass and say, “take a sip,” or “try it,” all of us had that little thought in the back of our mind wondering what kind of disease we were about to catch. Maybe you refused; perhaps you turned the glass, hoping not to put your lips right on that spot of the glass where some infected saliva was lurking with all that bacteria and viruses.
Our social interactions were even more alarming when we had to get intimate with a new partner, and horrifying when thinking of a one-night stand; all this is quite obvious without me having to get into the details of STDs.
The truth is that we always had to deal with this kind of obstacle. Think about your travels, when you had to book for some exotic destination, dreaming of the coral reef, swimming in the turquoise ocean, exploring the lush green jungles, or merely enjoying some new bizarre food. All this was just one of the many moments when you had to start thinking of the various diseases like malaria while exploring the jungle, dengue fever while being on a beach, or the more embarrassing diarrhea. This is the moment when vaccinations and the secret potion to avoid enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC the common cause of diarrhea) come to play a role in making you feel safe and still continue with your plans.

COVID-19, on the other hand, has all of us under a lockdown that seems doesn’t want to end. We are all in our homes listening to the news hoping for some sign that will free us from our comfy jails. But this is not going to happen simply by flipping a switch. While Trump is testing all sorts of miracle drugs and vaccines, their numbers are escalating at an alarming rate; other states are ready to open the beaches for the summer season, with what criteria, that remains a mystery; all this when the over 2.3M (updated at 7:50 of April 18, 2020  ).
What we need to understand is that our psyche will be affected for years to come.

HIV TV Spot broadcast in the 80′ in Italy

In 1980 in Italy, they started a campaign to explain how HIV was transmitted to help the population understand what the risks were and how to be protected when interacting with an HIV positive subject.
(the purple line would highlight the HIV positive subject). The TV spot would highlight an HIV positive man walking in a bar and depicting various situations, from sharing a drink to shaking a hand or simply a friendly touch on the shoulder. In all these cases, the purple line would stay around the man without spreading to the people around him. The spot continues to a second scene where the same subject would share a needle while doing drugs in a bathroom, and in this case, the scary purple line would trace the edges of the new host showing how the HIV virus was transmitted. The various TV ads would have different scenarios where they would explain sexual transmission. All of this to demonstrate that a simple handshake, sharing a drink from the same glass, or a friendly touch on the shoulder could not make the HIV spread. All this to educate the Italian population.
But COVID-19 is different. The only way to make it stop is to isolate our selves. These guidelines have been repeated over and over on the news. Businesses have stopped, people are without jobs, and the fear has been growing even faster than the numbers of confirmed cases.
This disease is making people afraid to smile and wave a friendly hello when crossing each other. Under the masks, there are frowns, fear, and hostility. While many heroes are stepping up the game to help, I’m afraid that this will hurt us more than we think. For this reason, getting informed is essential, and choosing the correct sources need to have priority for us to have a better understanding of what is going on and what to expect next. Before hoarding all the toilet paper, it would be better to get some facts straight.



Understanding the COVID-19 Pandemic

Protecting Your Health

Frequently Asked Questions

Public Health On Call