Andrew Martin: Four simple ways on how to avoid coronavirus and not panic

In the light of the news that several people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Estonia, Andrew Martin, a Tallinn-based Australian expat, gives a straightforward advice on how to avoid coronavirus and not panic.*

Now that the lovely coronavirus has inevitably crossed the Estonian border, I just wanted to post a bit of advice based on my days in infection control.

1. Do not waste your money on face masks. Honestly, anybody who owns shares in 3M and other companies must be happy that people are panic-buying face masks, but the reality is they do nothing for a healthy person. They do not provide a seal around the face, and therefore do not filter viral airborne particles. Sick people? Sure, they can wear them. But if you’re healthy, you’re just burning money.

2. Two words: Vampire cough. Or cough into your jacket. Just avoid coughing into your hands.

3. Wash your hands regularly with soap. Hand sanitiser is decent alternative.

4. If you’re worried, carry some alcohol wipes if you’re on public transport or other public areas such as ATMs, parcel lockers etc. That really isn’t an overkill.

Do these things and you have taken care of 99% of things you need to do to prevent spreading any type of anything. If you’re wondering what the other 1% is, it’s having somebody with coronavirus sneeze into your mouth. Don’t do that.

Finally, please remember the virus is serious if you are very young, very old, have a compromised immune system or other health issues. If you’re a regular person on the street and are healthy, taking these precautions will vastly reduce your already quite low risk of contracting the virus.

Just use common sense and try not to be influenced by the constant doomsday media coverage of the virus – remember, their business relies on your clicks, and the more dramatic the news is, the more likely you are to click.

* The first coronavirus case was found in Estonia on 26 February. On 12 March, the Estonian government declared an emergency situation and closed its borders on 17 March. For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.

The opinions in this article are those of the author. Cover: Civil Protection volunteers carrying out health checks at the Guglielmo Marconi Airport in Bologna, Italy (Wikipedia).

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