Public panic remains high with news of COVID-19 cases released daily across the world. New Zealand’s first imported case was diagnosed within the last few weeks and, following the news, many supermarkets and pharmacies were emptied of stock. The PM immediately issued a warning: this is not a cause for stockpiling and the COVID case was being well managed. Likewise, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a ‘back to basics’ document for the rational use of personal protection, encouraging the public not to panic buy and stockpile.

Avoiding the hype and sourcing genuine facts can be tricky due, in part, to the level of coverage and attention world events receive in today’s media. Sensationalism sells and online journalism makes money through fancy advertising and clickbait headings designed to spread as efficiently as the disease itself.

The World Health Organisation has released this statement regarding cyber security to ensure health based communication is used for wellbeing and not by those who are out to scam and steal.

In the midst of the hype, it is important to heed the call to calm. The only reliable sources in a time where panic is monopolised are authorities such as The WHO, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local government departments, such as the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the Australian Department of Health.

Sourcing credible COVID-19 news

Sourcing credible news is not as difficult as it sounds, and could be as simple as swapping out trending Facebook feeds for health department websites, updated daily by health professionals. The Australian and New Zealand governments have been proactive in providing all necessary information by way of COVD19 landing pages, and the NZ ministry offers a Chinese version to ensure information is easily accessible. 

Media platforms such as Twitter are being used by these authorities to disseminate priority information and ensure everyone receives the same basic message of hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

Alongside health officials, the scientific community are rallying to ensure COVID-19 is thoroughly researched and reported on in a timely manner. There are more than 20 vaccines in development worldwide and the WHO expects to have more of an understanding on COVID-19 over the next two weeks as clinical trials are complete.

The words of the 1939 British government still seem appropriate in our current day: keep calm and carry on.

If you’re looking for credible information sources on COVID-19:

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