Death and pestilence, the horsemen of apocalypse: A cautionary tale

By Praveen Malik

Life as we know it changed in the last few weeks and it probably won’t be the same for months to come. We all recently woke up in a different reality and plane of existence. With most of our institutions closed, the world economy on its knees, unemployment skyrocketing and our eyes glued to the screens foraging for updates, many of us have started to ask some very fundamental and existential questions: What now? What’s next? Is this the end? Uncertainty and tension are all around us and tightening their grip.

To make matters worse, apart from the virus itself, another dangerous enemy is lurking around the corner and that is misinformation. For many of us who have been trying to get accurate news and information, we have been plagued by too many untruths and falsehoods. So, to not disorient ourselves, we need to focus on the basics and not get carried away by the false allegories and metaphors. For solid health and medical advice, go to a reputable and reliable source of information of healthcare services professionals, responsible and well-established news organizations and not celebrities or loud-mouthed media personality know-it-alls who generally don’t know what they are talking about. Mayhem and pandemonium are not what anyone wants and can be avoided. Clarity of thought and educating ourselves is on the agenda.

Death and pestilence ride again, and with them, the scavengers and snake oil vendors are back: Eat this, drink that, and do such and such; people making such claims are mostly swindlers and quacks claiming to have miracle cures. These are mostly people running clickbait ads and dodgy sites to get donations, and are shamelessly fishing for likes. They are nothing but the carrion birds looking to make a pretty penny in time of crisis.

As controversial and counter-intuitive as it may sound, for many of us, not doing anything and staying at home may be the best service you can provide to society and the world. Unfortunately, things will likely get worse before they get better. Some of us may have a strong urge and impulse to go out and help; however, if you don’t have a clue what to do, then just stay put. In this time of calamity, it is not dastardly, but rather wise to keep out of range, especially if you are not prepared. You may end up doing more harm than good. Inform yourself better and be ready before you go out and tame the dragon. Also, beware of the local reality as each zone is impacted differently.

Below are some links that may be useful, and, depending on your proclivity and penchant, you may use one or another.  There is a bit of something for everyone from the holistic-minded to those who want to know how deep the rabbit hole is. Let us send a clear message to the horsemen and let them know that their horses will tire soon, and their journey will come to an end.  We will persevere.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-basics/faq (start here)

https://covidvisualizer.com/  (global overview of the situation)

https://www.nejm.org/  (under the hood and deep dive)

https://www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)

https://www.thelancet.com/  (for the scientific-minded)

https://www.gov.pl/web/koronawirus (Polish Ministry of Health updates)

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 (World Health Organization)

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd  (Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Situation Dashboard)

Image: https://www.scientificanimations.com/wiki-images/

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Praveen Malik is from the United Kingdom. He is a graduate of the Medical University of Łódź, Clark University and the University of Social Sciences.