With the amount of coverage that Coronavirus gets from news and social media, it comes as no surprise that people are becoming increasingly anxious about the whole situation. This is mainly because the virus is new and most of us don’t know exactly what we are dealing with.
Even though we have weathered even more potent diseases, the new Coronavirus or COVID-19 should not be brushed off lightly. It spreads easily, and in many cases, it is not just a minor inconvenience. So, here are some things that you should know, some ways on how to protect yourself while outside or at work, and some suggestions for business companies on how to act.
General Information on COVID-19
COVID-19 is a member of the Coronavirus family that was encountered for the first time in 2019. Much like other Coronavirus family members, COVID-19 comes from animals, and the symptoms of those infected can vary from mild to serious pneumonia. There are many unknowns when it comes to COVID-19, so for an effective vaccine to be developed it can take a whole year to 18 months. Fortunately, researchers managed to uncover a great deal on COVID-19:
- Typical symptoms are fever, dry cough, fatigue, and runny nose. In some cases, people may experience difficulty breathing. However, those with pre-existing conditions, a weak immune system, and elderly people, in general, will have more difficulties overcoming COVID-19. In 2% of the cases, the diseases can be fatal.
- The virus spreads easily through the mouth and/or nose droplets - or simply when someone coughs or exhales.
- The incubation period is between 1 to 14 days. Generally, it will take up to 5 days for symptoms to start manifesting.
- The risk of catching the virus from someone with no symptoms is very low. The likelihood of getting infected mainly depends on your location and its infection rate. Also, getting a virus from a package you ordered from another country is next to impossible.
On a global scale over 4,600 people have died as a result of COVID-19, and the reported number of infected is over 126,000. China, Italy, and Iran, respectively, have the highest number of infection cases, however, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 has been confirmed in almost dozens of countries all over the world. When it comes to Serbia there are some confirmed cases, and if we are not cautious, the number will likely increase.
Luckily, there are multiple ways to protect yourself and those around you that we will cover in the following section.
Means of Prevention
To avoid getting infected it would be wise to go over these guidelines:
- Wash your hands frequently using soap and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizers, just to ensure you kill off the viruses and bacteria.
- Don’t stay too close to people especially if you notice that they are coughing, sneezing or sound like they have a sore throat.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as those can be entry points for the virus.
- If you need to cough or sneeze cover your face with your elbow, or even better a disposable tissue, not your palms.
- If you are not feeling well, don’t go outside. Call your doctor and ask for instructions. In the majority of cases you won’t need a treatment, your immune system will be enough to combat the virus. Don’t rush to the hospital to get tested, because you might not have COVID-19, and you are overwhelming the medical staff, check-in with your doctor, or schedule an appointment if necessary.
- If you are not infected don’t wear a face mask, you are just wasting it. The mask is more effective if you have symptoms and want to be mindful of others. Buying these in bulk also does more harm than good, as they become unavailable for medical staff and those infected.
- Don’t panic and stress out over the situation; it's bad for your health. Also, there is no evidence that house pets can contract the virus or that it can be spread by a mosquito bite, so don’t worry about these things either.
- Finally embrace the remote working model if you wish to be on a safe side, as it limits your interaction with people.
Working from Home
Several big companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. are utilizing online tools to facilitate a remote work environment. This is good as it reduces everyone’s chance of infection, and it gives room for the incubation period to pass. This remote working period is going to last until mid-April and a lot of other companies are implementing the same suppression tactics. Furthermore, these companies will pay their staff regularly and some of them like Amazon even offer extra payment for those who have to take time off due to the infection.
If you are planning to do the same make sure you review some of the following online tools that can help with this endeavor.
- Discord, Slack, WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and Google meet - All of these are highly versatile tools for communication and coordination. You can have virtual meetings, exchange messages, create groups for specific topics and stay in touch through your working hours.
- Trello, Basecamp, Monday, Asana, etc. - All of these are project management tools that companies use to delegate tasks, track progress, and organize their workflow, which makes them perfect for remote employees.
- Top tracker, Toggle, Time Doctor and other time tracking software - You can use these tools to track time and generate reports on your time investment while operating remotely.
In other words conferencing, chatting, monitoring and project management can all be done from home, effortlessly.
As the situation is still developing and given the risk that some can experience severe consequences from COVID-19, the majority of companies should adopt the remote model. Clearly, some tasks require physical presence, but those who can work from their home should be encouraged to do so. The virus is not deadly yes, however it is our responsibility to prevent the situation from escalating. Most of these tools are free and readily available everywhere, and it would be a shame for them to remain underutilized at the time like this.
We would like to use this opportunity to announce that until further notice, all Ingsters will be working from home. Moreover, we would like to call all the other companies to join the prevention of further spreading of COVID-19 by taking these or similar actions. You can stay afloat even if you go remote. A positive attitude is all it takes to prevent the outbreaks.