How to Flatten the Curve: Q & A on the Corona Virus in South Africa - Youth Capital
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How to Flatten the Curve: Q & A on the Corona Virus in South Africa

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To mask or not to mask?

NOT.TO.MASK..…Unless you are sick!

  • The virus is teeeeeeny tiny, so the masks you buy, or make from normal material, won’t block it out
  • Medical masks are needed by doctors and nurses to protect them from other diseases, like TB! SO don’t stock up, and leave no stock for those who need masks
  • You must try to avoid touching your face- wearing a mask usually makes people touch their face more, because they keep adjusting the mask

However, if you are sick, and need to go out and you want to prevent coughing and sneezing on others, then a mask can help.

The BEST WAY to protect yourself, is just soap and water! Wash, wash, wash- like you see them do in show’s like Grey’s Anatomy? Hand sanitizer is only good if it has alcohol in it (60% or higher)- there are a lot of recipes on the internet- don’t believe them all!

With the president’s announcement from Sunday, schools and campuses were closed today. Even though this measure is highly necessary, what could be the implications for students’ stumbling blocks later in the year?

Great question! Yes, one of the biggest problems we face in Education in South Africa is that too many of us fall behind in school/University and  get locked out of future educational or work opportunities. One of our action points at Youth Capital is #CatchUsUp! Among those of us aged 15-34, 39% are not in employment, education or training. During our school years, we need access to the right skills and support to get us back on track. Having to repeat years, whether at school, college or university, is the biggest predictor of one of us dropping out of education.

While we have to practice social distancing to flatten the curve, we can use data-light websites, resources or even WhatsApp to check on each other and perhaps tutor each other.If you live with your siblings, use the necessary precautions but check that they have homework to do every day or have story time scheduled in the evening. If you are in university, create informal groups where you can review difficult concepts.If you are a Vodacom customer, they have put out a free, data-free site with material for Grade R-12.

A side effect of Corona Virus is the widespread panic, and stress and trauma connected to it. How can we support each other during these times?

Like #CatchUsUp, #SupportUs is another point we focus on at Youth Capital under the Education pillar. As young people, we face many social, family, and economic pressures that affect and shape our success as our academic performance or the quality of teaching. We need to recognize what allows us to be fully functioning young people, to learn and be productive.If you are thinking of money please know that research shows that it’s not just about financial support, but also resources to learn, psychosocial and community support.Because of social distancing, this support can’t happen face-to-face at this stage. WhatsApp groups are great to connect us and check in with people we care about. SADAG is an organization that has great resources!

If you are worried about a friend or loved one who is struggling to cope with depression and anxiety please call the toll free number 0800 456 789 – visit their site or you you can sms 31393. The World Health organization has issued some advice on how to protect your mental health during this time as the following:

  • Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that could make you feel anxious
  • Seek information to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect your loved ones
  • Seek information updates at specific times once or twice a day

What are some of your personal tips?

  1. Don’t read news the whole day – set a time every day when you look up Corona updates
  2.  Don’t believe everything you read or every voice note that gets sent to you
  3. Get your facts from reputable sources: The Government has put together a website with reliable resources and updates 
  4.  Mute Facebook or Whatsapp groups that give you anxiety and limit time on social media (we all have that one friend 🙂
  5. Seek information that makes you feel better

Attendees were given the space to ask questions, and these were some of the ones asked.

Do we need to buy our food supply in bulk and be ready for anything? Necessities also?

There is no reason for this- people are just panicking- i would say make sure you have enough food for a couple of days to limit trips to shops, but we have been told that we should not bulk buy.

It’s hard to find hand sanitizer in stores, should we settle for hand wash?

Yes- Like I said this is best- just soap and water. I hope people will stop panicking soon so that we can all find some hand sanitizer- I also don’t have!

In a case where you have short breath but havent travelled to a high risk area it essential to do the test?

I would say if you are worried, call the hotline, they will ask you screening questions and decide if you are at risk. The line is busy though, so you may have to call a few times, but they do get to your call.

Does drinking hot water with salt or vinegar helps in the 1st 3-4 days?

There is no proof this will do anything. If you test postivethe hospital will tell you what to take and what not to take

Does getting infected guarantee ultimate death?

No, definitely not- thank goodness. So far it looks like around 3-6% or 3-6 out of 100 who get infected die. So if you are young and healthy without other conditions, you will probably recover fine.

Is there anything that we could take to boost our immune systems (herbal or medical)?

This is a new virus, so there is no research on this. It is best to eat fruits and vegatables and still try to exercise, go for a walk or do home work outs- exercise and a healthy diet are alwys good for your immune syste

Does the virus live on surfaces?

The most accurate data on this is that the virus can live on metal & plastic surfaces for 2-3 days, scientists are testing all the time, but this is the best information at this time. Sanitize your tables and surfaces all the time.

Hand sanitizer is expensive – Can we use Methylated alcohol?

Methylated spirits are 99% alcohol, so you can mix it 1:4 with water (1 cup spirits, 3 cups water). this will dry your hands though, so be careful.

Since we are advised to cough into our flexed elbows, won’t this practice cause more spread of the virus when we do “Cyril’s elbow greeting”?

We have all been saying the same thing, personally I am just waving at people from 1meter away- it is the safest!

You mentioned school support now that we cant go to school – could I ask the group what other activities we could start as a network to help us #CatchUsUp?

This question was open for the group to discuss and send suggestions. Digital solutions have a big stumbling block, the cost of fata. These are some of the contributions:

  • Homework support using digital platforms
  • Youtube educational videos.  Mindset Learn Channel 219 Content
  • Moya App that can be downloaded for free
  • Vodacom e-learning to help students
  •  Revise everything you have done at school and be ready for the exams to those who were suppose to be writing this coming month.

If I’m living in a affected area is it advisable for me to go self-isolate with family in another province/less affected region or should I just stay put?

No- STAY PUT! What we have seen in places like Italy is that people travelled to less affected areas, and ended up spreading the virus there. Rather stay put where you are and avoid crowds as much as you can.

Sanitizers should contain about 60% alcohol right?  Now knowing how the word alcohol excites our generation, people keep convincing each other that drinking lots of alcohol will keep them protected – which could explain empty workplaces and crowded bars during this crisis. Please shed some light .

The alcohol works for your hands, not if you drink it! you can use alcohol solutions to clean surfaces (phones, counter tops, hands), but drinking it will not help. Bars are bad- stay away from crowds 😉

Is the virus air borne?

No- it travels in spit droplets when people cough, this is how it spreads.

Stay safe and follow safety precautions – get in touch should you have any doubts.

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