Watch “Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need to Know,” and the 24-Lecture Course “An Introduction to Infectious Diseases,” Both Free from The Great Courses

COVID-19 is a seri­ous, high­ly com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease. It is not a hoax, and it will con­tin­ue to spread until it is con­tained with wide­spread test­ing and a vac­cine. At present, sci­en­tists seem to know lit­tle about all the forms of trans­mis­sion or the pos­si­bil­i­ty of rein­fec­tion. Old­er peo­ple and the immuno­com­pro­mised are cer­tain­ly more at risk than oth­ers, but the virus can kill the healthy and the sick. It doesn’t care where it starts or ends. It doesn’t care if some­one is a U.S. Sen­a­tor or some­one a sen­a­tor deems dis­pos­able. These plain facts should put us all on notice, but the response has not only been slow but near­ly nonex­is­tent in coun­tries where lead­ers are dai­ly mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion worse.

In the U.S., hos­pi­tals and city and state gov­ern­ments can­not expect the kind of response from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment need­ed to meet the threat. We must all edu­cate our­selves and do our part, both for our­selves and our neighbors—which seems, after all, to amount to the same thing.

To that end, we can thank The Great Cours­es com­pa­ny for offer­ing their entire online lec­ture series, An Intro­duc­tion to Infec­tious Dis­eases, for free, as well as the short video at the top from Dr. Roy Benaroch, who debunks rumors and explains the his­to­ry and inevitabil­i­ty of COVID-19. “It’s no longer a ques­tion of if this virus is going to strike your com­mu­ni­ty, but when.”

While most cas­es are mild, this should not lure us into a false sense of secu­ri­ty. Infect­ed peo­ple who appear healthy and present no symp­toms are respon­si­ble for the spread of the dis­ease, and if they con­tin­ue to move around and infect oth­ers, the chances of it strik­ing us or those we love increase expo­nen­tial­ly. This is why social dis­tanc­ing is so impor­tant. “We’re past the time when con­tain­ment can sep­a­rate us from them, the con­ta­gious peo­ple from the rest of us.” Every time we go out, we risk expos­ing oth­ers or our­selves.

“Of course, you should seek med­ical atten­tion if you expe­ri­ence short­ness of breath or more severe symp­toms,” but peo­ple with milder symp­toms should stay away from doc­tors and hos­pi­tals. Dr. Benaroch gives us sev­er­al oth­er pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures we can employ to slow the spread and “flat­ten the curve.” COVID-19 is a viral infec­tion, and as such, it makes sense for us to brush up on our virol­o­gy via the third lec­ture in the Infec­tious Dis­eases course, above, “Virus­es: Hijack­ers of Your Body’s Cells.” Catch the full 24-video course from Dr. Bar­ry Fox here, and watch lec­ture six, “Six Decades of Infec­tious Dis­ease Chal­lenges,” below. Great Cours­es promis­es more “rel­e­vant con­tent to help inform, enlight­en, and under­stand the world around us and to counter mis­truths and rumors.” We’ll keep you post­ed.

Stay home, share the video at the top with your skep­ti­cal friends and fam­i­ly, and urge them to stay home too.

“An Intro­duc­tion to Infec­tious Dis­eases” will be added to our list, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

Note: You can sign up for a free tri­al of Great Cours­es Plus (now called Won­dri­um) and watch lec­tures for count­less cours­es over the next 30 days.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Cours­es on the Coro­n­avirus: What You Need to Know About the Emerg­ing Pan­dem­ic

Inter­ac­tive Web Site Tracks the Glob­al Spread of the Coro­n­avirus: Cre­at­ed and Sup­port­ed by Johns Hop­kins

Why Fight­ing the Coro­n­avirus Depends on You

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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