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Weekly Insights on Coronavirus from The Conversation’s Worldwide Academic Network

Coronavirus: a weekly update from The Conversation’s global network of academics

The onset of the year witnessed reports of an alarming surge in pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, attributed to a mysterious novel “coronavirus.” The Conversation initiated coverage on January 13, highlighting its rapid spread within China and confirmed cases in Thailand, South Korea, and Japan.

In less than two months, the virus, officially named SARS-CoV-2, has impacted over 100 countries, causing over 3,800 fatalities and infecting more than 111,000 individuals.

Nations globally are imposing lockdowns, and the international economy is grappling with upheaval. Flights are grounded, leading to the closure of at least one airline. Fear has sparked xenophobia, and essential items, including toilet paper, are rapidly disappearing from store shelves.

The Conversation, leveraging its unique global network of academics committed to producing reliable journalism, has played a pivotal role in dispelling misinformation during this period of global uncertainty.


Coronavirus (Credits: The Conversation)

Operating in four languages (English, French, Bahasa Indonesia, and Spanish), our editors have delivered coordinated and insightful coverage, reaching millions of readers.

With the crisis seemingly in its early stages, we now introduce a weekly column spotlighting coronavirus coverage from all eight editions of our network, emphasizing key themes related to the virus.

The journey so far began with the World Health Organization (WHO) initially not categorizing the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

Our expert explained the decision, but the situation evolved rapidly, leading to the declaration of a global health emergency on January 30. Professor Aubree Gordon from the University of Michigan provided a clear account of the implications of this declaration.

As public interest grew, The Conversation, with access to a vast network of experts, offered evidence-based advice on various aspects of the threat, ranging from handwashing techniques to safeguarding children and the effectiveness of facemasks.

Coverage extended to the economic fallout of COVID-19, the openness of scientific processes amidst risks, and the progress of vaccine development. Articles explored Nigeria’s preparedness, Southeast Asian governments’ response to medical misinformation, and the impact of the emergency declaration on Canada.

Putting the outbreak in historical context, one author created an interactive map comparing COVID-19 with past pandemics, including Sars, swine flu, and Ebola. Others delved into the economic consequences and spread of misinformation, drawing comparisons with the Black Death.

Throughout, The Conversation remained committed to countering misinformation and conspiracy theories, offering sober and reliable information. As the pandemic unfolds, our global network of academic authors, collaborating with professional journalists, will continue providing informed and up-to-date information within their areas of expertise.

In the coming weeks, expect articles on finding hope in the face of the pandemic’s challenges, managing anxiety, and exploring how seasonal changes might impact the outbreak.

As a not-for-profit organization, our sole objective is to keep you informed. Stay tuned for ongoing coverage, sign up for regional newsletters, practice regular handwashing, and follow expert advice.

Despite the challenges, a leading microbiologist assures us that our readiness to combat a pandemic has never been higher. Trustworthy content from our global network will accompany you through this continuing outbreak, with weekly summaries to keep you informed.

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