Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. As users are not usually well aware of the use of symptoms and preventions of the virus in Pakistan, the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMH) organised a Facebook live session to dismiss the public’s worries over the coronavirus in Lahore.
The session organized by SKMH included noteworthy personalities of the hospital which included Faisal Sultan, the chief executive officer of the SKMH, and senior doctors such as Aun Raza and Salma Abbas who responded to citizens queries during the interactive session. The doctors were also present at the session who were consultants on infectious diseases. The live session aimed to counter the fear and panic in Pakistan as a result of the virus, especially to counteract the false information being circulated on social media.
Dr Sultan highlighted that the public must only believe information backed by scientific knowledge. He stressed that: “It is unfortunate that when there’s a threat of a viral outbreak in our part of the world, it is followed by an outbreak of disinformation… It is important that if we share any information in our networks, we do it after verification and do not participate in conveying any false information to our friends and family”. Moreover, he said that: “Misinformation such as this has created panic not only in Pakistan but also worldwide, evident by the buying trends and shortage of face masks around the world”. He stressed that it is not necessary for everyone to wear a face mask throughout the time by explaining that: “The most important means of prevention of COVID-19 is ensuring proper hand-hygiene following cough etiquettes”.