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As you’re probably aware, the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, has now been found in countries all over the globe. This is an understandably disconcerting moment for many, but there are steps we can all take to help mitigate the effect on our communities.

COVID-19 is spreading, but misinformation and disinformation are spreading even faster. The most responsible thing you can do is protect yourself from both the disease and false information. Being prepared with facts and data instead of assumptions and fabrications will help inform how you can best prepare for COVID-19.

Here are some resources you can trust:

  • WHO provides daily updates surrounding COVID-19’s spread, infection rate, and general influence on our society. Their latest update given on March 3, 2020, details that there is a shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals. They also provide a very handy FAQ section, where you can learn more about how to protect yourself and your community. 
  • Every day Worldometer updates its website with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in each country that has been affected. Worldometer has been rated one of the best free reference websites by the American Library Association, and for good reason: it lists every single one of its regular sources here, and lists the source of every COVID-19 update at the bottom of the COVID-19 page. 
  • Your local health department will often have the most up-to-date information specific to your immediate area, including how to proceed if you believe you may be showing symptoms of the virus. If you live in the United States, you can find the contact information for your health department by visiting the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

There’s another thing about this news that a lot of places are not talking about: the toll on one’s mental health, especially if you are someone who struggles with anxiety. If you find your concerns about being prepared are crossing a line that affects your mental health, please consider reaching out to a loved one who can guide you to help, a mental health professional, or an organization set up to help those in need.

Here are a couple of organizations you can trust:

  • Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support. Just text 741741 from anywhere in the United States. The Crisis Text Line will connect you with a trained Crisis Counselor. 
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (@namiorg) offers free support and resources for those who are struggling. NAMI can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am - 6 pm EST at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or by email at info@nami.org.

Take care of yourselves, Tumblr. Wash your hands well, practice keeping a safe distance from others, only wear a mask if you believe you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms and could infect others (or are immunocompromised yourself), and remember to fact check everything that you see. Head on over to @world-wide-what for a refresher on what fake news looks like and how it spreads. Pass those tips onto others when you see them accidentally spreading false information. 

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So April Fools Day is coming up and in light of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) causing a pandemic, I’d just like to say to anyone who’s planning a prank this year:

DO NOT SPREAD FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19

DO NOT GO OUT IN PUBLIC AND PRETEND TO HAVE COVID-19

DO NOT POST ABOUT FALSE “CURES” FOR COVID-19

DO NOT  DO ANY PRANKS INVOLVING COVID-19

Remember: Confuse, don’t abuse!