You already know most of it. You know the first reported case was in a city in China called Wuhan, on December 31, 2019. Then it spread everywhere, and now it’s in your city.
As the virus spread, panic spread, and as panic spread, fake news spread. But this is not another story of the novel Coronavirus, Covid-19. This is about how we’ve been trying to be useful.
Let’s go back to the beginning
In February, a few days before the first case of coronavirus was announced in Lagos, Nigeria, the Zikoko team sat at their desks discussing what would happen if Coronavirus hit Nigeria. A lot of comments flew around: “Let’s just pray it doesn’t even come o”, “Nigeria can handle it, don’t you remember Ebola?”, “Some people are saying it cannot infect black people”.
It was a speculative conversation because we didn’t want to contextualise what the reality would like. We knew the possibility: if the country wasn’t careful and somehow, the virus got in, it would travel at the speed of light.
A few days later, we woke up to the news: the virus had finally landed in Lagos.
The important thing for us became finding a way to reduce panic and stop fake news: we began by educating family and friends, spreading awareness through articles and social media posters.
In March as the presence of the virus grew in Africa, we began to see that sensitization on a tiny scale was not going to work out. We could stop our parents from spreading fake WhatsApp broadcast messages, but what about the people far removed from us? In Lagos alone, the economic capital of Nigeria, there are approximately 16 million people. In a continent of 54 countries and over a billion people, there is only so much word of mouth can do. So we built Coronafacts Africa, a microsite that provides accurate information and resources for the general public to help understand and contextualise cases of Coronavirus in Africa.
What does the site do?
A bunch of things.
Let’s start with the numbers.
Coronafacts Africa curates accurate data on the number of cases, deaths and recovery in Africa.
We’ve placed emphasis on recoveries because while people are panicking, we need to reinforce one fact: coronavirus can be beaten.
Visually-driven, the microsite features an interactive Map of Africa that presents more granular data on cases across the continent, breaking down the Africa specific counter by country.
What this means is that when you click on any country from Ghana to South Africa on the continent Map — at any given time — you get to see how many cases have been identified, how many people have recovered and how many people have died. The goal here is to help you and me have a better idea of what’s happening in the different countries in Africa.
Heard about the “salt and water” cure?
What about the “Tea and Agbo” cure? These are some of many fake remedies or prevention tips circulating the internet and local networks for Coronavirus. Also known as fake news.
The microsite includes a simple, shareable guide to understanding the virus. The simple guide to Coronavirus consists of lightweight pages to share with your family, friends and colleagues. It also includes illustrated wallpapers and display photos for your social media.
The science and medical jargon about the virus might be complex, but coronafacts is simple.
To make it even simpler, we’ve translated it into a couple of languages several languages? Say no more. We’ve created an easy-to-understand collection of videos explained by local experts, sharing practical tips on how to stay healthy and happy this season. You’ll find these on the microsite as well.
Here’s the goal:
While the microsite aims to inspire action from people across Africa about the virus, it also aims to spread truth and reduce panic.
Coronavirus can be defeated.
What do we want from you?
Join us in spreading the word.
You can share this with your family and friends
Share with your neighbours or anyone in close proximity to you. If you have ideas on how to get this to as many people as possible, holler.
Most importantly, you can do the right thing by isolating, social distancing and not spreading false information.
Visit coronafacts for more.
And if you’re feeling stressed, take a break from coronavirus everything for a moment here.