Croatian Scientist Ivan Đikić on Coronavirus: Don’t Spread Panic

Lauren Simmonds

As Index/Zoran Vitas writes on the 25th of February, 2020, well known Croatian scientist prof. dr. sc. Ivan Đikić from the University of Goethe in Frankfurt gave a series of tips on what to do when coronavirus, which is now in Croatia, occurs.

1. Follow the advice of the healthcare system, which includes epidemiological monitoring, the reporting of symptoms, rapid identification and confirmation of persons infected with the virus and their proper isolation. This also includes detailed and proper processing of the persons they have been in contact with. In this way, the unforeseen spread of COVID-19 will be locally curtailed.

2. Maintain proper hygiene, wash your hands, avoid places where large numbers of people are gathered where it is easy for viruses to spread, maintain the health status of chronic patients suffering from diabetes, tumours, immune diseases, and reduce smoking, etc.

3. COVID-19 is not that much more deadly than the flu virus we’ve become used to and more than 60,000 people die of that type of flu each and every year. However, this coronavirus is spreading quite quickly and needs an adequate response from the health system. The most vulnerable are the over-60s and chronic patients who will need special attention.

4. Proper and factual information to the public without bombastic headlines is essential – it’s highly important for the public to be properly informed about the spread of the virus and the dangers it carries and to receive accurate instructions on the measures which need to be taken.

5. A culture of assistance and compassion in society is needed, not the stigmatisation of those who have become sick. The media hysteria of stigmatising individuals can lead to the covering up of cases of coronavirus, the faster spread of the sickness, attacks and unnecessary dangers to both the individual and to society.

6. Don’t spread panic and hysteria in public. Excessive zeal and messages from politicians sometimes do much more harm than good. It’s important to listen to the advice of physicians, scientists, epidemiologists and public health professionals.

7. Announcements of EU-wide border closures are unnecessary. Viruses know no boundaries or borders and have already spread to almost all EU countries. It’s only a matter of time before this will be confirmed, but there is still no reason to panic as most infected people have benign symptoms that often go unnoticed. A unique attitude of the EU services and joint information and action sharing is needed.

8. It is especially important to understand that it is necessary to understand the science when it comes to the appearance of coronavirus and those like it. The response of the entire scientific community worldwide is very positive. Collaboration and data sharing has been made possible even with limited resources. The Chinese scientists who have played a major role in sequencing and sharing important information and the WHO, the organisation that coordinated all the information, should also be commended.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia and for rolling information as and when we receive it, follow this page.


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