• Question: Bc you probably working on Corona virus , is it as bad as news says?

    Asked by callumm on 2 Mar 2020. This question was also asked by ewilliams2855, s2saucy2sonny, oliviasands, ljoyo2870.
    • Photo: Beth Bartlett

      Beth Bartlett answered on 2 Mar 2020:


      I don’t work on Coronavirus – most of the people working on it are experts in infectious diseases and I study normal cells and how they work. I actually went on a date the other day with someone who expected me to know all about Coronavirus because I am a biologist, which I honestly found quite funny as I don’t know that much more about it than everybody else. I guess an important thing to realise about scientists is that we all tend to be quite specialised and only work in one specific field!

      I’d say it’s important not to panic too much about Coronavirus – the news are talking about it a lot at the moment which may scare some people. It’s important to wash your hands regularly and obviously don’t do anything stupid like sneezing onto other people, but it is similar to normal flu that people catch every winter. However, as I’ve said I’m not an expert, so don’t take my opinion above everybody else’s!

    • Photo: Sarah Clarke

      Sarah Clarke answered on 2 Mar 2020:


      I don’t work in infectious disease research so I don’t know more about coronavirus than what is being reported on the news etc. At the moment nobody knows for sure what will happen. Lots of experts from around the world are working really hard trying to get all of the information together and make the best predictions and plans for us. It can be really hard when there aren’t definite answers, but it is still early days and COVID-19 is still quite new. I think the most important thing is to follow the advice that is being given and try to stay up to date, as the advice might change once we know more.

    • Photo: Amadou Camara

      Amadou Camara answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      Its bad as its viral and contact , which makes its mobile , so a mobile diseases cause more harm if they are deathly

    • Photo: Aleksandr Sahakyan

      Aleksandr Sahakyan answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      We are living in a very interconnected world. This means that new viruses have more opportunities to spread, but it also means that information travels much faster than before. With the latter part, you will inevitably hear a lot about this novel coronavirus from TV, unlike, say a person living a few decades ago. This should not, however, cause any concern, since you should also find a great comfort in knowing that all the relevant researchers and public health officials across the world also get their share of news updates about COVID-19, which helps them to coordinate their actions for a much more efficient control over the spread of the disease. With information traveling at a speed of light (quite literally, taking into account the speed of electromagnetic waves), researchers all over the world easily share their research results with each other to tackle the problem together and arrive to an efficient vaccine as soon as possible.

    • Photo: Lotte de Winde

      Lotte de Winde answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      To add to all the great answers already given, the reason why this coronavirus spreads so quickly is because it is a new virus and no person on earth has developed immunity against it. One can develop immunity against a virus by becoming in contact with it (so most people that have recovered from coronavirus are now immune to it!), or by being vaccinated against the virus. The latter we do for example for the flu every year or for measles when you are a child. And even if not everyone is vaccinated, the whole population is much more protected, because the immune system of the vaccinated people will be able to recognise and kill the virus, and prevent it from spreading quickly. Because Covid-19 is a new virus, there are no vaccines for it yet. These are of course rapidly developed now, but it will take a while before this can be used on people as new vaccines also need to be tested for their safety.

    • Photo: Mahrukh Shameem

      Mahrukh Shameem answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      I have worked on bacteria before but not viruses.

      Basically as everyone has said, its dangerous because of how quickly these things can spread. However, if you follow the guidelines that the NHS has said, you protect yourself and other people! These include:
      – Washing your hands regularly
      – Sneezing or coughing in a tissue
      – If you feel ill, stay at home!

    • Photo: Katrina Wesencraft

      Katrina Wesencraft answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      If you’re a scientist who studies why people get ill, you’re normally only an expert on one type of illness because all diseases are different. I study type 1 diabetes so even though lots of people need to study the new coronavirus, I don’t know enough about viruses to help!

    • Photo: Ricardo Sanchez

      Ricardo Sanchez answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      In my opinion, the short answer is no. Yes, it is a dangerous contagious virus that is is quickly spreading worldwide. However, the lethality rate is relatively low (except in elderly). The huge panic due to the spread is causing devastating economic problems as stocks keep going down. This causes a mediatic freenezy which enhances the panic.

      The best advice is to keep an eye on what the WHO says about the virus, such as recommendations to reduce the risk of infection.

    • Photo: Nathan Kindred

      Nathan Kindred answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      Coronavirus isn’t something I’m working on and viruses are far from my area of expertise but following the guidelines the NHS and WHO have outlined to reduce the spread is the best thing we can do. Don’t panic over it though, there are still very few cases in the UK!

    • Photo: Kate Mitchell

      Kate Mitchell answered on 3 Mar 2020: last edited 18 Mar 2020 7:03 pm


      I work on infectious diseases but I don’t work on the new coronavirus (COVID-19) – I mostly work on HIV! I do have lots of colleagues working very hard on coronavirus though.

      Its easy to get worried when it is so much on the news, but you shouldn’t panic! Its getting a lot of attention because its a new virus that no-one has ever been infected with before, and we don’t have a vaccine or treatment, so it could cause a lot of disruption if many people catch it. We don’t know yet exactly how bad the epidemic will be.

      But please don’t panic, get your information about coronavirus from reliable sources like the NHS, PHE and WHO, and follow their advice – currently thats to wash your hands regularly and sneeze into tissues or your elbow.

      Added to say: the advice is changing rapidly as the epidemic develops – please see the NHS website for the latest advice https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

    • Photo: Samir Hopestone

      Samir Hopestone answered on 3 Mar 2020:


      I personally don’ work with any viruses/ diseases, so my advice would be to follow advice given by the chief medical officer and the NHS.

    • Photo: Robyn Kiy

      Robyn Kiy answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      I have never worked with viruses, but I think it seems a lot scarier than it actually is because of how much we hear about it on the news! Like Mahrukh has said, it’s important to follow NHS guidelines such as regularly washing your hands to keep yourself and others safe.

    • Photo: Jennifer Roe

      Jennifer Roe answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      I wouldn’t worry too much at this stage just follow the government advice and stay calm. Live your life like normal.

    • Photo: Sophie Arthur

      Sophie Arthur answered on 5 Mar 2020:


      I don’t work on coronavirus, but my job in science communication means that I need to be aware of what is going on and be able to report to my colleagues about how best to protect themselves. There are a lot of news outlets and social media using a lot of fear-mongering language and making it sound much more scary than it is. It is obviously something we need to be taking seriously, but there is no need to panic right now.
      The best thing you can do is make sure you are washing your hands throughly with soap more often than usual and try to avoid touching your face as much as possible.

    • Photo: Ebrima Danso

      Ebrima Danso answered on 8 Mar 2020:


      I think it is difficult to tell because I have not physically experienced it yet. I hope not because it appears very serious as I see in the news. Sometimes media outlets exaggerates disease outbreaks. I saw a disease expert interviewed by CNN and she said, we should exercise very good hygiene and we will be ok. She also said, news outlets creates a lot of panic by making the disease look very very serious. Make sure you don’t believe anything you see in the media. Listen to your parents and teachers who listens to experts.

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