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Coronavirus: advice for the perplexed and bewildered

28 April 2020

11:46 AM

28 April 2020

11:46 AM

Are you bewitched, bothered and bewildered about how to deal with the coronavirus? Be not dismayed; you are not alone. As our leaders keep telling us, the Covid-19 pandemic is “unprecedented” (except for all previous pandemics).  

To find our way through, we must rely on the best scientific advice, which will be different from one Australian state to another. As a public service, a sample of experts’ advice has been aggregated here in the form of answers to your most frequently asked questions. 

Do I have Covid-19? 

The symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, a dry cough, muscle aches, headache, diarrhoea, runny nose, shortness of breath, dizziness, and lethargy. If you have all of these symptoms, or some of them, or one of them, or if you have lost your sense of smell, you may have Covid-19. If you have none of these symptoms, you could still have Covid-19 and just not know it. 

How does Covid-19 spread? 

If you are within 1.5 metres from someone sneezing or coughing, you may be infected. If no one coughs or sneezes near you then you are OK, unless you touch an infected door handle, countertop, ATM machine, petrol pump, banknote, coin, postage stamp, envelope, key or takeaway dinner. You can also get Covid-19 from your pet tiger or cat (animals that are apparently being tested in some countries). 

Should I wear a mask and gloves? 

Masks and gloves are vital to protect health workers from Covid-19. Masks and gloves are not necessary for the protection of the rest of the population unless you live in the USA or Asia in which case they are required. 

Should I send my kids to school?

Schools are open unless you live in a state in which schools are closed. Homeschooling is an alternative to school, but if you have to work, or just want to get away from your children, even closed schools may be open (on some days for some number of hours). There is no need to worry about health risks arising from attending school unless you reside in a state in which schooling presents a risk.   

Can I go surfing?

Surfing is not a health hazard unless a police officer or ranger declares it to be. 

Can I munch a kebab on a park bench?

(Please see the answer to “Can I go surfing?” above.)   

Will the government stimulus package save our economy by increasing government spending?

The government is exhorting people to spend money but refuses to open the shops—the venues where spending takes place.        

Are there any food or medicine shortages?

Some items are completely unavailable, but the government says there are no shortages — there presumably being a difference between ‘shortage’ and ‘unavailable’. 

How long will the lockdown last?

The lockdown will last until there is a cure or a vaccine or until we all succumb to Covid-19 (which cannot happen because we are in lockdown).   

Will injecting light beams or drinking disinfectant cure Covid-19? 

These treatments are only recommended for stable geniuses and their acolytes. 

Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies.

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