Update: Policy Statement on COVID-19 pandemic
On December 31, 2019, a new virus strain, never detected in humans before, caused the first cases in Wuhan, China. The virus, named SARS-CoV-2 (the name of the disease it causes is COVID-19), has since been identified as part of the coronavirus family. This family includes several pathogens already known to humans, from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means that they are passed to humans by animals, at least in the first instance. The virus can then be transmitted from human to human, as we are seeing with COVID-19.
COVID-19 infection can cause symptoms that vary from mild, with fever and cough, to severe, with shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In the most severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, especially if the patient is not hospitalized and treated.
To prevent the spreading of the virus, COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic as of March 11, 2020, with the World Health Organization (WHO) providing general guidelines for everyone to follow. These are implemented by individual countries depending on their respective situations. Below is a summary of the main points that must be followed, especially in Europe, which was declared epicentric of the pandemic on March 13, 2020 by the WHO:
What to do
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds,
Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your hands.
Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or your elbow when sneezing or coughing
Maintain social distancing of at least 1 metre (3 feet),
If you have fever, cough and/or difficulties breathing, stay at home
Swedish Organization for Global Health’s position
Swedish Organization for Global Health (SOGH), a Swedish non-profit and non-governmental organization comprised of passionate students and young professionals, has the aim to promote global health through evidence-based actions. SOGH is not able to engage in the active response to COVID-19, neither by supporting directly the health system nor producing data, useful for understanding the new pathogen. However, SOGH supports the scientific community directly engaged in the response to the pandemic and we are close to all people affected by it. Moreover, it is our responsibility as a global health organization to put some measures in place to prevent further spreading of the virus and share correct information with our followers through our channels.