I’m overwhelmed. I feel sure I’m not the only one. Until this month, a global pandemic is something I only thought of in terms of a distant, sepia-toned past or a very scary dystopian future. But now, it is very much all of our present. As I am not a scientist, I feel I have very little in the way of substantive opinions to add to the international conversation about COVID-19, and yet, it’s the only conversation that’s on everyone’s lips. I know I want to help. I know I don’t want to add to the panic. I know I want to take care of myself and my community.
And so, I will attempt to help the only way I know how; the way I feel is my responsibility as an information professional. I will try to share good, reliable information. The subject of COVID-19 is inescapable, but it’s hard to wade through the sea of information and find the key points. I tried to do some of that swimming for you. Here is a list of sources I hope will be helpful for you, for your friends, for your communities. By no means is this a complete list, but I do hope it can be a start.
If seeing any more talk about this subject is more than you can handle, I understand. Let this suffice: please stay home if you are able to and wash your hands.
With so many potential sources available to get (often questionable) information about the state of things, I find it most helpful to go directly to the scientists. The World Health Organization (WHO) has put out some excellent resources to help keep us informed.
- A central information-centric webpage about COVID-19
- Situation Reports (updated daily)
- A thoughtful PDF guide for mental health considerations during a pandemic
Along with WHO, there are a couple of independent sources I would recommend as well.
- This excellent (and brief) instructional video on how to properly wash your hands.
- This Podcast Will Kill You – the COVID-19 mini-series: This podcast has been running for several years now, and offers research-backed (with citations!) explanations of different illnesses across the centuries. It is hosted by two epidemiologists who work in the field. In this special mini-series, they are covering everything you could ever want to know about the virus, featuring interviews and first hand accounts from specialists currently battling the outbreak. Bonus: cocktail recipes.
Considering the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, I find it difficult to keep up with too many opinion-centered pieces. However, the social and political ramifications of an event such as this are undeniable, and I do appreciate that folks are keeping that as a part of the conversation. With that in mind, here are three pieces that might be worth a look (if you have the mental bandwidth).
- How the Pandemic Will End – from the Atlantic
- Social distancing can’t last forever. Here’s what should come next. -from Vox Media
- How we must respond to the coronavirus pandemic – a TED Talk from Bill Gates
From Library Land
Finally, my colleagues here at HLS have been doing an excellent job of reporting on the ramifications COVID-19 is having on libraries. Here is what they have written on the topic so far:
- Staying Busy During Coronavirus
- Why Weren’t We Talking About This Back in January?
- Serving the Public When the Building’s Closed
- Precarious Labor, Student Workers, and Coronavirus
- Facing Coronavirus as an Information Professional – Implications, Misconceptions, Degradations
Mary Elizabeth Allen is an MLIS student at San Jose State University. She holds a B.A. in Literature with an emphasis in Fiction Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her professional interests include the intersections between critical librarianship and social justice, the history of information sharing, and radical feminist scholarship. Follow her on Twitter @marylizallen for a random collection of depressing thoughts and cat memes.