John Oliver's Coronavirus Segment Is The Practical Advice We Need Right Now

by Caila Smith
Originally Published: 
John Oliver on Last Week Tonight
Lloyd Bishop/HBO

Are you curious how concerned you should really be about the new strand of the coronavirus (Covid-19) that’s stealing headlines? According to John Oliver, “A bit.” We should all be “a bit” concerned about this new virus. Although Oliver isn’t a medical expert, he is an expert in common sense and he distills information provided from the actual medical experts in a way that is understandable.

We shouldn’t be so worried that we are gargling bleach as a part of our daily breakfast, but we shouldn’t be so nonchalant about it that we feel comfortable licking the poles in a subway. At least, those are the two comparisons Oliver presented with his latest episode on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Rather, we should find a happy medium between those two places.

With the media promoting panic and fear since the outbreak of this virus, it’s refreshing to see shows, much like Oliver’s talk show, providing audiences with practical information while debunking some of the most common misconceptions associated with Covid-19.

People are losing their damn minds from the complexities of this virus. Hand sanitizer is selling out nearly everywhere, healthy people are wearing face masks in public, and certain misinformation is being spread like wildfire among several social media platforms.

On Sunday, Oliver reminded his viewers that the most effective way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to do something which we should already be doing — washing our hands regularly with warm, soapy water. If soap is unavailable, individuals should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. If you are sick, you should stay home and keep your bodily fluids to yourself by covering your sneezes and coughs with your arm, and discarding soiled tissues right away.

We shouldn’t pretend there aren’t risks associated with the virus, because there are, particularly for those with an already-weakened immune system. As of now, WHO puts the global morbidity rate for Covid-19 at 3.4% which is more than two times higher than that of the flu. However, practicing these disease-preventing methods is still the best way for one to stay healthy.

The CDC has informed the public that face masks are not likely to protect individuals from contracting this virus, and we need to stop using them as a method of prevention. Besides the fact that they aren’t proven to keep healthy people healthy, the high number of people buying them is taking resources away from medical professionals, facilities, and sick patients who can get proper use out of them.

Not only does Oliver give a real-life perspective on this new virus without the fright, but he does so while bringing attention to some highly disturbing topics too — like the racism surrounding this virus that first originated in December 2019 out of Wuhan, China.

In a segment with Fox News discussing China’s high coronavirus numbers, one commenter denounced travel between “that country and the civilized world.”

In addition to broadcasting racist comments regarding the spread of Covid-19 and “that country,” Fox News is also promoting a president who gives faulty information about the virus to the people.

“A lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat,” President Donald Trump says in a meeting with the nation’s governors. “As the heat comes in, typically that will go away in April. We’re in great shape, though.”

When it comes to Trump speaking on things like the coronavirus, do yourself and this country a favor and just fact-check the information with the CDC’s live updates here. Because as Oliver points out, yes, certain diseases in history have receded with warmer weather, but they came back in August with a vengeance and significantly more deadly.

There is no need to prepare the bunker just yet, but being aware of your surroundings until a cure is found for this virus would be in everybody’s best interest. In Oliver’s words, “Don’t be complacent, and don’t be an idiot.”

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