During the influenza pandemic in 1918-19, people didn’t know what the flu micro-organism looked like. It wasn’t discovered to be a virus until years later and its structure was drawn from being viewed by a microscope. In contrast, we knew early on what COVID-19 looked like under a microscope.
- What images come to mind when you think of COVID-19? Rainbows? People in masks? Or something else?
- How do we see COVID-19?
Information about COVID-19
There are lots of ways that information about an infectious virus is shared. It is really important that people understand how it is spread and what they can do to stop it spreading more.
People research the best way to get public messages across about health and disease. This is really important in a pandemic as it can save lives. They found that messages tended to work better if they explained how an action helps other people. For example, washing your hands for 20 seconds was a good message, BUT people were more likely to wash their hands when a message explained how washing your hands helped others.
A pandemic is an outbreak of an infectious disease that spreads across a large region or even the world. Everywhere in the world has been affected by COVID-19. Some countries acted quickly, partly as they had had recent experience of pandemics, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, like South Korea in 2015.
South Korea is in Asia – it is in the sea between China and Japan – and has a population of 48.6 million. By 12 January 2021 South Korea had a total of 70,212 cases and 1,185 deaths from COVID-19. COVID-19 arrived in the country earlier than it did in the UK.
South Korea is a smaller country than the UK but it has not been as affected by the virus so far. Watch the video to hear LSE academic Yuna Han explain why South Korea was not as badly affected as the UK – particularly when the virus first hit the country.
South Korea had a #ThankstoChallenge social media campaign to thank people and organisations for helping with the pandemic. President Moon, the leader of South Korea, thanked the people behind the hit song ‘Baby Shark’ for adapting their song to teach people to wash their hands.
Your Local Area
Wherever we live in the world, most of us haven’t been able to go very far from home in 2020 and 2021. It has made our local area even more important to us. You might like to map your local area and community to record the places and people important to you (see Teachers Notes for activity ideas and supporting resources).
COVID-19 or coronavirus – is a virus. Viruses are really small germs that carry illnesses. It is an air born disease i.e. it is carried through the air and is respiratory, i.e. it infects the nose and throat. (It is also known as SARS-CoV-2 as it is related to other viruses known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.)
Virus – a type of germ that can cause disease. Viruses cause minor sicknesses like colds, common illnesses like the flu, and very serious diseases like smallpox.
Influenza - an infectious disease that is caused by a virus. Symptoms include cough, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, fever, and headache. Influenza is commonly known as the flu.
Pandemic - an outbreak of an infectious disease that spreads across a large region (for example a continent), or even worldwide