COVID @ Home blog

News for and by the people behind covid-at-home.info

Welcome to our blog

March 30, 2020

Greetings from the covid-at-home quarantined headquarters in Berlin, and we hope you are all holding up under these freakin’ crazy circumstances. It’s a fluid situation out there and things are moving quickly. They’re also moving quickly here at covid-at-home.info

This is our new blog. We agree, the birth of our new blog would be a much more happy thing if this wasn’t such a sad global situation. The blog is our way of providing news about the project to all volunteers and other friends of the project. Especially the translation crew has become impressively numerous over the past 10 days or so, so there’s a need to tell you all what’s going on.

Much More Better Doubleplus Improved

We have been busy the last few days, making the site much better by going over the text once more and adding stuff where it needed to be added, and rephrasing and correcting what needed to be rephrased and corrected. After working on this new text for a few days on a separate site, we feel what we have is so clearly better than what was there that we put it live. Doesn’t mean this revision is done, that will still be a few more days as there are still a few loose ends.

Scope: Who are we? What are we doing here?

The most visually obvious change to the website is the addition of white text-boxes with a dashed line around them. They do not merely represent visual renewal: they denote where we want the reader to seek up-to-date local information if available. After consulting with various friends of the project, we took a critical look at our website and decided that providing any kind of timely local information is a losing battle, because the situation is too fluid even to do that well for one country while also providing the kind of wannabe-complete general advice, let alone for all countries. And even if one did, in many places the situation on the ground doesn’t even match the official advice from 24 hours ago. And for many languages, it would mean supporting many domains per language (Portugal/Brazil, the english speaking world, France / Francophone Africa, Spanish speakers everywhere, etc etc).

Now we may collectively have the power to do quite a bit of work and provide useful tips, but we’re not a transnational news-gathering and health-information NGO. So we instead we inserted placeholders to drive home the need for our readers to find up-to-date local information on a given topic in white boxes. We’re first going to do one thing well: honest and general advice that aims to be complete when it comes to sickness and care in the home environment. Here’s the text of the first such box so you can see how we self-describe to the readers now:

What this guide is not…

We try to provide a large amount of general helpful tips for dealing with COVID-19 during the various stages in which it might affect your household. What we cannot do is provide up-to-date information that is specific to where you are. We will try to tell you when we think you need to seek up-to-date local information in text boxes such as this.

Note that any advice from official sources you may find could be outdated as soon as a few days after it is issued, so always try to find the latest guidance and advice you can. Refer to local broadcast media and trusted information on the internet. Your local health authorities know the situation on the ground where you are, and should be talking to the public through the media.

That said, we are seeing various levels of quality in official response. Sometimes there will insufficient capacity to supply everyone with individual help and advice, for example because hotlines and testing centers are overloaded. Help may well be unavailable at some times. In this text we will just keep going, giving you the best advice we found in our research. This doesn’t mean we think such general advice as is on this site could be better than local help from trained professionals. Treat the advanced chapters of this website as a last resort: much better than nothing, but by all means get local help from actual professionals if you can.

Also note that we do not sugar-coat. This site is written by and for adults who can handle thinking through the consequences of our current global predicament. There is no reason to panic, but the situation is serious enough that we feel everyone should have access to the best information we could find.

You can go and see for yourself to get a feel for how we are incorporating this on the rest of the site.

Translations

If you are already set up to translate in your language and your translation is live, you are welcome to start translating the new text. But if you’d rather be sure you won’t do unnecessary work, you could also wait a day or two for the site to be more stable. By Wednesday we will provide you with an overview of the english text that changed versus the text that didn’t in a pretty graphical format, below is a preview of what that will look like. Click on the image to see larger version. As you may see, only the green and dark blue text has actually changed…

If you would like to translate this site in your own language, please contact us at team@covid-at-home.info. A translation guide is in the works.

Reactions

We’re being read more in the US than anywhere else after internet-celebrity Cory Doctorow blogged about us. While on the subject of the US: Oh My… we’re thinking of the people of NYC over the next few weeks!!

A few doctors both in the US and Europe have written us that they love the site and are passing the link on to other doctors and to their patients. We’re getting help from experts in the field that give tips on how to make things better. Most recently we spent some time video-chatting with a member of a palliative care team about death, fear, dignity and arrived at a number of things one would and some one probably wouldn’t think about.

We’re by no means one of the popular resources on COVID-19 yet, but we do increasingly talk to people who had already been passed the URL by someone else, so we have our niche. This coming week, we are scheduled to be in a German podcast that is intensely popular, which should also drive more readers to the site. A twitter account (with feed on the page) is in the works after we’re done revising the text.

Team meet

For our video-chats, we have kindly been given almost exclusive use of a newly setup jitsi server with more bandwidth and lower latency than the public meet.jit.si one. (Yay Rafael!) We’re there most of the day, and we’re almost always in the mood for a chat if you have suggestions, questions, or anything else you want to talk about. Simply visit: covid-at-home.info/meet. Chrome is more likely to work without hassle than other browsers.