At TikTok we're focused on supporting our users by providing accurate information and resources from public health officials, as well as continued support, encouragement, and uplifting videos that our community share with each other during this challenging time.
To that end, we've partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to create an informational page on TikTok that provides trustworthy information, offers tips on staying safe and preventing the spread of the virus, and dispels myths around COVID-19. Beyond the library of information WHO offers users on our in-app landing page, it also serves as a valuable resource for our community by using its TikTok account to create videos that provide users critical and informed medical information and tips.
On March 17th, the WHO will be livestreaming to our global community from their official TikTok page to share up-to-date information on what the steps users can take at this time, as well as answer questions you might have.
To tune in with the World Health Organization live on TikTok, visit @WHO on March 17th at 12pm GMT.
For more from WHO, visit their website.
To learn more about TikTok's effort to support and educate our community through COVID-19, check out our COVID-19 resources page on our Safety Center.
UPDATE: Due to the overwhelming response, the World Health Organization will be hosting an additional livestream on Thursday, March 19th at 1pm GMT from their account, @WHO.
In Case You Missed It—Things We Learned from the WHO's Livestreams on TikTok:
In the World Health Organization's first livestreams on TikTok, experts from the organization shared important information on novel coronavirus. In the first stream Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the outbreak, detailed what the virus was and provided guidance on safety practices. The second livestream featured Lindsay Lee, the WHO's Technical Officer on disability, discussing how people with disabilities can stay safe during this time.
Here are some highlights from the conversations:
- COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was discovered in November 2019. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that mainly come from animals, with some of these coronavirus will spill over into human populations.
- COVID-19 is a virus that causes respiratory disease in the people it infects and spreads through two manners: (1) via tiny droplets of liquid that come out from your mouth or nose when you cough, sneeze or speak and (2) via fomites, which are inanimate objects, such as counters and tabletop surfaces, that can become contaminated with infected droplets, which can then spread the disease when people touch them and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Preventing the spread by practicing safe behavior
- One of the major ways to reduce the spread of coronavirus is frequent, thorough hand-washing, as soap and water kill the virus. Dr. Kerkhove recommends using an alcohol-based rubs if you don't have access to soap and water.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Another major safety precaution people can take is to stay home and avoid congregating with people. However, if you feel sick and are having trouble breathing, please contact your doctor and seek treatment.
Navigating a pandemic
- Follow the guidance of national authorities on whether you should shelter in place. If you're recommended to stay home, then do so, but still follow the same fundamental rules of washing your hands, refraining from touching your face, and practicing respiratory etiquette by staying away from other people.
- It's safe to order online and receive packages, as the virus doesn't last on surfaces for very long, and parcels can be cleaned through disinfectants.
- You don't need to disinfect groceries, but you should wash produce and then wash your hands afterwards.
- Yes, you may still play with your pets :)
Recognizing our differences
- People who are most vulnerable for developing severe disease are those older than 60 as well as people with disabilities, including those who have underlying conditions like chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
- The WHO estimates that 15% of world's population experience some disability. And those that are disabled face unique challenges because they may experience barriers to implementing the basic hygiene measures and might be at a higher risk of developing a more severe case of coronavirus.
- However, there are measures that people with disabilities can adopt to stay safe during the pandemic, such as (i) enacting the basic hygiene measures the WHO has advised, (ii) developing plans to ensure they are able to obtain the supplies they need or contact those who are helping them, and (iii) communicating regularly with their support networks, irrespective of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.
Supporting those who may be more vulnerable
- The number one thing people can do to support those with disabilities is to make sure they're following all of the basic protection measures the WHO is recommending (e.g. washing hands, staying home, keeping distance, not touching face). If everyone does this, they will be helping reduce the spread of the virus to those who are at a higher risk of experiencing severe symptoms of the virus.
- If you know of people in your community who might be at higher risk, check in with them and ask what you can do to help them— this will help them grow their support network and help assuage their anxieties.
- Business owners should make sure that their workplace is prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak.
- Healthcare workers providing care to those infected with coronavirus should make sure that they are doing so in ways that are accessible and inclusive. This means removing barriers to the facility (even financial barriers) and ensuring they are not treating patients differently because they have a disability.
Both Dr. Kerkhove and Officer Lee noted that although there's a lot of fear and panic about coronavirus, these feelings are perfectly normal. These are the moments that give us the opportunity to turn our collective fear into action, giving us a real opportunity to support one another.