Cognition & Co’s COVID-19 Survival Guide

What is coronavirus COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). COVID-19 is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms can take between 2 and 14 days to manifest. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

Survival Guide:

1. Wash your hands.

Make sure you wash your hands under running water and use plenty of soap. If you have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, make sure it has an alcohol content of 60%. Click this link to see the correct way in which to wash your hands effectively; you’ve probably been doing it wrong your whole life.

2. Don’t touch your face.

You’ve probably touched your face about 3 times since you started reading this article. It’s time to start actively thinking about not touching your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible and maintain at least a 1 meter distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

3. Avoid physical contact with others.

Remember that secret handshake you had with your friends in junior school? Me either, but if you do remember it – it’s time to forget it. Avoid any unnecessary contact with others. Some safe greetings include; waving, nodding, verbal greetings, and this absolute gem…

4. Stay away from crowds.

Greetings aside, do your best to stay away from crowded areas. Statistically, your chances of coming into contact with someone that has been near someone with the virus increases exponentially in extremely crowded environments. This gives me anxiety and I’m not even there…

5. Now’s not the time to travel.

As lovely as a Venice gondola ride sounds right about now, it’s safer to stay put. Whether local, domestic, or international, limit your travels and only leave home if it is completely necessary or unavoidable. Technically, you are travelling while you’re reading this survival guide…

6. Get a hobby.

Always wanted to learn the guitar? Now’s your chance to become a quarantined rockstar! They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any activity – start chipping away at this, and amaze your friends and family in a couple of months when you can play the intro to Smells Like Teen Spirit.

7. Stimulate your mind.

There is only so much Netflix & Chill one can do alone before your mind turns to oatmeal. Use this time to catch up on some reading or learn something new. Websites like Udemy and Coursera have a number of free courses you can sign up for if you don’t feel like reading… I’ve been putting off the The Interpretation of Dreams for months.

8. Get some exercise.

Surprise the beach goers in a couple months with a set of washboard abs! Doing exercise doesn’t have to happen in the gym or with your running club; click this link for home workout that I’ve been doing. Me, pictured below…

9. Join the COVID-19 Whatsapp Group.

If you’re living in South Africa, join the COVID-19 Resource Panel available on Whatsapp. In order to combat the spread of fake news, government has set up an automated WhatsApp group to provide credible and factual details around COVID-19 in South Africa. You can add this WhatsApp number to your contacts – 060 012 3456 – and type “Hi” in the message block.

10. Work on your masters applications.

If you’re a Psychology honours student or graduate, you’re probably going to be submitting your masters applications in the next month or two. Now is a perfect time to knuckle down, do some reflecting, and bust out some really introspective autobiographies. I should probably be doing that instead of writing this article…


In all seriousness though, these can be difficult times for us all. If you are having trouble dealing with anything during this time, please reach out for help. Contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group if you want to talk to a counsellor toll-free – 0800 21 22 23

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