GOVERNMENT OF MALAWI: STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK(COVID-19)

To whom it may concern:

My name is Jared Alswang and I am a medical student at Harvard Medical School. Over the last several years, I have worked closely with my colleagues in Malawi to undertake several large-scale projects within the country. I love the people of Malawi as if they were my own; Malawi truly is my home away from home.

I am writing this letter today with extreme urgency to anyone who is willing to listen. Many weeks ago, I myself, like many others, doubted the immense threat that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) posed to my country.

The United States, like Malawi today, was not yet affected by COVID-19, and to many it seemed like a foreign problem that would have no impact on life and health here in the United States.

I could not have been more wrong. Today, life has shut down in the United States and our hospitals now face a crisis like they have never seen before. Schools, businesses and restaurants are all closed, and many cities are requiring their citizens to stay sheltered in their homes. Despite everything we have done, in hindsight, it was not enough to prevent the looming public health disaster now unfolding.

It is with that, that I urge the people, healthcare workforce, and government of Malawi to not make the same mistakes we did. Malawi has the opportunity, one that we ourselves did not take, to take all possible measures and precautions to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 across its population. This is not a time to panic, but a time to prepare and unite as a country.\

I want to spread this message across Malawi, so that the country can look back with pride on what it did to stop this deadly disease, rather than what it could have done. It is time now to take the necessary steps to protect Malawi. Below, I have provided notes on some important points regarding COVID-19.

Precautions you can take:

• Clean your hands often and avoid touching your face
• Avoid close contact with others and stay home if you’re sick
• Cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect often

The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are:

• Fever
• Dry cough
• Shortness of breath

The virus is spread through respiratory droplets, so if you or someone you know has these symptoms, it is recommended they self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid interaction with and transmission of the virus to others. Persons above the age of 65 and persons with pre-existing medical conditions are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 and are at higher risk of dying from the infection.

Please spread this message wide and far and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at: malawi.covid.19.prevention@gmail.com.

Most Sincerely,
Jared Alswang.

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