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Not since the Second World War has so much of society been devoted to defeating a common enemy, so we thought it could use some posters
Not since the Second World War has so much of society tilted towards the singular goal of defeating a common enemy: Factories are retooling, hospitals are being placed on a war footing and almost everyone has already endured sacrifice of some kind. In that spirit, The Capital’s own Dash Dixon has prepared a series of wartime posters to get out the word on what remains to be done in our struggle against the novel coronavirus. Share them on social media, paste to your front window or pin them up around town. Together, we’ll defeat COVID-19.
High-res, print-ready versions of all the following posters can be found at this link.
The one thing that has made COVID-19 particularly deadly is that it leaves an invisible trail of infection. Diseases like Ebola or measles can only be spread by people who are showing symptoms, which makes it easy to find and isolate potential carriers. But COVID-19 often results in "asymptomatic" cases, meaning that someone is infected, but has no symptoms. In BC, it's hard to tell how many asymptomatic carriers there are since our testing regime is limited, but in Iceland, where anybody can be tested, the rate of asymtomatic cases has been found to be as high as 50%.
The concept for this poster is borrowed from Michelle Au, a doctor and state senator in the US state of Georgia. In a video, Au took issue with the frequent media description of healthcare workers being on the "front line" of the battle with COVID-19. "We are the last line of defence, and we hope the fight never gets to us," she said, adding "the frontline of this epidemic is you, the people in the community tasked with the challenge of keeping us all safe." It doesn't matter how many brave doctors and nurses a country may have; if they're overwhelmed by a community that isn't limiting the spread of infection, they can't hold back the tide.
In a widely circulated story last week, The Capital went into detail on why public masking is a proven way to prevent the spread of infection in a pandemic. The problem, however, is that we're currently facing a critical shortage of medical grade masks desperately needed by healthcare workers. As outlined in the poster above, the solution is to start sewing. A CDC-compliant mask can be made in short order by anybody with basic sewing competence, and can both protect the user and limit their capacity to spread infection. Directions on how to make a mask are here.
The BC Centre for Disease Control, like many health authorities, is advocating that to prevent transmission of COVID-19, we must all stay at least two meters from one another. In truth, this is an arbitrary measure; the exact same distance was also advocated during earlier pandemics for smallpox and the Spanish Flu. And in fact, a recent study by MIT found that droplets carrying COVID-19 can be propelled upwards of eight meters by an unguarded sneeze. With the diseases' high number of asymptomatic carriers, as outlined above, more distance is always a better idea than less distance when in public situations.
During the Second World War, government propaganda posters usually pressed for people to do things. They had to buy victory bonds, save chicken bones, avoid careless talk, limit unnecessary spending, and, of course, enlist for life-threatening combat duty overseas. If there's one upside to fighting a pandemic versus fighting a war, it's that the highest civic duty right now for most citizens is simply to stay home.