Corona Assisted: A Website with a Mission
Misinformation about COVID-19 has been spreading over social media from the time it started. As part of LUMS corporate social responsibility, Dr. Suleman Shahid, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, School of Science and Engineering, LUMS, and Director, LUMS Learning Institute has developed a comprehensive website called Corona assisted. The site is the brainchild of Dr. Shahid, who identified the need of having one-stop visually appealing, easily understandable portal where all the information could be packed and conveyed to those who were being misguided.
Put together by his team at the Computer Human Interaction and Social Experience Lab at LUMS, the website is a much-needed platform that provides information about the virus. Users can easily switch the language of the site between Urdu and English.
“COVID-19 is still not being considered a pandemic and taken seriously in Pakistan. Thus we are trying to reach a broader audience with both languages. In Urdu, we are particularly focusing on shareable information nuggets on general myths and FAQs. Almost all myths are backed up by references and videos,” explains Dr. Shahid.
The website is a great resource that showcases educational material about the current pandemic including, the basics of the virus, protective measures, searchable hospitals in the region with the kind of facility they provide, and myth busters to spread awareness about the ongoing myths on WhatsApp and how scientifically wrong they are. Additionally, FAQs about the virus in Pakistan and educational resources like webinars are also part of the website. It also recognises Pakistani heroes and local organisations and their efforts in these turbulent times.
The website is extremely user-friendly. Emergency helplines are available on it. The site also has an option of accessibility assistance, which enables individuals with slight handicaps, the option to have the website speak to this target audience, change font size and colour as well.
The site also has extensive resources available. A list of preventive measures about how to stay safe from COVID-19 or what to do if one is infected are provided.
“Children are playing in the parks when schools are off. We really need to educate our people about the virus and the exponential growth it comes with. For example, South Korea was doing a fantastic job of controlling COVID-19 for the first 30 patients. Then patient number 31 did not adhere to social distancing and caused two clusters that were responsible for 80% of South Korea's infections. We need to spread the message to our people: don’t be Patient#31!” cautions Dr. Shahid.
We wish Dr. Shahid’s team the very best of luck!