This Free Online Course Teaches Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has killed approximately 2,800 people and infected tens of thousands more within a matter of weeks as it spread to 46 countries and counting. The World Health Organization declared Friday that the risk assessment for the virus is now "very high." But there are still a lot of unknowns about the virus, and it's hard to separate fact from fiction.

Imperial College London is here to help. The university offers a free online course titled Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19. There's a new class every week, and the content updates in real time as new information breaks.

"As the epidemic seems to spread to more and more countries, people around the world are wondering about the trajectory of the epidemic and whether they should be concerned," reads the course description. "Robust, reliable analysis is vital at this stage not only as a way to give concerned members of the public a sense of perspective, but also to support governments and other stakeholders in planning their responses."

This online course about coronavirus provides an overview of the current state of the epidemic as well as related epidemiological and public-health principles and challenges. Each class takes about one to two hours to complete, and consists of a few videos and readings. It's taught by researchers at the MRC Centre of Global Infectious Diseases Analysis and the Jameel Institute for Disease Emergency Analytics. Both groups have been working with a number of global stakeholders, including the WHO, to come up with reliable estimates of the spread of the epidemic and its prospects.

If you want to learn more about public health, you can also take some of the university's more generalized public health courses online for free, such as Foundations of Public Health Practice and Linear Regression in R for Public Health. As always, arming yourself with knowledge is one of your best options as a first line of defense.

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