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Priyanka Chopra Jonas Image Credit: Reuters

Indian actress Priyanka Chopra used her celebrity and clout for greater good on Tuesday night as she spearheaded an Instagram Live conversation about coronavirus and put forward questions  to World Health Organisation experts.

Common myths including about coronavirus being airborne were busted by the actress in her 45-minute session that saw more 45,000 fans participate live.

In a free-wheeling session with Chopra, who was conducted the live from her home in Los Angeles, threw a volley of questions such as ‘Is the coronavirus air-borne?’, ’Do we have a vaccine for coronavirus yet?’ and ‘how can governments help in mitigating the coronavirus spread’ to Dr Tedros and Maria Van Kerkhove from WHO.

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At one point, her husband and pop idol Nick Jonas popped by with a question.

“How can someone who’s diabetic like me and asthmatic like her protect ourselves from the virus?”. Almost every question came round to the basics of sanitisation and how washing hands thoroughly was instrumental in warding off coronavirus.

“Wash your hands, sneeze into your elbows, maintain physical distance and trust your feelings/gut,” was the recurring credo.

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Priyanka Chopra during the Instagram Live broadcast on Tuesday. Image Credit: Instagram screengrab

Chopra, who began the conversation expressing her gratitude towards all those healthcare professionals and other staff fighting actively against Covid-19, believes that coronavirus has turned out to be the biggest leveller in her life.

“We are all in the same boat now. This is a weird leveller because coronavirus will not look at where you come from. It is going to affect each one of us in some way or the other … So let be socially responsible and not panic. Let’s also not hoard gloves that medical professionals need,” said Chopra.

Here are the key take aways from Chopra’s conversation with WHO health experts Dr Tedros and Maria Van Kerkhove …

Stay at home and maintain physical distance:

“Social distancing is one of the key tactics even if many people are not comfortable with that. Keep a physical distance from one another … Every single person has a role to play in this fight. Just by washing hands with water or using alcohol rub, your are protecting yourself and others who are vulnerable around you. Stay home for the sake of those healthcare workers and be well-informed about the virus.”

Being on the offensive is key to fighting the pandemic:

“Just like how in Soccer you cannot win a game by being on the defensive, the same theory applies to fighting this coronavirus. This virus should be attacked. We cannot win by defending. So we need to be on the offensive.”

Coronavirus is temporary:

“This is just temporary. The more aggressive measures we take, the quicker we can contain the virus spread.”

COVID-19 is not airborne:

“The virus is not airborne. It’s spread if the droplets from your nose and mouth. If you touch that and rub your eyes, nose or mouth, then you get the virus. Coronavirus is not spread through food. If you wash your hands throughly, even if you touch the droplets on surfaces that can be mitigated.”

We are still learning about the virus:

“We don’t have the full picture of the virus yet. We are all learning … We don’t if this virus can spread in cold temperatures alone or when summer comes, will it go away? All we know is that we humans and our bodies behave differently during summer months. We are only 12 weeks into finding how this virus will behave and we are still putting the evidence together. We don’t have answers to those questions yet.”

There’s still no vaccine for Coronavirus:

“We started more than 8 weeks ago and we had 400 scientists participate and we are working on a few vaccine candidates. But vaccines will be ready only 12 to 18 months from now.”

Sneezing and runny nose are usually not the symptoms of coronavirus:

“It would be rare if you sneeze or have a stuffy nose. 90 per cent of those affected in China were found to have fever and dry cough as distinguishing features.”