Skip to content
Skip to main content

Coronavirus: The Lowdown

Updated Friday, 14 May 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting almost everyone worldwide. We've pulled together some content on the virus and how to cope in these unprecedented times.

On this page, you will find the latest articles from Open University academics, as well as links to related and supporting content. This includes how to take your teaching online, content to support homeschooling, and resources on mental health and wellbeing.

With the worldwide threat of the Coronavirus still present, it’s vital we all take the very best care of ourselves. And this is especially important for those of us who are older or more vulnerable. The animation below gives some advice on how to keep healthy:

PDF document Transcript 102.9 KB

Help us with our research

We currently have two investigations related to COVID-19. It would be great if you could take part in this research by The Open University and the Young Foundation.

Share your experiences of Covid-19 and get a chance to see what others are doing and posting in your area.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • coughing
  • a high temperature
  • difficulty breathing

Some people get seriously ill and die from multiple organ failure, but many people infected have very mild symptoms or none at all.

What do you do if you think you have coronavirus?

You may need to isolate yourself if you think you have coronavirus or have been in close contact with an infected person.

Spending 15 minutes within 2m (6ft) of someone with the virus, or having face-to-face contact, increases your risk of contracting the disease.

Please check the NHS website for more advice on what to do.

How can you stop germs spreading?

There are certain things you can do to prevent infectious disease from spreading that are simple yet effective:

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or even your sleeve, when you cough or sneeze
  • do not cover sneezes with your hands
  • throw used tissues in the bin straight away (catch it, kill it, bin it)
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – pop hand sanitiser gel in your bag for when soap and water are not available
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands haven't been cleaned.

Here's a handy GIF that explains how flattening the curve is crucial:

Helpful links:

World Health Organization



Coronavirus: What about mental health?

These are times of uncertainty and the relentless bad news, activity on social media, and misinformation being spread can cause anxiety. These free resources can help you if you're feeling like your mental health is taking a turn for the worse.

Free courses on infectious disease


Become an OU student

Ratings & Comments

Share this free course

Copyright information

Skip Rate and Review

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?