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Silly songs, dances, and skits: The world is using humor to curb coronavirus’s spread

A look at the humorous measures governments and citizens are taking to combat the spread of Covid-19.

A poster by Italian artist Salvatore Benintende depicts Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa wearing a protective face mask and holding a mobile phone in Barcelona, Spain, on February 18, 2020.
Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images

The spread of the novel coronavirus is concerning, if not downright scary. But even at such a serious time, governments and citizens around the world are using quirky and even funny viral videos to educate the public (and each other) on how to stay safe and prevent a greater outbreak.

Covid-19, the official name of the disease caused by the virus, has so far infected more than 100,000 people worldwide and stirred a global panic. People are “clearing the shelves of their local pharmacies and grocery stores,” stockpiling face masks and hand sanitizer — even though government experts, like those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, keep telling people that the best way to protect yourself from infection is to just wash your hands really well.

So to try to get this message across more effectively, and educate people about the coronavirus more generally, governments and others are getting creative — to often hilarious results. After all, who says you can’t spread a little joy and laughter while trying to keep people from spreading a virus?

Here are some of the best ones we’ve seen so far.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health: Catchy coronavirus-prevention song

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health worked with singers Min and Erik, the artists behind the 2017 hit Vietnamese song “Ghen,” to produce a catchy music video called “Jealous Coronavirus” to help inform the public on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The song starts by giving context about the outbreak, informing the listeners or viewers that it started in Wuhan, China, then goes into the importance of preventing the spread of the disease and exactly how to do so.

“Let’s wash our hands, rub, rub, rub, rub them / don’t put your hands on eyes, nose, mouth / limit going to crowded places, fight back against corona!” the chorus, sung in Vietnamese, goes.

The lyrics are accompanied by cartoon images of menacing green virus cells, people wearing face masks, and, uh, the Grim Reaper. The video was uploaded by Min and has received almost 6 million views since February 23.

Shortly after the song’s release, Quang Đăng, a Vietnamese dancer, picked up the song and choreographed a dance to it. He challenged his viewers on Instagram to learn and upload their own videos using the hashtag #GhenCovyChallenge.

The dancer tells his viewers in the caption of the video that, in order to complete the challenge, they must “perform the dance ... with 6 hand washing movements as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.”

Washington’s secretary of state on sealing your ballot: “Whether healthy or sick, please don’t lick!”

A week before Washington state’s primary elections were scheduled to take place on March 10, Washington’s secretary of state tweeted a picture featuring a rhyme that warns the public against licking ballot-return envelopes to seal them: “Whether healthy or sick, please don’t lick!”

In the tweet, the secretary of state instead advised that voters instead use a “wet sponge or cloth” to seal their ballots to prevent the spread of the virus.

And honestly, not licking things right now is probably a good idea.

Prevention advice gets spicy in Round Rock, Texas

The city of Round Rock, Texas, put out a public service message to ensure people wash their hands properly — and let’s just say the city definitely knows its audience well.

“Wash your hands like you just got done slicing jalapeños for a batch of nachos and you need to take your contacts out,” the message reads. “That’s like 20 seconds of scrubbing, y’all.”

Pretty darn relatable.

The PSA became an instant hit on Twitter. According to Patch.com, it was produced by Austin Ellington, Round Rock’s digital communications coordinator, who apparently has also “produced a number of memorably creative informational, and award-winning, campaigns for the city.”

“Air hug”: Singapore’s “What you should do this COVID-19 outbreak”

In Singapore, content creators are using humorous skits in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.

This video touches on important topics such as not listening to rumors, not panicking, washing your hands properly, and not touching your face.

By exhibiting one panicky, flawed character and one calm and collected one, the video addresses ways the public is incorrectly reacting to the virus, and then shows what they should be doing instead.

The video was uploaded by a YouTube channel called “meWATCH” that posts “local/made-in-Singapore on-demand dramas, entertainment, news, sports and live programmes.”

The channel has uploaded at least four other videos about Covid-19 and how to prevent it, including a humorous step-by-step guide on how to properly wash your hands.

I’d say watch them all.

Iran: “Proper way to wash your hands”

Speaking of how to properly wash your hands, an Iranian theater actor, Danial Kheirikhah, posted a one-minute orchestral parody song on Instagram to show the “proper way to wash your hands.”

Without saying a single word, Kheirikhah advises how to wash your hands thoroughly, to cover a sneeze with your elbow, and to wash your hands if you sneeze into them.

The actor spends most of the video displaying a thorough way of washing his hands by playing the role of an orchestral conductor. As he “conducts the orchestra,” he is also scrubbing his palms, nails, and knuckles multiple times — as one should.

He cleverly ends the video by sneezing into his elbow. The second time he sneezes, he does so into his palms, requiring him to start the video all over again by — you guessed it — washing his hands.

Chinese citizens create new ways to connect with each other safely

A video posted to Twitter in China jokingly displays a new way people can greet each other without potentially spreading any germs: the “Wuhan Shake.”

In the video, a group of people are seen tapping their shoe-covered feet against their friends’ shoe-covered feet instead of shaking hands.

It’s an idea that many Americans might consider copying these days.

A study in the Journal of Environmental Healthfound only 5 percent of Americans wash their hands properly,” meaning the person you’re greeting is highly likely to have unclean hands.

It’s nice to see that even during such a troublesome time, people are still using their creativity and humor, not only to help out but also to provide a little levity. We could all use a bit more of that spreading around.