Hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson instated stringent social-distancing measures to halt the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, LeClerc, a Glasgow-based journalist, arrived home feeling shivery and flushed. Over the next few days, she developed a cough, chest pain, aching joints, and a prickling sensation on her skin. After a week of bed rest, she started improving. But on day 12, every old symptom returned, amplified and with reinforcements: She spiked an intermittent fever, lost her sense of taste and smell, and struggled to breathe.
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When I spoke with LeClerc on day 66, she was still experiencing waves of symptoms. “Before this, I was a fit, healthy 32-year-old,” she said. “Now I’ve been reduced to not being able to stand up in the shower without feeling fatigued. I’ve tried going to the supermarket and I’m in bed for days afterwards. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.” Despite her best efforts, LeClerc has not been able to get a test, but “every doctor I’ve spoken to says there’s no shadow of a doubt that this has been COVID,” she said. Today is day 80.
via: Thousands Who Got COVID-19 in March Are Still Sick – The Atlantic
via: What Happens to All the Un-Hugged Hugs? | The New Yorker
But the effort was frustrated as the C.D.C.’s decades-old notification system delivered information collected at the airports that was riddled with duplicative records, bad phone numbers and incomplete addresses. For weeks, officials tried to track passengers using lists sent by the C.D.C., scouring information about each flight in separate spreadsheets.
via: The C.D.C. Waited ‘Its Entire Existence for This Moment.’ What Went Wrong? – The New York Times
You can’t exactly force friends, neighbors or strangers to wear a face covering to slow the spread of coronavirus, but experts prescribe a few approaches to help nudge them in the right direction — and keep yourself safe.
COVID-19 primarily spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including by asymptomatic and “pre-symptomatic” individuals.
via: ‘People probably aren’t going to react kindly or openly to being policed’: How to deal with someone who refuses wear a face mask – MarketWatch
There was supposed to be a peak. But the stark turning point, when the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. finally crested and began descending sharply, never happened. Instead, America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths. The graphs were more mesa than Matterhorn—flat-topped, not sharp-peaked. Only this month has the slope started gently heading downward.
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This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways. In the most severely pummeled places, like New York and New Jersey, COVID-19 is waning. In Texas and North Carolina, it is still taking off. In Oregon and South Carolina, it is holding steady. These trends average into a national plateau, but each state’s pattern is distinct. Currently, Hawaii’s looks like a child’s drawing of a mountain. Minnesota’s looks like the tip of a hockey stick. Maine’s looks like a (two-humped) camel. The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic.
via: We Live in a Patchwork Pandemic Now – The Atlantic
THERE IS NO clock in my house, so Google Home is often the timekeeper. Its job is usually limited to cooking timers, but lately—more often than I’d like—I find myself ambling about the house, asking Google the time of day, or worse, the day of the week. Sometimes, after seeing the time on my phone, I call out as if to get a second opinion, to explain how entire chunks of the day have evaporated, or how it is suddenly Thursday again. I recently found my experience summed up in a cartoon from The New Yorker, in which a couchbound man is haunted by the ghost of himself. “I’m you from the future!” the ghost exclaims. “Or the past. I’ve completely lost track of time.”
via: The Coronavirus Has Warped All Sense of Time | WIRED
On march 27, as the U.S. topped 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Donald Trump stood at the lectern of the White House press-briefing room and was asked what he’d say about the pandemic to a child. Amid a meandering answer, Trump remarked, “You can call it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus. You know, you can call it many different names. I’m not sure anybody even knows what it is.”
That was neither the most consequential statement from the White House, nor the most egregious. But it was perhaps the most ironic. In a pandemic characterized by extreme uncertainty, one of the few things experts know for sure is the identity of the pathogen responsible: a virus called SARS-CoV-2 that is closely related to the original SARS virus. Both are members of the coronavirus family, which is entirely distinct from the family that includes influenza viruses. Scientists know the shape of proteins on the new coronavirus’s surface down to the position of individual atoms. Give me two hours, and I can do a dramatic reading of its entire genome.
via: The Pandemic Doesn’t Have to Be This Confusing – The Atlantic
First it was the Doubletree Cookies — now Ikea Meatballs? What’s next, the Colonel’s secret spices?
After marinating on the couch for the ninth day in a row, a real vacation — one involving a plane — seems like a distant possibility. These days, the longest trip most of us can expect to take is a grocery run. But of course, we will travel again, and the abundance of cheap tickets to many destinations is enticing. That said, planning travel, even for months in the future, carries risk. “Whether or not you actually book a future trip is a very personal decision,” says Tracy Stewart, content editor at travel deal site Airfarewatchdog.com. If you do choose to book a flight for the fall — and keep in mind, fares will rise again soon — here’s what you need to know.
via: Should you buy cheap flights now? What to know about planning future vacations
Does drinking alcohol mean I’m more likely to get COVID-19?
We don’t know yet, but that’s not necessarily cause for celebration. “There is no direct research that I’m aware of in relation to alcohol and COVID-19,” says Gregory A. Poland, an expert in infectious diseases and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “But the absence of research doesn’t mean the absence of harm.”
What experts do know is how alcohol overuse impacts the immune system more broadly, and from that, what might be reasonable to assume about alcohol overuse and the coronavirus — which, though new, is not entirely unlike other respiratory infections that have been well researched.
via: Drinking Alcohol & Coronavirus: Everything You Should Know
In Part 1, we showed the paths that different East Asian countries followed during their dance against the coronavirus. Some patterns started to emerge about the measures that matter most.
It’s time to dive deep into all these possible measures, to understand them really well and decide which ones we should follow. We can split them into 4 blocks:
Cheap measures that might be enough to suppress the coronavirus, such as masks, physical distancing, testing, contact tracing, quarantines, isolations, and others
Somewhat expensive measures that might be necessary in some cases, such as travel bans and limits on social gatherings
Expensive measures that might not always be necessary during the dance, such as blanket school and business closures
During the Dance, when we relax the lockdown and start going back to normal, the goal is to combine measures that get as much economic activity back to normal, while keeping the virus’ transmission rate below 1 — so that it doesn’t spread widely — until either a cure or a vaccine is discovered.
Today we’re going to focus on the very cheap and easy measures that anybody can apply, and the massive impact they can have. Let’s start with the most obvious of them all: Masks
via: Coronavirus: The Basic Dance Steps Everybody Can Follow
A month ago we sounded the alarm with Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now. After that, we asked countries to buy us time with Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance and looked in detail at the US situation with Coronavirus: Out of Many, One. Together, these articles have been viewed by over 60 million people and translated into over 40 languages.
Since then, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has grown twentyfold, from 125,000 to over 2.5 million. Billions of people around the world are under the Hammer: Their governments have implemented heavy social distancing measures to quench the spread of the virus.
Most did the right thing: The Hammer was the right decision. It bought us time to reduce the epidemic and to figure out what to do during the next phase, the Dance, in which we relax the harsh social distancing measures in a careful way to avoid a second outbreak. But the Hammer is hard. Millions have lost their jobs, their income, their savings, their businesses, their freedom. The world needs answers: When is this over? When do we relax these measures and go back to the new normal? What will it take? What will life be like?
via: Coronavirus: Learning How to Dance – Tomas Pueyo – Medium
Yet President Trump this week proposed guidelines for reopening the economy and suggested that a swath of the United States would soon resume something resembling normalcy. For weeks now, the administration’s view of the crisis and our future has been rosier than that of its own medical advisers, and of scientists generally.
In truth, it is not clear to anyone where this crisis is leading us. More than 20 experts in public health, medicine, epidemiology and history shared their thoughts on the future during in-depth interviews. When can we emerge from our homes? How long, realistically, before we have a treatment or vaccine? How will we keep the virus at bay?
via: The Coronavirus in America: The Year Ahead – The New York Times
The new coronavirus has brought American life to a near standstill, closing businesses, canceling large gatherings, and keeping people at home. All of those people must surely be wondering: When will things return to normal?
The answer is simple, if not exactly satisfying: when enough of the population—possibly 60 or 80 percent of people—is resistant to COVID-19 to stifle the disease’s spread from person to person. That is the end goal, although no one knows exactly how long it will take to get there.
via: When Will Coronavirus Social Distancing Be Over? – The Atlantic
Vann R. Newkirk II has spent a lot of time thinking about disasters. Three years ago, the Atlantic staff writer was on the ground in Puerto Rico covering Hurricane Maria and its political fallout. He spent the past year reporting Floodlines, an eight-part documentary podcast covering the unequal toll Hurricane Katrina took on the residents of New Orleans.
Newkirk noticed a pattern after both events—the desire to return to normalcy, to the way things were before. It’s a pattern he sees emerging in this moment, too.
On this episode of the podcast Social Distance, Vann joins Katherine Wells and James Hamblin to explore what the legacy of the coronavirus pandemic might be—and how its effects will be molded by how the world looks right now.
via: What the World Will Look Like After the Pandemic – The Atlantic
So-called serological tests work differently from Covid-19 diagnostic tests, which require a nose or throat swab and look for viral RNA. Instead, they check a person’s blood for evidence of an immune response to the virus, which can be found even in people with no symptoms or those who have already recovered from the disease. Researchers have eagerly awaited those kinds of tests to gain insight into the true infection and fatality rates across age groups, and to help answer questions about things like asymptomatic spread and how long antibodies last—a key part of understanding how Covid-19 immunity might work. In early April, more than 3,000 people took the Stanford researchers up on their offer.
The results, posted Friday by the Stanford researchers as a preprint, haven’t been peer-reviewed. But they have gotten a lot of attention. And they’ve quickly become emblematic of this age of rapid-fire scientific communications: Surprising results are widely shared before they’re published in an academic journal, followed by an attempt at peer review by Twitter thread.
via: New Covid-19 Antibody Study Results Are In. Are They Right? | WIRED
Reports of pets testing positive for Covid-19 can make pet owners anxious about how best to keep their animals, and themselves, safe.
The number of verified infections in pets remains small: On Wednesday, the CDC announced that two cats living in separate areas of New York state are the first pets in the United States to test positive for the novel coronavirus. Two dogs have been diagnosed in China, although scientists say the virus has much more trouble replicating in canines.
and key takeaways quoted from the CDC:
Because there’s a chance that pets can spread the virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued four key rules:
* Don’t let pets interact with people or animals outside of your home.
* Keep cats indoors when possible.
* Walk dogs on a leash, staying 6 feet away from other people and animals.
* Avoid dog parks and other public places where people and dogs gather.
via: Should you let a stranger pet your dog? Covid-19 risks explained by experts
The people who get the most severely sick from COVID-19 will sometimes be unpredictable, but in many cases, they will not. They will be the same people who get sick from most every other cause. Cytokines like IL-6 can be elevated by a single night of bad sleep. Over the course of a lifetime, the effects of daily and hourly stressors accumulate. Ultimately, people who are unable to take time off of work when sick—or who don’t have a comfortable and quiet home, or who lack access to good food and clean air—are likely to bear the burden of severe disease.
Much is yet unknown about specific cytokines and their roles in disease. But the likelihood of disease in general is not so mysterious. Often, it’s a matter of what societies choose to tolerate. America has empty hotels while people sleep in parking lots. We are destroying food while people go hungry. We are allowing individuals to endure the physiological stresses of financial catastrophe while bailing out corporations. With the coronavirus, we do not have vulnerable populations so much as we have vulnerabilities as a population. Our immune system is not strong.
via: Why COVID-19 Makes Some People Sicker Than Others – The Atlantic
There are thousands of Americans dying from Covid-19 every day. Most of them are #elderly and #immunocompromised, but you almost wouldn’t know it from the headlines. A young, healthy person dies and it’s an injustice, a scare tactic that gets shared on social media with a reminder to stay home. But when it’s a frail senior, well, their time was up. My grandfather gets to be a glossed-over statistic, a data point.
via: Most Covid-19 deaths are older people. They shouldn’t be treated as statistics. – Vox
Global catastrophes change the world, and this pandemic is very much akin to a major war. Even if we contain the Covid-19 crisis within a few months, the legacy of this pandemic will live with us for years, perhaps decades to come. It will change the way we move, build, learn, and connect. There is simply no way that our lives will resume as if this had never happened. And so, while it may feel good in the moment, it is foolish to dive into a frenzy of activity or obsess about your scholarly productivity right now. That is denial and delusion. The emotionally and spiritually sane response is to prepare to be forever changed.
via: Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure – The Chronicle of Higher Education
If you feel confused about whether people should wear masks and why and what kind, you’re not alone. COVID-19 is a novel disease and we’re learning new things about it every day. However, much of the confusion around masks stems from the conflation of two very different functions of masks.
Masks can be worn to protect the wearer from getting infected or masks can be worn to protect others from being infected by the wearer. Protecting the wearer is difficult: It requires medical-grade respirator masks, a proper fit, and careful putting on and taking off. But masks can also be worn to prevent transmission to others, and this is their most important use for society. If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths. Luckily, blocking transmission outward at the source is much easier. It can be accomplished with something as simple as a cloth #mask.
via: Don’t Wear a Mask for Yourself – The Atlantic
I’m barely two weeks into quarantine and am about to break. My wife and I have been remote working for a month now and we were getting a rhythm until schools shut down. Then daycare shut down. And now we’re doing everything we can to keep up with school curriculum and trying to actually hang with our kids (reading books, playing) limit screen time (I mean, we’re up to 1.5 hours a day already!) Oh yeah, and keep the jobs that we’re frankly still lucky to have.
Via: Kids, Quarantine, Work, Coronavirus… I Don’t Think I Can Do This. | Fatherly
Strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way. If we don’t take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the healthcare system will have collapsed.
Via: Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance – Tomas Pueyo – Medium
Of course, the best and easiest ways to help others during the coronavirus pandemic is to wash your hands, social distance if you must go out, self-quarantine if you are sick or think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and cancel any group gatherings, especially of more than 10 people.
For most of us, self-isolating is new, but all this distance from one another doesn’t make us helpless in this collective fight. There are still things we can do for one another. Whether you have time, money, a car or even a phone, there are big and small ways you can help others.
Via: 34 Simple Ways To Help Others During The Covid-19 Pandemic – Care.com
Via: GOP Texas Lieutenant Governor Says We Need to Take Risk to Get Back to Work: ‘There Are More Important Things Than Living’