from the A-month's-worth-of-daily-stories-in-one-day dept.
This story is a merge of 30 story submissions. Given that it was well over 17,000 words of original source material (excluding HTML markup!), a great deal of pruning was performed to get it to a manageable size. I strongly encourage folks to read the linked articles for more information.
For latest statistics, and finer granularity, see https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.
As of 20200330_151936 UTC, it reported these world-wide totals:
- Coronavirus Cases: 743,081
- Deaths: 35,347
- Recovered: 157,046
- Active Cases:
- 550,688 (Currently Infected Patients)
- 522,206 (95%) in Mild Condition
- 28,482 (5%) Serious or Critical
- Closed Cases:
- 192,393 Cases which had an outcome
- 157,046 (82%) Recovered / Discharged
- 35,347 (18%) Deaths
Stories appear below the fold.
Apple Says Customers Must Wait to Pick Up Repairs Locked Inside its Retail Stores
Apple hasn't said when its stores might reopen
Apple customers who didn't pick up devices dropped off for repairs within two days of the company closing all of its retail stores will have to wait to pick them up until the stores reopen, an Apple spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.
When Apple announced on March 14th that it would be closing all retail stores outside China due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said customers had a two-day window to retrieve any repairs. Apple tried to contact customers via phone and email to tell them they needed to pick up their devices, but any products that didn't get retrieved in that window can't be picked up until the stores reopen, the spokesperson told Business Insider.
In ERs Overwhelmed by COVID-19, Here's Who Might Get Treated—and Who Might Not
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
In a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, a group of medical ethicists and public health researchers made a series of conservative estimates, starting with the estimate that about 5 percent of the US population—about 16 million—will become infected with SARS-CoV-2 within the next three months. From there, about 8 percent of those cases may need to be hospitalized. That's 1.28 million hospital beds. Of those, 960,000 may need to be admitted to an ICU.
According to the American Hospital Association, there are just under 800,000 staffed beds in community hospitals. Estimates of the country's ICU beds for adult patients range from just 68,000 to 85,000.
[...] given the rapidly rising case counts in some place, it is likely that at least some US doctors will soon face difficult choices, much like their counterparts abroad. Some of those choices will be "extremely psychologically traumatic," the NEJM article authors write.
"The choice to set limits on access to treatment is not a discretionary decision, but a necessary response to the overwhelming effects of a pandemic," they write. "The question is not whether to set priorities, but how to do so ethically and consistently, rather than basing decisions on individual institutions' approaches or a clinician's intuition in the heat of the moment."
So, in an overwhelming pandemic, how should doctors decide whom to save?
The authors lay out six recommendations, guided by four fundamental values: maximizing benefits, treating people equally, giving priority to the worst off, and rewarding instrumental value (that is, giving priority to patients who can go on to help others, such as patients who are doctors).
Their first recommendation for how to ethically allocate care in the COVID-19 pandemic is to [...] prioritize saving the most lives and more years of life.
[...] Second, the researchers recommend giving health care workers priority for COVID-19 interventions
[...] [Third, among] many similar patients with similar prognoses, [...] things like beds and ventilators should be allocated randomly, such as in a lottery.
[...] [Fourth ...] the researchers say that priorities for some resources should differ from others and follow the latest scientific evidence.
[...] [Fifth] Those who agree to take on the risks of participating in trials of experimental vaccines or treatments should also receive some priority in treatment.
Lastly, [...] these recommendations apply equally among COVID-19 patients and all other types of patients.
The researchers recommend that individual health care institutions have committees or appointed officials to help craft and apply their own guidelines—shaped by the above recommendations. Hopefully, hospitals won't need to use them. But if they do, it will both help keep overburdened doctors from making traumatic decisions on their own and help ensure equal treatment of patients.
-- submitted from IRC
Australian Pubs Sell their Stock Before Stage 3 Closes them Down
Pubs in Australia are selling off their stock before the prime minister shuts down the country for COVID-19 control. Many large businesses have already shut down.
US Finally Has Plans for the Pandemic - It Now Leads in Infections
On Thursday, the US passed a grim milestone: it surpassed China as the country with the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases. The milestone was reached during what appears to be a growing public tug-of-war between senior Trump administration officials, who wish to see restrictions lifted as quickly as possible, and public health experts, who argue they're clearly still required for the time being. That tension may end up playing out in the implementation of a new plan being developed to guide states through their response to the pandemic.
One casualty in this fight: the work of epidemiologists. As these researchers continue to test the impact of different restrictions on the spread of infections, their models are necessarily producing different numbers. Those differences are now being dragged into the intensely political arguments about how best to respond to the pandemic.
[...] On Thursday, Trump sent a letter to US governors that contained a rough outline of a plan for containing the virus. The plan will involve extensive testing to identify the state of the virus on a per-county level. Counties will be placed in different risk categories according to the results of that testing, and the governors will be given a set of restrictions that should be put in place to help bring the risk down.
This approach is necessary in the US because the structure of government places authority for health issues in the hands of states. There is simply no mechanism by which the President can directly compel local authorities to implement these sorts of public health restrictions.
Unfortunately, that structure could threaten to undermine this program. Trump has generally tended to downplay the risk posed by SARS-CoV-2 and push the prospects of a return to normal activities, despite opposition by public health experts both within and outside the administration. While that tension is likely to play out in the crafting of the guidelines for this new policy, a number of Republican governors have decided to take an approach in keeping with Trump's wishes and declined to implement restrictions.
[...] epidemiologist Carl Bergstrom [...] publish[ed] a long lament on Twitter. We'll quote part of it below:
As infectious disease epidemiologists, biomedical researchers, and health professionals more broadly, we're fighting a battle against the biggest crisis in decades. But we are also fighting on a second front that we did not anticipate, fighting a battle against misinformation and disinformation in a hyper-partisan environment where our predictions and recommendations about the pandemic response are deeply politicized. Every twist and turn that the pandemic takes is seized upon by one side or other to claim that some fraction of us are incompetent if not outright mendacious.
Researchers are pilloried for updating their beliefs based on new information. In this environment, when unexpected facts come to light—a higher than anticipated [infectivity], for example—they are used to discredit scientists who made correct inferences given the data that they had available at the time.
To understand this pandemic, it's part of a scientist's job to produce numbers and projections, even though we know in advance that some of those will be wrong. Being wrong doesn't mean the models are useless or that the scientists were wrong. And it doesn't mean that the scientists are confused or know little about what they're modeling. These numbers are produced because they show the contrast between our actions and doing nothing—or what might happen if the virus turns out to behave differently than it appears to be.
Folding@Home Reaches 1.5 Exaflops With SARS-CoV-2 Projects
Folding@home has announced that cumulative compute performance of systems participating in the project has exceeded 1.5 ExaFLOPS, or 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second. The level of performance currently available from Folding@home participants is by an order of magnitude higher than that of the world's most powerful supercomputer.
[...] The outbreak of COVID-19 has been taxing for a number of computational biology and chemistry projects. IBM recently formed its COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium that pools together major supercomputers run by various research institutions and technology companies in the USA to run research simulations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. Cumulative performance of supercomputers participating in IBM's COVID-19 HPC Consortium is 330 PetaFLOPS.
Folding@home distributed computing project uses compute capabilities to run simulations of protein dynamics in a bid to better understand them and find cures for various diseases. Recently F@H started to run projects simulating theoretically druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2, which attracted a lot of attention as SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 are clearly the hottest topics these days.
Right Now People Are Pretty Fragile.' Coronavirus Creates Perfect Breeding Ground for Online Idiots
When Mak Kapetanovic reads people's jokey tweets and Facebook messages about the prospect of self-isolation with overbearing relatives as COVID-19 traverses the globe, he wants to see the funny side. But mostly, he feels a sense of deep disquiet. The 23-year-old anthropology student understands how feelings of loneliness, anger and alienation can consume you. And he knows the very dark places they can take you.
A few years ago, seeking refuge from uncertainty and turmoil, Kapetanovic found himself sucked into the narratives of white supremacist groups online. Now he fears the same conditions that sent him on the path to hate are fomenting in homes across the world.
"If people who are self-isolating together are angry at each other and not talking, that would be pretty bad," says Kapetanovic from his home in Jacksonville, Florida. He worries that tensions at home would compound an environment already fraught with fear and confusion. "Feelings of isolation, anger, grief and frustration, all of those things are happening. A lot of people are scared, and people are not sure what to think."
"It is the far right who always seem to take advantage of these insecurities," he adds.
Modelling Study Estimates Impact Of Physical Distancing Measures On Progression Of COVID-19 Epidemic
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
New modelling research, published in The Lancet Public Health journal, suggests that school and workplace closures in Wuhan, China have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases and substantially delayed the epidemic peak -- giving the health system the time and opportunity to expand and respond.
Using mathematical modelling to simulate the impact of either extending or relaxing current school and workplace closures, researchers estimate that by lifting these control measures in March, a second wave of cases may occur in late August, whereas maintaining these restrictions until April, would likely delay a second peak until October -- relieving pressure on the health services in the intervening months.
However, the authors caution that given the large uncertainties around estimates of the reproduction number (how many people an individual with the virus is likely to infect), and how long a person is infected on average, the true impact of relaxing physical distancing measures on the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic cannot be precisely predicted.
"The unprecedented measures the city of Wuhan has put in place to reduce social contacts in school and the workplace have helped to control the outbreak," says Dr Kiesha Prem from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, who led the research. "However, the city now needs to be really careful to avoid prematurely lifting physical distancing measures, because that could lead to an earlier secondary peak in cases. But if they relax the restrictions gradually, this is likely to both delay and flatten the peak."
[...] "Our results won't look exactly the same in another country, because the population structure and the way people mix will be different. But we think one thing probably applies everywhere: physical distancing measures are very useful, and we need to carefully adjust their lifting to avoid subsequent waves of infection when workers and school children return to their normal routine. If those waves come too quickly, that could overwhelm health systems," says co-author Dr Yang Liu from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Despite these important findings, the study has some limitations, including that it assumed no difference in susceptibility between children, and that the extreme distancing measures used in Wuhan may have increased the transmission within households. Finally, the model did not capture individual-level differences in contact rates, which could be important in super-spreading events, particularly early on in an epidemic.
He continues: "Given many countries with mounting epidemics now potentially face the first phase of lockdown, safe ways out of the situation must be identified... New COVID-19 country-specific models should incorporate testing, contract tracing, and localised quarantine of suspected cases as the main alternative intervention strategy to distancing lockdown measures, either at the start of the epidemic, if it is very small, or after the relaxation of lockdown conditions, if lockdown had to be imposed, to prevent health-care system overload in an already mounting epidemic."
Kiesha Prem, et al. The effect of control strategies to reduce social mixing on outcomes of the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China: a modelling study. The Lancet Public Health, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30073-6
Tim Colbourn. COVID-19: extending or relaxing distancing control measures. The Lancet Public Health, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30072-4
Lab Tests Using Antihistamines to Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 to Start at Helsinki University
Lead researcher Marja Jäättelä and her team from Danish Cancer Society Research Center (DCRC) have sent 12 samples of antihistamines shown to improve cancer treatment to Olli Vapalahti of Helsinki University who has set up a COVID-19 test lab.
If they prove to be helpful in treating COVID-19 it would provide a much safer alternative to chloroquine and hydrochloroquine treatments, which seems to have a positive effect especially in combination with antibacterial azithromycin, but aren't as safe as antihistamines.
: https://www.cancer.dk/nyheder/forskere-fra-kraeftens-bekaempelse-vil-afproeve-allergimedicin-som-middel-mod-coronavirus/ (danish)
: https://www.cancer.dk/nyheder/allergimedicin-kan-goere-kemoterapi-mere-effektiv/ (danish)
In Politics And Pandemics, Russian Trolls Use Fear, Anger To Drive Clicks
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Facebook users flipping through their feeds in the fall of 2016 faced a minefield of targeted advertisements pitting blacks against police, southern whites against immigrants, gun owners against Obama supporters and the LGBTQ community against the conservative right.
Placed by distant Russian trolls, they didn't aim to prop up one candidate or cause, but to turn Americans against one another. The ads were cheaply made and full of threatening, vulgar language.
And, according to a sweeping new analysis of more than 2,500 of the ads, they were remarkably effective, eliciting clickthrough rates as much as nine times higher than what is typical in digital advertising. "We found that fear and anger appeals work really well in getting people to engage," said lead author Chris Vargo, an assistant professor of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design at University of Colorado Boulder.
The study, published this week in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, is the first to take a comprehensive look at ads placed by the infamous Russian propaganda machine known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) and ask: How effective were they? And what makes people click on them?
While focused on ads running in 2016, the study's findings resonate in the age of COVID-19 and the run-up to the 2020 election, the authors say.
[...] Collectively, the IRA spent about $75,000 to generate about 40.5 million impressions with about 3.7 million users clicking on them—a clickthrough rate of 9.2%.
That compares to between .9% and 1.8% for a typical digital ad.
While ads using blatantly racist language didn't do well, those using cuss words and inflammatory words (like "sissy," "idiot," "psychopath" and "terrorist") or posing a potential threat did. Ads that evoked fear and anger did the best.
[...] "This wasn't about electing one candidate or another," said Vargo. "It was essentially a make-Americans-hate-each-other campaign."
The ads were often unsophisticated, with spelling or grammatical errors and poorly photoshopped images. Yet at only a few cents to distribute, the IRA got an impressive rate of return.
"I was shocked at how effective these appeals were," said Vargo.
The authors warn that they have no doubt such troll farms are still at it.
According to some news reports, Russian trolls are already engaged in disinformation campaigns around COVID-19.
More information: Chris J. Vargo et al. Fear, Anger, and Political Advertisement Engagement: A Computational Case Study of Russian-Linked Facebook and Instagram Content, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (2020). DOI: 10.1177/1077699020911884
Trump Orders GM to Make Ventilators, Claims Company is "Wasting Time"
President Donald Trump today ordered General Motors to make ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients and accused the company of "wasting time." Trump announced that he "signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators."
Hours before Trump took this step, GM said it is working with ventilator-maker Ventec Life Systems "to deliver the first ventilators next month and ramp up to a manufacturing capacity of more than 10,000 critical care ventilators per month with the infrastructure and capability to scale further."
Trump's statement did not specify how many ventilators GM should build, but he said that GM is moving too slowly:
Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course. GM was wasting time. Today's action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.
Trump just yesterday was downplaying the need for ventilators, telling Fox News' Sean Hannity, "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they'll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called Trump's statement "ignorant."
"So the point is, 'well they're in a stockpile, you must not need them' is just ignorant—of course you don't need them today," Cuomo told CNN. "You need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We're not there yet."
White House objected to $1 billion cost
Earlier today, Trump used his Twitter account to accuse GM of demanding too much money for ventilators, saying the company "want[s] top dollar." He also told GM to "START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!"
Separate reports suggest that the price per ventilator produced by GM would be below or at the low end of prices normally charged for ventilators, depending on features and capabilities.
Tesla Plans to Retool Solar Panel Factory to Make Medtronic Ventilators
Tesla is planning to retool its solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, to manufacture medical ventilators, CEO Elon Musk said in a Wednesday tweet.
"Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible," Musk tweeted. "We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York."
Tesla is making the ventilators in partnership with Medtronic. Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak confirmed the relationship in a Wednesday interview with CNBC.
[...] Ishrak added that "one of the products that we make, that is not our prime product right now, is one that is perfectly suitable at least in some of these instances, they will make."
He said that Tesla would build its manufacturing capabilities "in parallel while we're focusing on the product that is our largest-volume product, which is the PB 980. We will do everything we can to help them."
Experts Increasingly Question Advice Against Widespread Use of Face Masks
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the message from Western public health authorities has been pretty uniform in stating that the public at large shouldn't be wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19. Surgeon General Jerome Adams even sent an all-caps message to all Americans in late February imploring them to "STOP BUYING MASKS!" because they are "NOT effective" for the general public. Experts, however, aren't so sure that's the case, particularly considering that health authorities in some Asian countries have been calling on everyone to wear face masks to prevent the virus from spreading.
[...] "It's not to protect yourself. It's to protect people against the droplets coming out of your respiratory tract." Plus if everyone is wearing them it reduces any stigma attached to the face masks themselves.
Traffic Decrease During Partial Lockdown
Denmark has a partial lockdown since March 11th. Bars, restaurants, hairdressers, fitness centers, etc. are closed. People are encouraged to work from home if possible. Factories, workshops, groceries etc are not closed.
The effect on traffic is interesting. The latest statistics for the state roads is that the traffic has been reduced by 47% on March 23rd when compared to February 28th. No statistics for county or other roads, but the numbers for traffic accidents has dropped by approximately 54% so it is fair guess that traffic has been cut in half. Source: https://jyllands-posten.dk/indland/ECE12038752/fakta-og-tal-fra-et-lukket-land/ (direct google translate doesn't work so you have to copy-paste).
Statistics for other countries will likely be different due to differences in population density, infrastructure, urban sprawl, etc.
People of course don't currently drive to the fitness center or cinema, but a drop of ~50% seems surprisingly large to me. Do people really make that many non-essential trips?
Please enlighten us with traffic and traffic accident numbers from your country if they are available.
Life is Too Important to Take Things Seriously -- 40 Coronavirus Jokes
The threat of coronavirus is weighing on every one of us. But no matter how hard it gets, there's always a cold weapon known as a sense of humor. And some people aren't missing a chance to spice up the hard times with killer jokes, viral memes, and deadly funny quips. All puns intended, of course.
Let's take a look at these hand-picked comical gems compiled by Bored Panda, and after you're done, parts one and two are waiting here and here. Don't forget to upvote your favorites and share them with your friends. But remember to stay alone when laughing together!
Some of these are absolutely hilarious! (My faves are: 3, 7, 9, 11, 19, 22, 26, and 30. I haven't made it to the other two pages yet!)
President Trump Is So Upset About This Ad Showing His Failed Handling Of COVID-19 That He's Demanding it be Taken Down
President Trump Is So Upset About This Ad Showing His Failed Handling Of COVID-19 That He's Demanding It Be Taken Down
Has no one explained to Donald Trump how the Streisand Effect works yet? His campaign has apparently been sending laughably ridiculous threat letters to various TV stations that have been airing an advertisement put together by a group called Priorities USA, criticizing the President's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The ad highlights Trump's repeated statements playing down the virus and insisting that he had things under control, even as the numbers of infected started to rise exponentially. It's a pretty effective ad. You can see it here.
The letter is amazing in three separate, but equally dumb ways. First, it focuses solely on just one of the lines that the ad quotes Trump saying: "this is their new hoax." He did say that -- as the letter from his campaign readily admits.
[...] But the fact that the letter literally spends three pages whining about just the "hoax" line, while not mentioning any of the rest of the ad is them totally conceding all of the other moronic stuff the President has said. Indeed, one of the lines -- the "15 people" line -- is also in the ad, and the Trump campaign apparently has no problem with you knowing that he completely downplayed how many people were going to be impacted by COVID-19.
The second dumb thing about the letter, of course, is that the campaign just called a shit ton of attention to it. The ad got some attention, but now it's getting way way way more attention. And even if you took out the hoax line, it's a pretty damning account of a President who refuses to take responsibility or to recognize the seriousness of what has happened under his watch.
The third dumb thing about it is that this is the Trump campaign. They're famous for posting and highlighting selectively edited videos of people they dislike. Hell, at around the same time they were apparently sending this letter, the campaign's Twitter feed posted a heavily edited video of Joe Biden, presenting his recent TV appearances much more out of context than anything in the Priorities ad. Hilariously, the letter cites a bunch of fact checking sites -- including The Washington Post, a company that the campaign itself is currently suing, and which Trump himself regularly accuses of publishing fake news about him. And, yet, if we were to look through the fact check sites quoted in the letter, we'd find that they regularly claim that Trump himself is spewing false information -- and that's never ever stopped Trump, so why should it stop his opponents?
Charter Gives Techs $25 Gift Cards Instead of Hazard Pay During Pandemic
Charter Communications is giving its cable technicians $25 restaurant gift cards instead of hazard pay for going into customer homes during the coronavirus pandemic, BuzzFeed reported yesterday. The gift cards are a "token of our appreciation," an internal email from management on Monday said, BuzzFeed reported. Of course, many restaurants are closed during the pandemic, so restaurant gift cards aren't the most useful perk Charter management could have chosen.
"These gift cards never expire, so if you choose a restaurant that is currently not open, the card will remain valid for future use... Please take some time out of your busy day to enjoy a meal and recharge," the email read.
Several Charter employees did not appreciate the minimal gesture. "It's really insensitive, it shows they don't care," one New York City-based technician told BuzzFeed. "You think a gift card is supposed to make us feel better?"
No hand sanitizer or gloves
BuzzFeed previously reported that Charter technicians are being sent to customer homes without protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. The internal email to Charter technicians said the company has now "secured access to hand sanitizer and gloves, which would be available for workers to use 'in the next few weeks,'" according to BuzzFeed. Numerous customers have asked Charter techs "why they aren't in full protective gear."
[...] Charter, operator of Spectrum TV and Internet service, is the second-largest cable company in the US after Comcast. Charter has been slow to let call-center workers and other office-based employees work from home during the pandemic. We interviewed several Charter employees about their work conditions last week, with one saying a call center is "an absolute nightmare breeding ground for germs on a normal basis."
Second Chinese Company Sends 90 Tonnes of Australian Medical Supplies to China
Another Chinese company sent 90 tonnes of medical supplies out of Australia in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The shipment included hand sanitiser, gloves and masks. Greenland's Australian staff were deployed from normal HR and management duties to go out shopping for masks, sanitiser, thermometers and gloves to be sent to Wuhan. The company in question, Greenland, is a property developer not a medical supplies company.
Australia is Now Locked Down
Due to fears that COVID-19 will spread Australia is now locking down further by order of the Prime Minister. Public gatherings will now be limited to just two people, under tough new restrictions, and outdoor gyms, skate parks and boot camps closed from today.
NEJM: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1
From correspondence to the New England Journal of Medicine: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1:
We evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 in aerosols and on various surfaces and estimated their decay rates using a Bayesian regression model (see the Methods section in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org). SARS-CoV-2 nCoV-WA1-2020 (MN985325.1) and SARS-CoV-1 Tor2 (AY274119.3) were the strains used. Aerosols (<5 μm) containing SARS-CoV-2 (105.25 50% tissue-culture infectious dose [TCID50] per milliliter) or SARS-CoV-1 (106.75-7.00 TCID50 per milliliter) were generated with the use of a three-jet Collison nebulizer and fed into a Goldberg drum to create an aerosolized environment. The inoculum resulted in cycle-threshold values between 20 and 22, similar to those observed in samples obtained from the upper and lower respiratory tract in humans.
Our data consisted of 10 experimental conditions involving two viruses (SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1) in five environmental conditions (aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard). All experimental measurements are reported as means across three replicates.
[...] SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces (Figure 1A), although the virus titer was greatly reduced (from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter of medium after 72 hours on plastic and from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter after 48 hours on stainless steel). The stability kinetics of SARS-CoV-1 were similar (from 103.4 to 100.7 TCID50 per milliliter after 72 hours on plastic and from 103.6 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter after 48 hours on stainless steel). On copper, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 4 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours. On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours (Figure 1A).
[...] We found that the stability of SARS-CoV-2 was similar to that of SARS-CoV-1 under the experimental circumstances tested. This indicates that differences in the epidemiologic characteristics of these viruses probably arise from other factors, including high viral loads in the upper respiratory tract and the potential for persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 to shed and transmit the virus while asymptomatic.3,4 Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces up to days (depending on the inoculum shed). These findings echo those with SARS-CoV-1, in which these forms of transmission were associated with nosocomial spread and super-spreading events,5 and they provide information for pandemic mitigation efforts.
[...] This letter was published on March 17, 2020, at NEJM.org.
Neeltje van Doremalen, Trenton Bushmaker, Dylan H. Morris, et al. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. Letter to New England Journal of Medicine, March 2020 DOI: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973
Amazon Has Workers Who Tested Positive for COVID-19 in 10 Warehouses
- Local news reports indicate that at least seven Amazon warehouses in the US have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- Amazon has also had confirmed coronavirus cases in three of its European warehouses.
- Amazon has had to balance the safety of its employees against skyrocketing demand for its services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Amazon now has COVID-19 cases across 10 of its warehouses globally and faces growing pressure from unions and workers-rights groups to close its facilities.
Local news outlets have reported that there are seven cases in Amazon's warehouses: In New York, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, and Oklahoma, workers have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Last week, a delivery station in Queens, New York, was temporarily closed; it was the first US Amazon facility to detect a case of the virus.
Athena, a workers-rights advocacy group, said workers at Amazon's warehouse in Staten Island, New York, had to continue working while the facility was being cleaned after the case was confirmed this week.
[...] While Amazon has temporarily closed some facilities for deep cleaning in the wake of COVID-19 cases, it has not halted operations at any.
This contrasts with the treatment of white-collar tech workers — Amazon and other major US tech firms have closed offices and mandated that these employees work from home.
'Stop Price Gouging,' 33 Attorneys General Tell Amazon, Walmart, Others
'Stop Price Gouging,' 33 Attorneys General Tell Amazon, Walmart, Others Enlarge this image
Online platforms have "an ethical obligation" to root out price gouging on hand sanitizer and other high-demand products during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, top law enforcement officials from across the country say.
In letters to Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Facebook and Craigslist on Wednesday, 33 attorneys general say these companies' efforts to crack down on overpriced items on their selling platforms have so far "failed to remove unconscionably priced critical supplies."
The officials are calling on the companies to create policies that look at prices historically to detect surges, set up a portal for shoppers to report pricing complaints and proactively monitor and respond to spiking prices at all times and not just during emergencies.
[...] Shoppers have filed hundreds of complaints of massive price hikes on face masks, sanitizers and other supplies online as they rushed to stock up for the coronavirus pandemic. This continued even as the companies cracked down, removing or even banning listings of particular products.
The attorneys general cited sellers on Craigslist and Facebook as jacking up prices on hand sanitizer by as much as 10 times the normal cost.
[...] Price gouging laws vary across the U.S., but they generally go after retailers and wholesalers for unfair markups, particularly during emergencies. Many states give some flexibility for prices to go up in response to shortages and hoarding behavior, typically by around 10% to 30% over prices in earlier months.
Hertz is Giving NYC Health-Care Workers Free Car Rentals During Coronavirus Epidemic
Given the fairly constant barrage of awful stuff coming at us through the news lately, it's a bit of a relief when you see a company going out of its way to help make things better.
That's the case with Hertz and its plan to help New York City health-care workers during the coronavirus epidemic by offering them free car rentals until the end of April, the company announced Wednesday.
See, Hertz is having a pretty bad time right now because so much of its business is tied to the travel industry, and we all know how that's going. This means that the huge fleet of rental cars that Hertz maintains is mostly sitting idle, collecting dust in lots. In fact, its fleet utilization is down to around 20% right now, Hertz CEO Kathryn Marinello told the Wall Street Journal. It usually hovers around the 80% mark.
"It's vital that healthcare workers have safe and reliable transportation during this time, and we are eager to help," Marinello said in a statement. "The dramatic decrease in travel means we have more vehicles to serve the most critical needs of the community. We're starting in New York City with healthcare workers and we'll continue to see how we can help during this crisis. It gives all of us at Hertz a sense of purpose and pride to lend our support as much as we can during this very difficult time."
'Officers Are Scared Out There': Coronavirus Hits US Police
More than a fifth of Detroit's police force is quarantined; two officers have died from coronavirus and at least 39 have tested positive, including the chief of police.
[...] For the 2,200-person department, that has meant officers working doubles and swapping between units to fill patrols. And everyone has their temperature checked before they start work.
An increasing number of police departments around the country are watching their ranks get sick as the number of coronavirus cases explodes across the U.S. The growing tally raises questions about how laws can and should be enforced during the pandemic, and about how departments will hold up as the virus spreads among those whose work puts them at increased risk of infection.
"I don't think it's too far to say that officers are scared out there," said Sgt. Manny Ramirez, president of Fort Worth Police Officers Association.
Nearly 690 officers and civilian employees at police departments and sheriff's offices around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Associated Press survey this week of over 40 law enforcement agencies, mostly in major cities. The number of those in isolation as they await test results is far higher in many places.
In the tiny West Texas community of Marfa, Police Chief Estevan Marquez instructed his four officers not to pull over cars for minor traffic infractions, especially if they're passing through from areas already hit by the virus.
He can't afford for anyone to get sick.
FBI Learned of Coronavirus-Inspired Bomb Plotter through Radicalized US Army Soldier
Now this is interesting, in an Oklahoma City bomber Timmy McVeigh sort of way.
Info from ABC News:
The suspected white supremacist who plotted to bomb a hospital facing the coronavirus crisis was in touch with a then-active U.S. Army soldier who wanted to launch his own attack on a major American news network and discussed targeting a Democratic presidential candidate, according to an FBI alert summarizing the case.
On Tuesday, as 36-year-old Timothy Wilson was on the verge of trying to detonate a car bomb at a Kansas City-area medical center, agents from the FBI's field office in Missouri attempted to arrest him. But shots were fired, fatally wounding Wilson, according to the FBI.
[...] Ahead of Tuesday's incident, Wilson "espoused white supremacist ideology" and "made a threat that if any agent attempted to [search his property] they should 'bring a lot of body bags," said the FBI alert, distributed to state and local law enforcement agencies in the region on Wednesday.
Patients at Risk of Drug-Induced Sudden Cardiac Death in COVID-19
In the meantime, the pandemic, with over 400,000 confirmed cases worldwide already, is driving researchers to find safe and effective therapies for patients with COVID-19, and an antimalarial drug is potentially on the front lines of that effort. While new and repurposed drugs are being tested in clinical trials, some of these promising drugs are simultaneously being used off-label for compassionate use to treat patients.
Some of the medications being used to treat COVID-19 are known to cause drug-induced prolongation of the QTc of some people. The QTc is an indicator of the health of the heart's electrical recharging system. Patients with a dangerously prolonged QTc are at increased risk for potentially life-threatening ventricular rhythm abnormalities that can culminate in sudden cardiac death.
"Correctly identifying which patients are most susceptible to this unwanted, tragic side effect and knowing how to safely use these medications is important in neutralizing this threat," says Michael J. Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic genetic cardiologist. Dr. Ackerman is director of the Mayo Clinic Windland Smith Rice Comprehensive Sudden Cardiac Death Program.
A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings details more information about potential dangers and the application of QTc monitoring to guide treatment when using drugs that can cause heart rhythm changes. Dr. Ackerman is the senior author of the study.
Hydroxychloroquine is a long-standing preventive and treatment drug for malaria. It also is used to manage and minimize symptoms of inflammatory immune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In laboratory tests, hydroxychloroquine can prevent the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses from attaching to and entering cells. If these antiviral abilities work the same way in animals and humans, the drug could be used to treat patients and limit the number of COVID-19 deaths.
[...] On a cellular level, potential QT-prolonging medications, like hydroxychloroquine, block one of the critical potassium channels that control the heart's electrical recharging system. This interference increases the possibility that the heart's rhythm could degenerate into dangerous erratic heart beats, resulting ultimately in sudden cardiac death.
Accordingly, Mayo Clinic cardiologists and physician-scientists have provided urgent guidance on how to use a 12-lead ECG, telemetry or smartphone-enabled mobile ECG to determine the patient's QTc as a vital sign to identify those patients at increased risk and how to ultimately minimize the chance of drug-induced sudden cardiac death.
Indy 500 Postponed Due to Coronavirus
Well, given the widespread cancellations and postponements of everything from concerts and movie releases to auto shows and sporting events, it should come as no surprise to learn that the organizers of the Indy 500 are pushing America's biggest open-wheel race back to Aug. 23.
This news -- which was announced on Twitter on Thursday -- comes on the heels of several other high-profile cancellations and pushbacks from Goodwood and Formula 1 due to the widespread quarantines put in place to combat COVID-19.
Obviously, moving a race like the Indy 500 is a massive disappointment to fans, but given the seriousness of the global pandemic, it's the smart move. That rings especially true when you consider that the Indy 500 typically draws a crowd numbering around 300,000 people on race day alone.
PPEs Will Be Needed Across The World
There are reports that hospitals do not have enough Personal Protective Equipment to handle this pandemic around the world. Millions of N95 masks , face shields, gloves and gowns will be needed.
Are you a maker?
There are a grass roots efforts by makers who are seeing what they can do to help. If you have a 3d printer, perhaps it is time to contact any local hospitals to see how you can help.
Here is one example of a group who want to help in Kitchener Ontario.
Photographer Captures Trump's Handwritten 'Chinese' Virus Revision On Speech Script
It's not accurate. Trump's own top health advisers, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield have said it is inappropriate and inaccurate to label the novel coronavirus as the "Chinese virus."
The correct term is coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19. Those are the terms international scientists, the World Health Organization, U.S. health officials, physicians and much of the general public use.
More on Cloroquine/Azithromycin. And On Dr. Raoult.
Dr. Didier Raoult of Marseilles and his co-workers have published another preprint on clinical results with the chloroquine/azithromycin combination that their earlier work has made famous. And I still don't know what to think of it.
This is going to be a long post on the whole issue, so if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, here's the summary: these new results are still not from randomized patients and still do not have any sort of control group for comparison. The sample is larger, but it's still not possible to judge what's going on. And on further reading, I have doubts about Dr. Raoult's general approach to science and doubts about Dr. Raoult himself. Despite this second publication, I am actually less hopeful than I was before.
It is a long story, but he backs up his summary with copious supporting documents and analysis. If you are at all skeptical about his conclusions, I would strongly recommend reading the entire story.
Trump Extends Federal Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30
The 15-day guidelines Trump announced two weeks ago were set to expire on Monday, and the President had suggested over the past week that he was looking to relax them, at least in some parts of the country. He even floated Easter, on April 12, as a potential date by which the country could return to normal.
But on Sunday he said he'd decided to extend the guidelines -- which include suggested limits on large gatherings -- to April 30, a sign his earlier predictions were overly rosy.
[...] The announcement marked an abrupt turnaround from a week ago when Trump said he was convinced the distancing restrictions were causing irreparable damage to the economy.
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(2020-03-25) 2020-03-25 Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) Story Roundup
(2020-03-22) Coronavirus Roundup 03/22/2020
(2020-03-17) SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You?
(2020-03-12) CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
(2020-02-29) COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
(2020-02-26) Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
(2020-02-17) Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
(2020-02-11) Coronavirus Roundup
(2020-02-07) Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
(2020-02-01) 2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Multiple Soylentils have submitted stories regarding the 2019-nCoV coronavirus which is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. Rather than have a smattering of stories appear on the site, they have been gathered here in one story. Read on if you are interested; otherwise another story will be along presently.
Editor's Comment: The figures and statistics regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak are changing daily and there are differences between reports from different sources. The latest figures, which we believe to be from a reputable source and which are being regularly updated, can be found at the worldometers. If you have a favourite site for updated information please leave a link in the comments.
Chinese Whistleblower Doctor Dies Due to Coronavirus
A Chinese doctor who tried to issue the first warning about the deadly coronavirus outbreak has died, the hospital treating him has said. Li Wenliang contracted the virus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital. He had sent out a warning to fellow medics on 30 December but police told him to stop "making false comments".
There had been contradictory reports about his death, but the People's Daily now says he died at 02:58 on Friday (18:58 GMT Thursday).
The virus has killed 636 people and infected 31,161 in mainland China, the National Health Commission's latest figures show. The death toll includes 73 new deaths reported on Thursday.
An AC writes:
This story has been updated to reflect the latest statement from Wuhan Central Hospital, after confusion in state media reports.
Li died of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan in the early hours of Friday morning (local time).
"Our hospital's ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected with coronavirus during his work in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic," the latest hospital statement read.
"He died at 2:58 am on Feb 7 after attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful."
Earlier on Thursday night, several state media outlets had reported Li's death, following which Chinese social media erupted in profound grief and anger.
Both c0lo and takyon write in with today's coronavirus collection of stories:
So far, it seems that youth protects against the worst effects of 2019-nCoV.
The outbreak of a new coronavirus in China has killed more than 900 people, but one group has escaped with minimal damage: children.
Youth can certainly contract the virus. Among the infected are at least two newborns, according to Chinese health officials. But few children are among those sick enough to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to an article published Feb. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the data analyzed in that article — and numbers are changing quickly as the outbreak evolves — the median age of patients skews older, between 49 and 56 years old.
It's not entirely clear why children seem to be escaping the worst effects of the virus, dubbed 2019-nCoV. But a similar pattern holds for many infectious diseases, from the familiar, such as chickenpox and measles, to the newly emerged, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), doctors say.
This story is a roundup of several virus stories that were submitted over the past few days. This is a changing story, so some of what is posted below may have changed since the time of their originally being published.
What's in a name? One significant change is what the names are for everything. There is the question of what to call the actual virus and then what to call it when someone is infected.
Virus: The virus by itself is now officially referred to as SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). It was formerly known as 2019-nCoV (2019 novel coronavirus).
Disease: Those who have been infected by this virus are said to have a disease. The name of the disease is coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which is also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease.
More details are available on Wikipedia.
The six submitted stories are presented below.
NIH Official Says Coronavirus 'on the Verge' of Becoming Global Pandemic Unless Containment Improves
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS's "Face The Nation" that multiple person-to-person transmissions need to occur in multiple countries in order to reach the pandemic threshold.
[...] "Technically speaking, the [World Health Organization] wouldn't be calling this a global pandemic. But it certainly is on the verge of that happening reasonably soon unless containment is more successful than it is right now," he said.
There have been several significant developments in the battle against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and the resulting illness COVID-19. This story gathers a selection of stories from across the web.
WHO Director-General's Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID-19 - 24 February 2020
We're encouraged by the continued decline in cases in China.
Earlier today the WHO-China joint mission concluded its visit and delivered its report.
[...] The team has made a range of findings about the transmissibility of the virus, the severity of disease and the impact of the measures taken.
They found that the epidemic peaked and plateaued between the 23rd of January and the 2nd of February, and has been declining steadily since then.
They have found that there has been no significant change in the DNA of the virus.
They found that the fatality rate is between 2% and 4% in Wuhan, and 0.7% outside Wuhan.
They found that for people with mild disease, recovery time is about two weeks, while people with severe or critical disease recover within three to six weeks.
The team also estimate that the measures taken in China have averted a significant number of cases.
The report contains a wealth of other information, highlights questions for which we still don't have answers, and includes 22 recommendations.
[...] But the key message that should give all countries hope, courage and confidence is that this virus can be contained.
[...] The sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning.
There's a lot of speculation about whether these increases mean that this epidemic has now become a pandemic.
Many nations have begun to take special measures to address the problem of the spread of the COVID-19 virus over every continent. It would be pointless to report the details of all such measures; they are limited to each specific country and liable to frequent change as the situation develops. The USA FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have carried out what they describe as a "Supply Change Update", see the link below, but for others we suggest using a bit of web-search-fu to discover a site more appropriate to your own area of interest.
Worldwide, newspapers and other media need to maintain sales and subscriptions — many tend, therefore, to sensationalize their reporting. This has two undesirable effects: firstly it can result in data being quoted out of context to support the report they are making and, secondly, it tends to stress the possible effects of the COVID pandemic, should it be declared as such. In a comment elsewhere, I reported 2 tables which contain the most accurate figures we can find from a reputable source. They indicate the vulnerability of people to the virus by age, and any links to comorbidity (as far as they are known). There is no doubt that the virus poses a serious threat but it is not the same for all ages and many deaths are attributed to a combination of COVID-19 infection and other pre-existing conditions. For the latter it has not be proven that the virus was the sole cause of death; it is possible that the person would have died anyway. As postmortems have not been carried out in the vast majority of cases, the figures are open to misinterpretation. The WHO (World Health Organization) stresses that they will be unable to clarify these findings for a long time to come.
As it stands, for a person below the age of 70 with no other medical conditions, the chances of dying from a COVID-19 infection is less than 1%. That is still a large number of people at risk and the implications for every nation are significant. It is, however, much lower than some of the figures that have been quoted in the press. The figures for people over 70 and with other conditions cause the rate to rise quite sharply, and I would suggest that we all keep an watchful eye on the elderly or infirm members of our family and friends.
The majority of people will only suffer mild flu-like symptoms and will make a full recovery. - janrinok
Even though it has only been a short while since our last round-up there are 22 separate stories merged into this round-up. Many report duplicate news but, nevertheless, we have tried to distill the important elements of each submission.
Firstly, there is some confusion regarding the actual names that are reported for the virus, the disease that it causes, and names frequently seen in media reporting. From https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-0695-z:
The present outbreak of a coronavirus-associated acute respiratory disease called coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is the third documented spillover of an animal coronavirus to humans in only two decades that has resulted in a major epidemic. The Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which is responsible for developing the classification of viruses and taxon nomenclature of the family Coronaviridae, has assessed the placement of the human pathogen, tentatively named 2019-nCoV, within the Coronaviridae. Based on phylogeny, taxonomy and established practice, the CSG recognizes this virus as forming a sister clade to the prototype human and bat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoVs) of the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, and designates it as SARS-CoV-2.
In order to facilitate communication, the CSG proposes to use the following naming convention for individual isolates: SARS-CoV-2/host/location/isolate/date. While the full spectrum of clinical manifestations associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans remains to be determined, the independent zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 highlights the need for studying viruses at the species level to complement research focused on individual pathogenic viruses of immediate significance. This will improve our understanding of virus–host interactions in an ever-changing environment and enhance our preparedness for future outbreaks.
There is much more information at the link provided.
Secondly, as this is a fusion of stories received over the last week or so take all quoted figures of casualties as possibly out-of-date. At the time of merging these stories (12 Mar 20) there have been 127,863 confirmed cases world-wide resulting in 4,717 deaths. 68,309 people have already recovered with the remainder either in self-imposed or advisory isolation, in basic hospital care and a relatively small number in critical care. The pandemic has affected 116 countries/regions. Source: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 - a graphical display produced by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Many countries have taken emergency measures to restrict travel or large gatherings of people. As this is a very fluid situation we suggest you refer to the media of any specific country in which you have an interest. President Trump has banned transatlantic air travel from countries in mainland Europe to the USA from Friday 2020-03-13 at 23:59 (no timezone stated) for a period initially of 30 days, and air travel within Europe is also significantly disrupted.
A lot has already happened this year. SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) which can cause COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease 2019) has been making headlines shortly after it was first reported. The first cases were reported to WHO (World Health Organization) on 2019-12-31. The virus spread. It began as an epidemic in China . The world watched apprehensively. Reports surfaced of cases in other countries and the the apprehension grew. For many folk, it turned to fear when it was upgraded to a pandemic: WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020: "We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic."
We have seen increasing efforts to stem the spread of the disease. Efforts have run the gamut. Closing of borders. Cancellation of sporting events. Conferences cancelled. Churches and other places of worship also closed. Schools closed. Panic buying of household goods and supplies. Supply chain disruptions affecting manufacturers. Restaurant, bars, and other such establishments closed. Work-from-home policies established and enacted.
The changes have been many, widespread, and continuing.
Reading about all the ways that "other people" have been affected is one thing. It seems different, somehow, when it hits closer to home and affects us directly. With many of our usual social activities curtailed or cancelled, it is easy to begin isolating and lose perspective. SoylentNews arose from a troubled period (the SlashCott) and a community has formed from that challenging period.
How have you been affected? Have you been infected? Had a family member or friend who was? Helped neighbors who are struggling? Hunkering down and isolating? (In a basement is optional.) Are you suddenly working from home and finding it challenging to manage your time? Still working on site, but now have a faster commute due to all the other people staying home? Catching up on watching TV shows? Reading more SoylentNews? How has your life changed?
From a somewhat different perspective, how have others helped you to cope... and how have you been able to help others? One of the potential impacts of social distancing is isolation and depression. I count myself fortunate, indeed, to have served this site for over 6 years and for all the people I have gotten to know, here. For those who may not be aware, SoylentNews has its own IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server. Feel free to drop in to #Soylent and just say "Hi!"
Social distancing is permanent when you're dead. So, practice good hygiene and stay safe.
Previously (oldest first):
China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates
2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
Working from Home: Lessons Learned Over 20 Years
Charter engineer quits over "reckless" rules against work-from-home
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
A Charter Communications engineer called the company's rules against working from home during the coronavirus pandemic "pointlessly reckless" and "socially irresponsible" before subsequently resigning instead of continuing to work in the office, according to a TechCrunch article published yesterday.
Charter CEO Tom Rutledge last week told employees in a memo to keep coming to the office even if their jobs can be performed from home, because people "are more effective from the office." Employees should only stay home if they "are sick, or caring for someone who is sick," Rutledge wrote.
Nick Wheeler, a video operations engineer for Charter in Denver, sent an email expressing his displeasure with the policy to a senior vice president and "hundreds of engineers on Friday," TechCrunch wrote. The email said:
I do not understand why we are still coming into the office as the COVID-19 pandemic surges around us. The CDC guidelines are clear. The CDPHE [Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment] guidelines are clear. The WHO guidelines are clear. The science of social distancing is real. We have the complete ability to do our jobs entirely from home. Coming into the office now is pointlessly reckless. It's also socially irresponsible. Charter, like the rest of us, should do what is necessary to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing has a real slowing effect on the virus—that means lives can be saved.
A hazard condition isn't acceptable for the infrastructure beyond the short-term. Why is it acceptable for our health?
The CDC's advice to businesses stresses that sick people should not come to the office but also urges businesses to "Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home."
Within hours of sending the email, Wheeler was out of a job.
-- submitted from IRC
This story presents a roundup of a selection of our COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, coronavirus story submissions. Some stories have been omitted because they were a duplicate, outdated, superseded, and sometimes just as a matter of keeping the size of these roundups managable. etc. (Before thinning, this story contained over 16,500 words (excluding HTML markup) and that excluded what is contained in this introduction.
If you are not interested in this coverage, then please ignore this story; another story will appear presently. Otherwise, please see the rest of the story below the fold:
World-wide data as of: 20200615_140637 UTC: