A Chicago hospital treating severe Covid-19 patients with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir in a closely watched clinical trial is seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week, STAT has learned. [STAT]
More than 900 staffers in NYC's public hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19
By late March, more than 54 doctors in Italy had already died, and in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, one of the worst hit regions in the world, 20% of the healthcare workforce have become confirmed cases. Now, in the United States, as large numbers of healthcare professionals are getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in Boston, New York, and other hotspot cities, young doctors are writing their wills and making provisional funeral plans. [...] Because healthcare workers are exposed to the sickest patients—often without access to the proper protective equipment—the heavy viral load may be overwhelming even young clinicians’ ability to mount a sufficient immune response to counter the infection. [Fast Company]
Thailand is now reporting the first fatal case of coronavirus that was transmitted from a deceased patient to a medical examiner. [NY mag]
Home outbreaks were the dominant category (254 of 318 outbreaks; 79.9%), followed by transport (108; 34.0%; note that many outbreaks involved more than one venue category). Most home outbreaks involved three to five cases. We identified only a single outbreak in an outdoor environment, which involved two cases. Conclusions: All identified outbreaks of three or more cases occurred in an indoor environment, which confirms that sharing indoor space is a major SARS-CoV-2 infection risk. [medRxiv]
The Coronavirus Is Mutating. What Does That Mean for a Vaccine?
NRDD counts 115 (!) vaccine programs, of which 37 are unconfirmed (no further information available on them) and 78 are definitely real. Of those 78, five of them are in the clinic, although that number will be climbing rapidly. [...] Pfizer and others have already said that they’re going to be working on production even before the efficacy data come in, which needless to say is not the usual business practice. I think we’ll get vaccine efficacy, one way or another, although it sure won’t be characterized as thoroughly as it normally would. And I think we’re already agreeing to cut corners on safety, whether anyone says so in as many words or not. But producing the vaccine on scale could be a bigger issue yet, and as the process goes on, that’s where I would keep an eye out for trouble. [Science]
Doctors are finding that placing the sickest coronavirus patients on their stomachs -- called prone positioning -- helps increase the amount of oxygen that's getting to their lungs.
Severe economic and social shutdowns are effective in stopping the COVID-19 epidemic. But the economic and social pain is significant, and herd immunity is not being built. Exit strategies should aim at protecting those most vulnerable, while letting everyone else get back to work. [JP Morgan]
Here we propose an alternating lock-down strategy, in which at every instance, half of the population remains under lock-down while the other half continues to be active, maintaining a routine of weekly succession between activity and lock-down. [arXiv]
The data clearly suggest that the spread had been trending down significantly even before the initial lockdown.
A Workable Strategy for Covid-19 TestingThis paper argues that daily ‘universal random testing’, as recently proposed by Paul Romer, is not likely to be an effective tool for reducing the spread of Covid-19 and resuming economic activity. We find that more than 21% of the population would need to be tested every day to reduce the Covid-19 reproduction rate (R’) to 0.75, as opposed to 7% as argued by Romer.
U.K. Paid $20 Million for New Coronavirus Tests. They Didn’t Work.
My rough back-of-envelope calcs. suggest that relatively flat decline in deaths in Italy post-peak implies that strict social restrictions put in place there a month ago only reduced R to 0.85-0.9. Is this right? Seems like v. bad sign for keeping R<1 while relaxing restrictions. [...] I get slightly better estimates for Spain, more in the 0.8-0.85 range. [ Pat Bayer]
Why some younger people are getting better, while others are dying of covid-19 [Washington Post podcast]
Many aren’t insured, so testing and treatment would be prohibitively expensive, even if it were available. Or suppose they have gig economy jobs, such as Instacart delivery. What good would it do them to be told they were exposed? They know they’re at high risk. They need the work, otherwise they would have quit already. And if they really were sick, why would they risk their livelihood by volunteering the information to an app? [Bloomberg]
...“immunity passports” that would certify that a person has contracted the virus, recovered, and now has the antibodies required to be immune. The concept has its issues—but already, there’s an app for that. Bizagi, a UK-based tech company whose normal business is helping companies like Adidas and Occidental Petroleum digitize their operations, today released “CoronaPass,” an app that will use an encrypted database to store information about users’ immune status, based on antibody test results provided by the user’s hospital or other healthcare provider. [Quartz]
A contact-tracing app could help stop the coronavirus pandemic, but 80% of current smartphone owners would need to use it
Contact tracing has helped Asian countries like South Korea and Singapore contain the spread of the virus, but their systems rely on digital surveillance, using patients’ digital footprints to alert potential contacts, an intrusion that many Americans would not accept. Massachusetts is building its response around an old-school, labor-intensive method: people. Lots of them. Related: How do we reopen the country safely | audio [Washington Post podcast]
Meat processing plants are closing due to covid-19 outbreaks. Beef shortfalls may follow.
A zoo director in northern Germany has even admitted that some animals might soon have to be fed to others, if the zoo is to survive. "We've listed the animals we'll have to slaughter first." [BBC]
New York Streets Are Nearly Empty, but Speeding Tickets Have Doubled
As many New Yorkers began to stay away from work, school and restaurants, city sanitation workers picked up more household trash last month than they did the previous March, statistics show — except, primarily, in parts of Manhattan. Trash experts say the light trash loads in neighborhoods that include the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and East Village could reflect residents departing those areas as coronavirus spread. [The City ]
It’s not uncommon for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company — an agency that once functioned in the background of the world economy and that is now prone to intense scrutiny — to play both sides of the coin. [...] As President Trump attacks Beijing, a frequent McKinsey client, for downplaying the spread of COVID-19 in the initial days of the outbreak, the White House is also employing the firm as part of its coronavirus response. Apparently, the firm isn’t afraid of getting in the middle of domestic tiffs either. According to CNBC, Governor Cuomo has hired McKinsey consultants to create a science-intensive plan for how to reopen the economies of seven northeastern states while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus. Sources with knowledge of the deal told the outlet that “as part of Cuomo’s effort, McKinsey & Co. is producing models on testing, infections and other key data points that will underpin decisions on how and when to reopen the region’s economy.” An adviser to New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said the goal is to “Trump-proof” the plan. [NY Mag]
Jeff Bezos has grown his fortune by a further $24 billion so far during the coronavirus pandemic
Hackers Are Selling a Critical Zoom Zero-Day Exploit for $500,000
Invite a llama or goat to your next corporate Zoom meeting or video call for under $100
Hastings Contemporary museum in England is offering virtual tours using a telepresence robot