The World vs. SARS-CoV-2, 4/3

Financial Times

Most experts agree that wearing a face mask can stop some virus-laden watery droplets that are thought to be a main coronavirus vector and are expelled into the air when a person coughs, sneezes, just breathes out [Financial Times] or talks [CNN]

The importance of viral dose is being overlooked in discussions of the coronavirus. As with any other poison, viruses are usually more dangerous in larger amounts. Small initial exposures tend to lead to mild or asymptomatic infections, while larger doses can be lethal. From a policy perspective, we need to consider that not all exposures to the coronavirus may be the same. Stepping into an office building that once had someone with the coronavirus in it is not as dangerous as sitting next to that infected person for an hourlong train commute. Both small and large amounts of virus can replicate within our cells and cause severe disease in vulnerable individuals such as the immunocompromised. In healthy people, however, immune systems respond as soon as they sense a virus growing inside. Recovery depends on which wins the race: viral spread or immune activation. Virus experts know that viral dose affects illness severity. In the lab, mice receiving a low dose of virus clear it and recover, while the same virus at a higher dose kills them. Dose sensitivity has been observed for every common acute viral infection that has been studied in lab animals, including coronaviruses. […] Low-dose infections can even engender immunity, protecting against high-dose exposures in the future. […] People should take particular care against high-dose exposures, which are most likely to occur in close in-person interactions — such as coffee meetings, crowded bars and quiet time in a room with Grandma — and from touching our faces after getting substantial amounts of virus on our hands. In-person interactions are more dangerous in enclosed spaces and at short distances, with dose escalating with exposure time. For transient interactions that violate the rule of maintaining six feet between you and others, such as paying a cashier at the grocery store, keep them brief — aim for “within six feet, only six seconds.” […] At the same time, we need to avoid a panicked overreaction to low-dose exposures. Clothing and food packaging that have been exposed to someone with the virus seem to present a low risk. Healthy people who are together in the grocery store or workplace experience a tolerable risk — so long as they take precautions like wearing surgical masks and spacing themselves out. [NY Times]

Buying Face Masks and Other PPE from China Just Got a LOT Tougher

Millions of masks are being purchased by foreign buyers and are leaving the US, according to the brokers, while the domestic need remains alarmingly high. [Forbes]

The US bought out a planeload of Chinese-made face masks right on the tarmac just as the haul of the much needed protective gear was about to set off for France. “They pay double and cash, even before seeing the goods.” [Une commande française de masques détournée vers les Etats-Unis | France 3 | Libération]

US official denies claim that Americans have been snapping up Chinese masks previously ordered by France

U.S. big bucks turn global face mask hunt into ‘Wild West’ – In France and Germany, senior officials said the United States was paying far above the market price for masks from No. 1 producer China, on occasion winning contracts through higher bids even after European buyers believed a deal was done, and Brazil’s health minister reported a similar incident. [Reuters]

The logistics to get food from the field to the plate, however, are being increasingly affected and point to longer-term problems.

The world could soon run out of space to store oil. That may plunge prices below zero

What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage

Location Data From 131 Countries To Show How Coronavirus Lockdowns Are Working [Google.com]

Location Data Says It All: Staying at Home During Coronavirus Is a Luxury

Beijing is emerging from a roughly two-month coronavirus lockdown, forcing people to adapt to a new way of life

On March 14, Zahara cut itself off from the outside world as a dangerous coronavirus spread its tentacles across Spain. The mayor decided to block all but one of the town’s five entrances. Since then, the country has recorded more than 100,000 cases and 10,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. In Zahara, however, there has not been a single recorded case of Covid-19 among its 1,400 inhabitants. […] “There is no car that comes through the checkpoint that’s not disinfected. Every Monday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. a group of around 10 people are out in the streets to disinfect the town, all the streets, plazas and outside homes.” A local business is paying two women to make grocery and medical deliveries to reduce the number of people out on the streets, especially those most vulnerable to contracting the virus. [CNN]

American states’ responses to the coronavirus follow party lines. Republican-leaning governors are slower to impose restrictions than Democrats [Economist]

COVID-19 Stress Tests the Cloud

my boss turned herself into a potato on our Microsoft teams meeting and can’t figure out how to turn the setting off, so she was just stuck like this the entire meeting

The internet is now rife with places where you can organize Zoom-bombing raids

‘Zoombombing’ is a federal offense that could result in imprisonment, prosecutors warn

Zoom’s Encryption Is ‘Not Suited for Secrets’ and Has Surprising Links To China, Researchers Discover