“I’ve been telling everybody that my event horizon is about 36 months, and that’s my best-case scenario,” she said. “I’m quite certain that this is going to go in waves,” she added. “It won’t be a tsunami that comes across America all at once and then retreats all at once. It will be micro-waves that shoot up in Des Moines and then in New Orleans and then in Houston and so on, and it’s going to affect how people think about all kinds of things.” [NY Times]
Deaths in March 2020 vs March 2015-9. Northern Italy +94.9%. Southern Italy +2%. Lombardy +186.5%. Emilia-Romagna +70.1%. Campania -1.9%. Sicily -2.7%. Milan +92.6%. Rome -9.4%.
The 42-year-old footwear executive told his mother on the phone, “I’ll be out of here in a couple of days.” But Pignal would test positive for the coronavirus for five more weeks, despite developing no further symptoms. He wasn’t released until the 40th day after he first fell ill, when he finally tested negative two days in a row. Medical researchers worldwide puzzle over why the coronavirus — which typically lasts about two to three weeks in the body — appears to endure longer in some patients, even relatively young, healthy ones. [...] Although studies show that the average recovery time from COVID-19 is two weeks, and nearly all patients are virus-free within a month, “less than 1% to 2%, for reasons that we do not know, continue to shed virus after that.” [...] One study from Hong Kong found the virus’ nucleic acid in the saliva of a patient whose symptoms had appeared 25 days earlier. A Southern California man who was infected aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship took 29 days to test negative despite showing almost no symptoms. [LA Times]
With a large-scale survey completed during Italy’s nationwide lockdown, we studied the appreciation, i.e., funniness and aversiveness, of Covid-19 humor ... the perceived risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 amplified Covid-19 humor aversiveness, while greater spatial distance from the Italian epicenter of the contagion allowed to deeper enjoy humor both related and not-related to Covid-19
Parasitic agents (meaning infectious bacteria, fungi, parasitic invertebrates, and viruses) only exist if they've managed to avoid their host's immune system, at least long enough to replicate and send their next generation on to a new host. No infectious agent is descended from an ancestor that was killed before it could replicate. In fact some parasitic agents can have geologically long relationships with their host species such that the two are really coevolved. Despite the evolution of a multifaceted immune system, parasitism is a fundamental principle of life. [...] Plants and the vast majority of animals on earth have no acquired immune system; rather, they have a multiplicity of mechanisms to prevent infection that we collectively term innate immunity. I wish to emphasize that the most effective innate mechanism is the denial of access. [...] Why is innate immunity sufficient for the most abundant species on earth, but not for vertebrates? [...] The proposal here is that contrary to widely held views of practicing immunologists, the immune system is not evolutionarily selected to prevent infection in an absolute sense. Rather, it is selected to make one individual slightly more resistant or at least different than others of the same or related species. The adversary of any individual is not really the world of parasites, they are truly undefeatable, it is his or her neighbor. A zebra doesn't have to outrun the lion, just the slowest member of the herd. [Immunity]
Is it possible to have a psychedelic experience from a placebo alone? [...] We examined individual variation in placebo effects in a naturalistic environment resembling a typical psychedelic party. [...] The 4-h study took place in a group setting with music, paintings, coloured lights, and visual projections. Participants (n=33) consumed a placebo that we described as a drug resembling psilocybin, which is found in psychedelic mushrooms. [...] There was considerable individual variation in the placebo effects; many participants reported no changes while others showed effects with magnitudes typically associated with moderate or high doses of psilocybin. In addition, the majority (61%) of participants verbally reported some effect of the drug. Several stated that they saw the paintings on the walls “move” or “reshape” themselves, others felt “heavy… as if gravity [had] a stronger hold”, and one had a “come down” before another “wave” hit her. [Psychopharmacology]