The World vs. SARS-CoV-2

Every day, the same, again

76.jpgAre habits goal-free behaviours, or does every habit actually serve a purpose?

The “Pet Effect” is the idea that getting a pet will make you healthier and happier. This idea is highly promoted by the marketing departments of industry giants like Zoetis, the world’s largest veterinary products corporation. […] while some studies have found evidence linking pets and human health, most published research has not.

We recruited 29 participants to measure human prefrontal cortex activity, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy, during interactions with a cat.

Is there a growing class divide in happiness? Among U.S. adults ages 30 and over in the nationally representative General Social Survey (N = 44,198), the positive correlation between socioeconomic status (SES; including income, education, and occupational prestige) and happiness grew steadily stronger between the 1970s and 2010s. […] the happiness advantage favoring high-SES adults has expanded over the decades

In this essay, I show how difficult emotions, like aggression and murderous rage, are grappled with in horror movies. I discuss three patients who related to intense rage at the mother when viewing the films Joker and Jurassic Park.

The perception of facial attractiveness is not automatic (capacity-free) in general. Men show an automatic (capacity-free) processing of females’ facial attractiveness but not of males’ facial attractiveness. Women show no automatic (capacity-free) processing of males’ or females’ facial attractiveness.

On Aug 1, it will be against the law for adults to wear a face mask in North Carolina

To fully restart the U.S. economy by August, massive population testing for infections with the virus that causes COVID-19 is essential […] test 2 to 6% of the population per day, or between 5 and 20 million people per day […] The authors of the report estimate that this scheme for testing, tracing, and supported isolation (TTSI) would cost between $50 to $300 billion over two years. As they note this is extremely cheap compared to “the economic cost of continued collective quarantine of $100 to 350 billion a month.”

Why We Must Test Millions a Day

studies have suggested that many people who’ve never been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who have semi-recently recovered from a common-cold coronavirus, may boast partial immunity to COVID-19. […] Chinese researchers monitored antibody levels in 74 COVID-19 patients — one half symptomatic, the other asymptomatic — for months after their recoveries. The scientists found that more than 90 percent of these patients displayed sharp drop-offs in antibody levels two-to-three months after their initial infections. […] The dominant strain of coronavirus in the U.S. may be more contagious than the initial variety. […] study found that the newer coronavirus strain has about five times more functional and intact spike proteins in each of its particles than its predecessor did. [NY mag]

Pool testing combines samples from several people and tests them for the coronavirus all at once, cutting down on the time and supplies required. […] “If everyone is negative, then you’re done” […] If the test detected the presence of the virus, then each person would have to be tested and the results individually analyzed to determine whose sample produced the positive result. […] How many samples are pooled? Researchers have generally suggested quantities between three and 50. The bigger the pool, the more likely a positive case with a low viral load will be too diluted to trigger detection of the virus. [Washington Post]

Norway, Denmark and Finland have closed their borders to Swedes, fearing that they would bring new coronavirus infections with them. […] In several countries, like the Netherlands and Cyprus, they are banned completely. Austria demands a health certificate. Greece makes Swedes quarantine for at least a week, even if they test negative for the coronavirus […] only France, Italy, Spain and Croatia are welcoming Swedes without restrictions.[SF Gate]

COVID-19 is associated with severe impairment of smell, taste, and chemesthesis

This upgraded robotic dolphin is being developed and tested for a series of attractions at a new Chinese aquarium where the government has put a stop to the wildlife trade as part of its efforts to slow and eventually stop the spread of Covid-19.

What if a single injection could lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides — for a lifetime? In the first gene-editing experiment of its kind, scientists have disabled two genes in monkeys that raise the risk for heart disease. Humans carry the genes as well, and the experiment has raised hopes that a leading killer may one day be tamed. [NY Times]

The UK government’s plan to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in a satellite broadband company has been described as “nonsensical” by experts, who say the company doesn’t even make the right type of satellite the country needs after Brexit. […] “The fundamental starting point is, yes, we’ve bought the wrong satellites […] What’s happened is that the very talented lobbyists at OneWeb have convinced the government that we can completely redesign some of the satellites to piggyback a navigation payload on it.”

A growing list of companies say they’ll join an advertiser boycott on Facebook in protest of what they say are the site’s failures to stop the spread of hate.

The white iPhone with chipped paint that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi used to stay in contact with his sources also allowed his government to spy on him. They could read every email, text and website visited; listen to every phone call and watch every video conference; download calendar entries, monitor GPS coordinates, and even turn on the camera and microphone to see and hear where the phone was at any moment. Yet Radi was trained in encryption and cyber security. He hadn’t clicked on any suspicious links and didn’t have any missed calls on WhatsApp — both well-documented ways a cell phone can be hacked. Instead, a report published Monday by Amnesty International shows Radi was targeted by a new and frighteningly stealthy technique. All he had to do was visit one website. Any website. Radi’s phone shows that it was infected by “network injection,” a fully automated method where an attacker intercepts a cellular signal when it makes a request to visit a website. In milliseconds, the web browser is diverted to a malicious site and spyware code is downloaded that allows remote access to everything on the phone. [The Star]

All it took to compromise a smartphone was a single phone call over WhatsApp. The user didn’t even have to pick up the phone. [WIRED]

Milton Glaser, Co-founder of New York Magazine and Creator of ‘I❤NY,’ Dies at 91

How to make an SMS bot with Google Sheets + Twilio

If Great Britain was located next to Japan

Your sky is just a HOLE on the roof of my world, says the frog in the well


It’s growing clearer that the coronavirus does not spread in an orderly way. Each infected person might infect two others on average but most people who get it infect no one.

On the diagram, where DeRisi’s cursor lingers, he highlights a person with a particular talent for spreading the disease. The genetic information shows you the urgency of getting that person into quarantine, but it does more than that: It has the potential to lead you more generally to the social activity that’s spreading the disease.

It works the other way, too. The approach DeRisi has developed can be used not just to shut things down but to open them up. Last week, in Northern California, a pair of workers at a fish-packing plant came down with symptoms of Covid-19. The Biohub processed their tests and found both workers had the virus. In an age not all that distant from ours, the fish-packing plant, which believed it had taken the measures to keep its workers safe, would have been forced to close, as it would have had to assume that one of the workers had infected the other on the job. But then Joe DeRisi’s Badass Virus Hunters sequenced the two viruses and showed they were genetically far apart: The two workers had contracted the virus independently and outside of work. The fish-packing plant was able to stay open — and its workers were able to stay on their jobs.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

related { Social distancing and individual non-pharmaceutical interventions could potentially remove the need for lockdowns }

related { What do Covid-19, Ebola, Lyme and AIDS have in common? They jumped to humans from animals after we started destroying habitats and ruining ecosystems. | NY Times }

pollen and solar radiation

We hypothesize that pollen may explain the seasonality of flu-like epidemics including COVID-19. […] We conclude that pollen is a predictor for the inverse seasonality of flu-like epidemics including COVID-19, and solar radiation is a co-inhibitor. The observed seasonality of COVID-19 during Spring, suggests that COVID-19 may revive in The Netherlands after week 33 [mid-August].

dogs can detect a person infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus

How readily can playing instruments transmit the virus?

It looks as if the low German fatality rate is not due to their superior testing capacity, but rather to the fact that the average German is less likely to get infected and die than the average Brit.

“Japan, I think a lot of people agree, kind of did everything wrong, with poor social distancing, karaoke bars still open and public transit packed near the zone where the worst outbreaks were happening. But the one thing that Japan did right was masks.” [NY Times]

Two-meter distancing might halve infection risk compared to one meter

Covid-19 can last for several months in some people

Nearly Half of Coronavirus Spread May Be Traced to People Without Any Symptoms — Another concern is that the virus may be damaging the bodies of asymptomatic in other, silent ways.

First Human Trial for COVID-19 Antibody Drug Begins — The antibody was discovered in a recovered patient’s blood using microfluidics, machine vision, and big-data tools

Nobody knows exactly what will happen as communities open up. The most likely scenario is that virus cases will continue to surge and fall around the globe for the foreseeable future. 5 Rules to Live By During a Pandemic

Every day, the same, again

32.jpgMen hired for sexual fantasy break into wrong house

The monkeys attacked the lab assistant and stole the sample box with three samples

A Security Flaw In Qatar’s Contact Tracing App Exposed Hundreds Of Thousands Of People’s Personal Data

In the past, national emergencies in the United States have resulted in increased gun preparation (ie, purchasing new guns or removing guns from storage); in turn, these gun actions have effected increases in firearm injuries and deaths. The aim of this paper was to assess the extent to which interest in gun preparation has increased amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic using data from Google searches related to purchasing and cleaning guns. […] Our results corroborate media reports that gun purchases are increasing amid the COVID-19. [JMIR]

Introductions and early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the New York City area

Covid-19 has, so far it seems, three modes of transmission. One route is via surfaces, deposited on things like door handles or silverware that then picked up by someone who touches some entry point into the body—eyes, nose, mouth. […] A second route is through large droplets, like those someone might give off in a cough. […] the third, more complicated route. A vast number of the particles that come out of a person’s mouth are much smaller, under 5 microns. They dry out quickly in the air and become so light they can float around for hours. Even the slightly warm layer of air constantly wafting upward from every person—our “thermal plume”—can carry these particles up, up, and away. Random air flow makes their spread turbulent, bounced around by currents like sand in a tide pool. And we emit them all the time. […] “The overarching assumption is that the probability of transmission is proportional to the number of virus particles floating around in the air. The more that you inhale, the more likely you are to get it,” says William Ristenpart, a professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis who studies disease transmission. “The room you’re in right now has a roof. Turbulent diffusion goes up and can’t go through the roof. It reflects off. Outdoors, it can turbulently diffuse away.” [Wired]

The emerging long-term complications of Covid-19 — Somewhere between 5 and 80 percent of people who test positive for Covid-19 may be asymptomatic, or only develop symptoms days or even weeks after their test, and many of these people will have a mild form of the illness with no lasting symptoms. But the UK National Health Service assumes that of Covid-19 patients who have required hospitalization, 45 percent will need ongoing medical care, 4 percent will require inpatient rehabilitation, and 1 percent will permanently require acute care.

New Design Helps N95 Mask Wearers Breathe Easier (new device prevents oxygen deprivation)


Healthy Selfishness and Pathological Altruism: Measuring Two Paradoxical Forms of Selfishness

How do children learn the typical features of objects in the world? For many objects, this information must come from the language they hear. However, people are more likely to talk about atypical features (e.g., “purple carrot”) than typical features (e.g., “orange carrot”). Does the speech children hear from their parents also overrepresent atypical features?

Octave Durham went to prison for stealing two van Gogh paintings. […] “I didn’t have a buyer before I did it,” he said. “I just thought I can either sell them, or if I have a problem I can negotiate with the paintings.” By “negotiate with the paintings,” Mr. Durham meant using the paintings as a bargaining chip with law enforcement officials, in case he got into trouble for something else. […] Mr. Brand said many thieves think they will be able to sell paintings on the open market, and then quickly find out that there aren’t legal buyers. “You have thieves who think there are buyers who would really like to have stolen art on their wall. That doesn’t exist.” […] That’s when they offer them to other criminals, often for much less than their real value. Mr. Brand estimates that a work of art in the criminal underworld is worth about 10 percent of its value in the legitimate art market — so if a painting might sell for $10 million at auction, it can be traded among criminals for a value of about $1 million. Mr. Durham said the value is even lower than that — about 2.5 to 5 percent of market value. [NY Times]

I can’t remember the last time I read a novel that feels so LA. Cooper’s rendering of the flat affect of Southern California is spot-on; in “Board,” the posters respond to vulgar depictions of violence with comments like “Here we go again” and “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (LOL).” That’s what it’s like there — there’s no social space for reasoning or explanation, for genuine self-reflection. Sometimes you just shrug your shoulders and say, “Honey, it’s LA.” In a way, this L.A. affect prefigures the flat affect of the Internet, or even life in the 21st century. Sometimes you just shrug your shoulders and say, “Honey, it’s late capitalism.” [The New Inquiry]

One of the most important moments in the transition between the Eighties and Nineties, for live rock bands, was how much rock to leave behind.

Mullet Challenge

25.jpgYour face mask selfies could be training the next facial recognition tool

‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic Asks America To Join ‘Mullet Challenge’ To Promote A Presidential Pardon

The Effects of Barefoot Running on Working Memory — working memory may be enhanced after at least 16 minutes of barefoot running if the individual has to focus attention on the ground

People in long term, committed relationships try to support their decisions to maintain their relationships with marriage illusions

Peru took strict measures. Covid-19 surged anyway.

“What’s crazy is, we’re three months in, and we’re still not able to calibrate our risk management. It’s a mess,” […] Scientists are still trying to understand the virus they call SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease covid-19. Basic questions are not fully answered: How deadly is this virus? How contagious? Are there different strains with different clinical outcomes? Why does SARS-CoV-2 create a devastating disease in some people while leaving others without symptoms or even knowledge that they were infected? [Washington Post]

an 1/3 + 1/3 = 2/6? It seemed so!

Arthur Schopenhauer and Psychiatry

The Guggenheim Museum offers 200+ exhibition catalogs that you can download for free

In the morning signorina we’ll go walking

City of Wuhan said that it had collected coronavirus swab tests from more than nine million of its 11 million people over the past 10 days, 180 asymptomatic carriers identified [WSJ]

white people so determined to get skin cancer they’re willing to risk covid

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey


In Germany and China, they already reopened all the stores a month ago. You look at any survey, the restaurants are totally empty. Almost nobody’s buying anything. Everybody’s worried and cautious. And this is in Germany, where unemployment is up by only one percent. Forty percent of Americans have less than $400 in liquid cash saved for an emergency. You think they are going to spend? You’re going to start having food riots soon enough. Look at the luxury stores in New York. They’ve either boarded them up or emptied their shelves, because they’re worried people are going to steal the Chanel bags. The few stores that are open, like my Whole Foods, have security guards both inside and outside. We are one step away from food riots. There are lines three miles long at food banks. That’s what’s happening in America. You’re telling me everything’s going to become normal in three months? That’s lunacy. […]

They just decided Huawei isn’t going to have any access to U.S. semiconductors and technology. We’re imposing total restrictions on the transfer of technology from the U.S. to China and China to the U.S. And if the United States argues that 5G or Huawei is a backdoor to the Chinese government, the tech war will become a trade war. Because tomorrow, every piece of consumer electronics, even your lowly coffee machine or microwave or toaster, is going to have a 5G chip. That’s what the internet of things is about. If the Chinese can listen to you through your smartphone, they can listen to you through your toaster. Once we declare that 5G is going to allow China to listen to our communication, we will also have to ban all household electronics made in China. So, the decoupling is happening. We’re going to have a “splinternet.” It’s only a matter of how much and how fast. […]

I was recently in South Korea. I met the head of Hyundai, the third-largest automaker in the world. He told me that tomorrow, they could convert their factories to run with all robots and no workers. Why don’t they do it? Because they have unions that are powerful. In Korea, you cannot fire these workers, they have lifetime employment. But suppose you take production from a labor-intensive factory in China — in any industry — and move it into a brand-new factory in the United States. You don’t have any legacy workers, any entrenched union. You are going to design that factory to use as few workers as you can. […] But you’re not going to get many jobs. The factory of the future is going to be one person manning 1,000 robots and a second person cleaning the floor. And eventually the guy cleaning the floor is going to be replaced by a Roomba because a Roomba doesn’t ask for benefits or bathroom breaks or get sick and can work 24-7. […]

There’s a conflict between workers and capital. For a decade, workers have been screwed. Now, they’re going to be screwed more. […]

Millions of these small businesses are going to go bankrupt. Half of the restaurants in New York are never going to reopen. How can they survive? They have such tiny margins. Who’s going to survive? The big chains. Retailers. Fast food. The small businesses are going to disappear in the post-coronavirus economy. So there is a fundamental conflict between Wall Street (big banks and big firms) and Main Street (workers and small businesses). And Wall Street is going to win.

{ Nouriel Roubini | NY Mag | Continue reading }

photo { Susan Meiselas, Soldiers search bus passengers along the Northern Highway, El Salvador, 1980 }

for many cities, wide-scale al fresco dining is unrealistic

In Peru, where roughly 20 percent of the world’s cocaine is produced, public health lockdowns imposed by local communities brought coca growing and paste production to a standstill, according to Pedro Yaranga, a Peruvian security analyst. “What in nearly four years the drug control agency could not do, the coronavirus did in a few weeks,” he said. In Bolivia, which produces about one tenth of the world’s coca, the picture is reversed, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In that country, “COVID-19 is limiting the ability of state authorities to control coca bush cultivation, which could lead to an increase in coca production,” the UNODC said in a May 7 report. In Colombia, where 70 percent of the world’s cocaine is produced, the picture is more mixed. […] Exports to the world’s other biggest cocaine market, Europe, have suffered even less disruption. Unlike exports to the United States, cocaine bound for Europe is typically moved in legal air and sea cargoes, especially fast-moving fresh goods such as flowers and fruit. The latter, as food, has continued to move unimpeded during the pandemic, helping feed Europe’s 9.1 billion euro-a-year cocaine habit. [OCCRP]

Bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America. [Technology Review]

In Brazil, 15 percent of deaths have been people under 50 — a rate more than 10 times greater than in Italy or Spain. In Mexico, the trend is even more stark: Nearly one-fourth of the dead have been between 25 and 49. [Washington Post]

A Hong Kong paper awaiting peer review found that of 7,324 documented cases in China, only one outbreak occurred outside—during a conversation among several men in a small village. The risk of infection indoors is almost 19 times higher than in open-air environments, according to another study from researchers in Japan. […] Our understanding of this disease is dynamic. Today’s conventional wisdom could be tomorrow’s busted myth. Think of these studies not as gospels, but as clues in a gradually unraveling mystery. […] On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its summary of COVID-19 transmission to clarify that the virus “does not spread easily” from touching surfaces or objects—like, say, elevator buttons. Instead, they wrote, “the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person … through respiratory droplets.” […] “Until there’s a vaccine, I don’t think dine-in restaurants will get back to normal in this country,” Steve Salis, a restaurant owner in Washington, D.C., told me. […] Some American cities, including Berkeley, California, and Cincinnati, have done just that, by announcing the closure of streets to free up outdoor dining space for restaurants. But for many cities, wide-scale al fresco dining is unrealistic, not only because of necessary road use, but also because we can’t ask the weather to stop. There will be snow in Boston, wind in Chicago, and rain in Seattle. […] Germany has reportedly banned singing at religious services, and South Korea has prohibited spitting in its professional baseball league. [The Atlantic]

More Than 100 in Germany Found to Be Infected With Coronavirus After Church’s Services — Social distancing was observed and building disinfected for affected Sunday May 10 ceremonies, says senior member

the virus dies off relatively quickly in direct sunlight

Philippines: 2020 Grads Accept Diplomas Via Robot at Virtual Graduation [Thanks Tim]

Shorter menus, pricier food, less service

With surgical masks (or equally efficient substitutes) and 80% and 90% adoption levels, respiratory epidemics with R0 of about 3 and 4, respectively, would be theoretically extinguished.

An antibody discovered in the blood of a patient who caught SARS in 2003 appears to inhibit all related coronaviruses — including the one that causes COVID-19. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine and Vir Biotechnology say that the antibody they’ve identified, known as S309, “likely covers the entire family of related coronaviruses.” One of the chief obstacles to the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine — or potent antiviral — is that the virus is perpetually mutating. But the Vir Biotechnology study suggests that S309 targets and disables the spike proteins that all known coronaviruses use to enter human cells. […] COVID-19’s fatality rate appears to be 13 times higher than the seasonal flu’s. […] Between March 1 and April 5 of this year, 5,449 COVID-19 patients were admitted to Northwell Health’s New York-based hospitals. Some 36.6 percent of those patients ended up suffering acute kidney injuries. [NY mag]

A quarter of Americans have little or no interest in taking a coronavirus vaccine.

Thoughts that the young are not much affected by SARS-CoV-2 look wrong. It seems to manifest as a rare syndrome called Kawasaki disease.

Young adults are also affected by Kawasaki-like disease linked to covid-19, doctors say (Although the number of cases is extremely small)

Shorter menus, pricier food, less service, servers wearing masks and surgical gloves: The future of dining out looks far from festive. Tables and booths will be separated by everything from plexiglass shields to clear shower curtains. Diners may have to wait in their cars or on the sidewalk for a text saying their table is ready. Paper tablecloths will replace fabric ones, condiments won’t be left on the table, and disposable plates and glasses may reign supreme. […] Less frequent busing of tables, to avoid contact. […] The OpenTable CEO predicts that 25% of restaurants will close permanently. […] Occupancy restrictions will mean that restaurants can serve only a fraction of the number of people they did before. (In Florida, for instance, re-opening restaurants must operate at no more than 25% capacity.) [Axios]

On April 24, as more than 25,000 Americans continued to test positive for COVID-19 each day, Georgia became the first U.S. state to initiate the fraught process known as “reopening.” First it allowed hair salons, gyms, barber shops, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to resume operations. Dine-in restaurants and movie theaters followed a few days later. Today much of the state is open for business, under guidelines including a 6-foot social distancing rule. […] 26 days have passed since the state started to reopen — and that punishing new wave of infections has not materialized. […] Georgia’s rolling seven-day average of new daily cases — an important metric that helps to balance out daily fluctuations in reporting — has fallen for three weeks in a row. [Yahoo News]

To get technical, airplanes deliver 10 to 12 air changes per hour. In a hospital isolation room, the minimum target is six air changes per hour for existing facilities and 12 air changes per hour for new. Airplanes also use the same air filter — a HEPA filter — recommended by the CDC for isolation rooms with recirculated air. Such filters capture 99.97 percent of airborne particles. [Washington Post]

New data on electricity consumption has offered an insight into Americans’ level of wariness in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic: Many appeared to be staying home to avoid the virus even before lockdown orders were issued in March. The data, on consumption in homes in 30 states, shows that energy use began to rise in many states about a week before stay-at-home orders were issued but after states of emergency were declared. […] Two states, Arizona and North Carolina, bucked the trend, with far lower energy consumption increases during the time period. [NY Times]

“The cause of this recession — a global pandemic — means that our economic future will be determined in large part by the path of the virus,” said John C. Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “It’s impossible to know exactly how and when workers and businesses will be fully back to work and when consumers will return to the businesses that are open.” [NY Times]

the effect of wind speed on social distancing

We computationally investigate the effect of wind speed on social distancing. For a mild human cough in air at 20○C and 50% relative humidity, we found that human saliva-disease-carrier droplets may travel up to unexpected considerable distances depending on the wind speed. When the wind speed was approximately zero, the saliva droplets did not travel 2 m, which is within the social distancing recommendations. However, at wind speeds varying from 4 km/h to 15 km/h, we found that the saliva droplets can travel up to 6 m with a decrease in the concentration and liquid droplet size in the wind direction. [Physics of Fluids]

Superspreading events are ill-understood and difficult to study […] Individual patients’ characteristics play a role as well. Some people shed far more virus, and for a longer period of time, than others, perhaps because of differences in their immune system or the distribution of virus receptors in their body. […] Singing may release more virus than speaking, which could help explain the choir outbreaks. People’s behavior also plays a role. Having many social contacts or not washing your hands makes you more likely to pass on the virus.

We know most people get infected in their own home. A household member contracts the virus in the community and brings it into the house where sustained contact between household members leads to infection. But where are people contracting the infection in the community? I regularly hear people worrying about grocery stores, bike rides, inconsiderate runners who are not wearing masks…. are these places of concern? Well, not really. In order to get infected you need to get exposed to an infectious dose of the virus; based on infectious dose studies with other coronaviruses, it appears that only small doses may be needed for infection to take hold. Some experts estimate that as few as 1000 SARS-CoV2 infectious viral particles are all that will be needed (ref 1, ref 2). Please note, this still needs to be determined experimentally, but we can use that number to demonstrate how infection can occur. Infection could occur, through 1000 infectious viral particles you receive in one breath or from one eye-rub, or 100 viral particles inhaled with each breath over 10 breaths, or 10 viral particles with 100 breaths. Each of these situations can lead to an infection. […] We still do not know whether a person releases infectious material in feces or just fragmented virus, but we do know that toilet flushing does aerosolize many droplets. Treat public bathrooms with extra caution (surface and air), until we know more about the risk. […] A single cough releases about 3,000 droplets and droplets travels at 50 miles per hour. A single sneeze releases about 30,000 droplets, with droplets traveling at up to 200 miles per hour. If a person is infected, the droplets in a single cough or sneeze may contain as many as 200,000,000 (two hundred million) virus particles which can all be dispersed into the environment around them. […] A single breath releases 50 - 5000 droplets. Most of these droplets are low velocity and fall to the ground quickly. There are even fewer droplets released through nose-breathing. Importantly, due to the lack of exhalation force with a breath, viral particles from the lower respiratory areas are not expelled. Unlike sneezing and coughing which release huge amounts of viral material, the respiratory droplets released from breathing only contain low levels of virus. […] Speaking increases the release of respiratory droplets about 10 fold Speaking increases the release of respiratory droplets about 10 fold; ~200 virus particles per minute. Assuming every virus is inhaled, it would take ~5 minutes of speaking face-to-face to receive the required dose. […] Remember the formula: Successful Infection = Exposure to Virus x Time. […] In meat processing plants, densely packed workers must communicate to one another amidst the deafening drum of industrial machinery and a cold-room virus-preserving environment. There are now outbreaks in 115 facilities across 23 states, 5000+ workers infected, with 20 dead. […] Weddings, funerals, birthdays: 10% of early spreading events. […] infection events were indoors, with people closely-spaced, with lots of talking, singing, or yelling. The main sources for infection are home, workplace, public transport, social gatherings, and restaurants. This accounts for 90% of all transmission events. In contrast, outbreaks spread from shopping appear to be responsible for a small percentage of traced infections. [Erin Briomage]

Coronavirus is going to make film shoots more expensive. […] To manage the on-set health and safety measures, studios are expected to hire “COVID coordinators” who will lead staffs of 10 to 15 people on smaller movies, according to one production source. For bigger shoots, that staff could be 30 people or more. […] Studios’ insurance costs are also likely to rise because of the risk of having to pause shooting for weeks when a member of the cast or crew gets sick. […] So-called intimacy coordinators, who work with actors to ensure appropriate behavior during sex scenes, may be called upon to help performers feel comfortable during other types of shooting that require people to be near each other. [LA Times]

Some film sets are talking about quarantining together so they can keep working.

it turns out that one of the biggest obstacles to dining in a restaurant, renewing a doctor’s appointment or going back to the office is the prospect of having to use a public restroom — a tight, intimate and potentially germ-infested space. […] A Texas barbecue restaurant reopened only after hiring for a new job category: a bathroom monitor, who assures that people waiting their turn are spaced well apart. In Florida, malls are installing touch-free sinks and hand dryers in restrooms before opening their doors. McDonald’s is requiring franchisees to clean bathrooms every 30 minutes. Across the country, businesses are replacing blow dryers with paper towels, decommissioning urinals that now seem too close together, and removing restroom doors to create airport-style, no-touch entrances. […] The Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In theater in North Ridgeville, Ohio, reopened this week with 10 portable toilets added to the eight existing stalls. On its marquee facing the highway, the theater touted the advantages of outdoor, in-car movie watching: “Social Distancing Since 1965.” [Washington Post]

The purpose of a phase 1 clinical trial is to establish whether or not the drug or vaccine being investigated is safe. It’s not designed to test for efficacy. That being said, the trials can still provide some insights into the potential of the drug or vaccine to treat patients.

Clinical trial phases

Genetic Engineering Could Make a COVID-19 Vaccine in Months Rather Than Years

How to take a digital detox during the Covid-19 pandemic

The pandemic is emptying call centers. AI chatbots are swooping in.

To Avoid Coronavirus Risks, Some People Live Where They Work

Novel Anti-Inflammatory High-CBD Cannabis Sativa Extracts Modulate ACE2 Expression in COVID-19 Gateway Tissues

world’s daily carbon emissions fell 17% in April […] total emissions this year will be between 4% and 7% lower than 2019’s total […] Almost half of the world’s emissions reductions last month came from a drop in transportation pollution, as people confined to their homes drove less. Reduced air travel only accounted for 10% of the emissions drop. [study]

Their brand new Full Metal Jacket is indeed made mostly of copper, a known virus-killing material for generations […] 15 kilometers of copper fiber is put into each jacket, in a production process that takes a full week to create […] Available in two colors from Vollebak, for $1095.

Tear gas flavor ice cream

Our projections suggest warmer and more humid times of the year, and locations, may offer a modest reduction in reproductive number;  however, upcoming changes in weather alone will NOT be enough to fully contain the transmission of COVID-19. 

112 persons were infected with SARS-CoV-2 associated with fitness dance classes at 12 sports facilities. Vigorous exercise in confined spaces should be minimized during outbreaks. […] Instructor C taught Pilates and yoga for classes of 7–8 students in the same facility at the same time as instructor B, but none of her students tested positive for the virus) [CDC]

Even before Vietnam reported its first cases on 23 January, it was on high alert for Covid-19.

At one Lima market, 79% of vendors had coronavirus

There is a common misunderstanding that the social benefits of a share of the population acquiring immunity to a disease kick in only once a critical mass is reached (60% or 70% have often been quoted in the context of this new coronavirus). In fact, the social benefits start accruing from the very start of an epidemic and can be significant even when a relatively small share of the population has acquired immunity. As a result, subsequent waves of the epidemic may be somewhat easier to manage, with a slower build-up of cases for any given level of social distancing and effectiveness of test, trace and isolate (TTI) processes. Equivalently, it may be possible to suppress subsequent waves with less social distancing than was the case during the initial wave – with this effect being even stronger if the effectiveness of TTI also improves. [Alma Economics]

Herd Immunity sounds promising for a once-in-a-lifetime disease. But if immunity only lasts 12 to 24 months, that’s a several times per decade disease, which sounds like a less attractive deal. Let’s say the Infection Fatality Rate is just 0.5% per run to Herd Immunity, which would be achieved at, say, 60% of the US population of 330 million or about 1,000,000 deaths each time. […] Advocates of a Herd Immunity strategy really need to get out their spreadsheets and do the math of how this would turn out to be a good thing. Perhaps it is the best alternative, but, please, show your work. [Steve Sailer]

The two drivers of the spread of the disease are close contact and crowding in closed spaces

Getting a handle on asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection

It’s safer to be outside than in the office or the mall. With fresh air and more space between people, the risk goes down. But experts also expressed particular caution about outdoor dining, using locker rooms at pools and crowds in places like beaches. […] Practice social distancing and wear a mask when that is not possible. Ideally, people should socialize only with people who live in their homes, they say. If you decide to meet friends, you’re increasing your risk, but you can take precautions. It’s important to keep gatherings small. Don’t share food, utensils or beverages; keep your hands clean; and keep at least six feet from people who don’t live in your home. […] While the risk of outdoor transmission is low, it can happen. In one study of more than 7,300 cases in China, just one was connected to outdoor transmission. In that case, a 27-year-old man had a conversation outdoors with a traveler who had just returned from Wuhan. Seven days later, he had his first symptoms of Covid-19. [NY Times]

Loud talking could leave coronavirus in the air for up to 14 minutes (The study was also run in a tightly controlled environment, and it did not account for the types of air circulation and temperature changes you would find in nearly any real-world environment.)

Across Sweden, almost 30 percent more people died during the epidemic than is normal during this time of year, an increase similar to that of the United States and far higher than the small increases seen in its neighboring countries. […] Swedish officials chose not to implement a nationwide lockdown, trusting that people would do their part to stay safe. Schools, restaurants, gyms and bars remained open, with social distancing rules enforced, while gatherings were restricted to 50 people. Two months later, it has not been the worst-case scenario many envisioned. […] But there is reason to believe that Sweden’s approach may not work as well elsewhere. But there is reason to believe that Sweden’s approach may not work as well elsewhere. […] And although Sweden is not a particularly young country in comparison with its Western European peers, it has a high life expectancy and low levels of chronic diseases, like diabetes and obesity, that make the virus more lethal. [NY Times]

Tear gas is among the new flavors at a Hong Kong ice cream shop.

How this moment will be misremembered

3.jpgDrive-in rave in Germany

there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments

The highest levels of SARS-CoV-2 copies per cell were detected in the respiratory tract, and lower levels were detected the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, and blood

Kidney injury seen in more than a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients: U.S. study

Three domestic cats were inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 on day 0. One day after inoculation, a cat with no previous SARS-CoV-2 infection was cohoused with each of the inoculated cats to assess whether transmission of the virus by direct contact would occur between the cats in each of the three pairs. […] On day 3, one of the cats with no previous infection had infectious virus detected in a nasal swab specimen, and 5 days later, virus was detected in all three cats that were cohoused with the inoculated cats. [ The New England Journal of Medicine]

The evidence suggests that these are instances of human-to-dog transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It is unclear whether infected dogs can transmit the virus to other animals or back to humans. [Nature]

I’ve landed in Hong Kong after flying from Paris CDG, via London Heathrow. I now have to wait ~8 hours before I get my #COVID19 test results and thus have ample time to tweet about my experience. [Laurel Chor, Twitter]

Here’s How Wuhan Plans to Test All 11 Million of Its People for Coronavirus

Most elevators aren’t big enough to allow people to stay six feet apart, so there’s a chance that infected passengers could transmit the virus, particularly if they are unmasked and are coughing, talking or just came in from a jog and are breathing heavily. But even if you’re riding the elevator alone, there are other ways you might catch the coronavirus, although the risk is low. Elevator buttons and side rails are a potential risk if your hands become contaminated and you touch your face. […] If you step into an elevator after an infected person has been riding in it, can you breathe in floating germs? […] given the variety of elevators and buildings, there are thousands of scenarios that give different results. [NY Times]

The Inn at Little Washington (DC area’s only restaurant with three Michelin stars) Thinks Mannequins Will Make Social Distancing Less Awkward

‘How This Moment Will Be Misremembered’ — An Internet Theorist on What Social-Media Images Hide About the Pandemic

What Role Does Design Play in a Public Health Crisis?

Even mild dehydration can be a physical stressor to the body, according to Melissa Majumdar, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If we’re not adequately hydrated, we may experience nausea and loss of appetite, and may find it difficult to concentrate and perform physical tasks, like carrying groceries or lifting weights. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women aim to consume 2.7 liters (or 91 ounces) of fluids daily, and men drink 3.7 liters (or 125 ounces). But that recommendation doesn’t focus on water specifically. Rather, it includes all fluids and water-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables and soups. Considering that about 80% of our water intake comes from fluids and about 20% from foods, that breaks down to a daily goal of about 9 cups (or 72 ounces) of fluids for females and 12½ cups (or 100 ounces) for males.