health

I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety

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Pushing away feelings is like trying to force a beach ball underwater: They will pop back up. Instead, notice and normalize difficult emotions; ideally, negative feelings, including fear, can motivate us to solve problems. […]

Focusing on relaxing sounds reduces stress. […]

Slow your breathing down to six breaths a minute by consciously inhaling and exhaling (to practice this timing, you can use a secondhand and inhale for five seconds, exhale for five seconds, and repeat four times, or try a guided recording). Paced breathing offers a host of physiological benefits, like reducing your blood pressure, which helps promote a sense of tranquillity.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

‘You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.’ –Seneca

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Amid all the fighting in your airways, messenger cells grab small fragments of virus and carry these to the lymph nodes, where highly specialized white blood cells—T-cells—are waiting. The T-cells are selective and preprogrammed defenders. Each is built a little differently, and comes ready-made to attack just a few of the zillion pathogens that could possibly exist. For any new virus, you probably have a T-cell somewhere that could theoretically fight it. Your body just has to find and mobilize that cell. Picture the lymph nodes as bars full of grizzled T-cell mercenaries, each of which has just one type of target they’re prepared to fight. The messenger cell bursts in with a grainy photo, showing it to each mercenary in turn, asking: Is this your guy? When a match is found, the relevant merc arms up and clones itself into an entire battalion, which marches off to the airways.

Some T-cells are killers, which blow up the infected respiratory cells in which viruses are hiding. Others are helpers, which boost the rest of the immune system. Among their beneficiaries, these helper T-cells activate the B-cells that produce antibodies—small molecules that can neutralize viruses by gumming up the structures they use to latch on to their hosts. Roughly speaking—and this will be important later—antibodies mop up the viruses that are floating around outside our cells, while T-cells kill the ones that have already worked their way inside. T-cells do demolition; antibodies do cleanup.

Both T-cells and antibodies are part of the adaptive immune system. This branch is more precise than the innate branch, but much slower: Finding and activating the right cells can take several days. It’s also long-lasting: Unlike the innate branch of the immune system, the adaptive one has memory.

After the virus is cleared, most of the mobilized T-cell and B-cell forces stand down and die off. But a small fraction remain on retainer—veterans of the COVID-19 war of 2020, bunkered within your organs and patrolling your bloodstream. This is the third and final phase of the immune response: Keep a few of the specialists on tap. If the same virus attacks again, these “memory cells” can spring into action and launch the adaptive branch of the immune system without the usual days-long delay. […]

Many infected people still clear the virus after a few weeks of nasty symptoms. But others don’t. Maybe they initially inhaled a large dose of virus. Maybe their innate immune systems were already weakened through old age or chronic disease. In some cases, the adaptive immune system also underperforms: T-cells mobilize, but their levels recede before the virus is vanquished, “almost causing an immunosuppressed state,” Iwasaki says. […]

There are also preliminary hints that some people might have a degree of preexisting immunity against the new coronavirus. Four independent groups of scientists—based in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and Singapore—have now found that 20 to 50 percent of people who were never exposed to SARS-CoV-2 nonetheless have significant numbers of T-cells that can recognize it. These “cross-reactive” cells likely emerged when their owners were infected by other, related coronaviruses, including the four mild ones that cause a third of common colds, and the many that infect other animals.

But Farber cautions that having these cross-reactive T-cells “tells you absolutely nothing about protection.” It’s intuitive to think they would be protective, but immunology is where intuition goes to die. The T-cells might do nothing. There’s an outside chance that they could predispose people to more severe disease. We can’t know for sure without recruiting lots of volunteers, checking their T-cell levels, and following them over a long period of time to see who gets infected—and how badly.

Even if the cross-reactive cells are beneficial, remember that T-cells act by blowing up infected cells. As such, they’re unlikely to stop people from getting infected in the first place, but might reduce the severity of those infections.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

deterioration in the forecasts of surface meteorology

51.jpgWeather forecasts play essential parts in daily life, agriculture and industrial activities, and have great economic value. Meteorological observations on commercial aircraft help improve the forecast. However, the global lockdown during the COVID‐19 pandemic chops off 50‐75% of aircraft observations. […] We see deterioration in the forecasts of surface meteorology and atmospheric stratification, and larger deterioration in longer‐term forecasts [AGU]

How the Porn Industry Is Changing During COVID-19

Why the porn industry has a lot to teach us about safety in the Covid-19 era

A new study finds that although musical instruments do generate airborne particles that could carry SARS-CoV-2, the risks for performers and audience may be manageable.

this month, a group of prominent scientists made the case that superspreading clusters suggest the virus is sometimes being transmitted over longer distances through the air in far smaller and more numerous particles. […] Why didn’t the infamous Lake of the Ozarks party spur lots of cases, while a much smaller gathering at a Michigan bar produced nearly 200? Part of the uneven spread of the coronavirus — and the phenomenon of superspreading — can be explained by extreme individual variation in infectivity, researchers say. Overall, researchers have estimated in recent studies that some 10 to 20 percent of the infected may be responsible for 80 percent of all cases. […] One proposal, from a Moscow State University professor, calls for shifting testing resources from the general public to efforts to identify potential “super emitters” with high viral loads by using randomized testing. Other proposals focus on limiting people’s more random interactions, such as on public transit, or at bars and restaurants, while loosening restrictions on their regular contacts, such as through work or school. [Washington Post]

Professional diver Emiliano Pescarolo contracted coronavirus in March and spent 17 days in hospital in the Italian port city of Genoa before being discharged on April 10. Now, three months later, the 42-year-old still experiences breathing difficulties. “Once back home, even after weeks I couldn’t see any progress: if I took a small walk, it was like climbing Mount Everest. I was out of breath also just for talking. I was very worried,” he said. Pescarolo is one of dozens of former Covid patients now receiving care at a rehabilitation clinic in Genoa — and says he is starting to see some progress. [CNN]

Despite how unnatural social distancing may feel to people, it is very much a part of the natural world, practiced by mammals, fishes, insects and birds. Social animals stay apart, changing behaviors such as grooming to stop the spread of diseases that could kill them.

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age

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We then showed that SARS-recovered patients still possess long-lasting memory T cells reactive to SARS-NP 17 years after the 2003 outbreak, which displayed robust cross-reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 NP. Surprisingly, we also frequently detected SARS-CoV-2 specific T cells in individuals with no history of SARS, COVID-19 or contact with SARS/COVID-19 patients.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

Perhaps there’s just little selection pressure on the virus as it races through millions of immunologically naïve people, scientists say. That could change with the advent of vaccines or new therapies, forcing the virus to evolve. But it could also indicate that the virus has been with people longer than we know, and was spreading before the first known cases in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. “The evolution of this virus to become a human pathogen may have already happened and we missed it,” Rasmussen says.

Wang thinks a version of the virus may have circulated earlier in humans in southern Asia, perhaps flying under the radar because it didn’t cause severe disease.

{ Science | Continue reading }

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

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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)

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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

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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]