Science will come up with solutions

The saliva of COVID-19 patients can harbor half a trillion virus particles per teaspoon, and a cough aerosolizes it into a diffuse mist. […] Viruses have been multiplying inside his body ever since. And as he talks, the passage of his breath over the moist lining of his upper throat creates tiny droplets of virus-laden mucus that waft invisibly into the air over your table. Some settle on the as-yet-uneaten food on your plate, some drift onto your fingers, others are drawn into your nasal sinus or settle into your throat. By the time you extend your hand to shake good-bye, your body is carrying 43,654 virus particles. By the time you’re done shaking hands, that number is up to 312,405. […] What she doesn’t know is that an hour before, you went to the bathroom and neglected to wash your hands afterward. The invisible fecal smear you leave on the arm of her jacket contains 893,405 virus particles. […] Fighting for breath, you order an Uber and head to the nearest emergency room. (You leave 376,345,090 virus particles smeared on various surfaces of the car and another 323,443,865 floating in aerosols in the air.) [NY mag]

Researchers found that most coronavirus transmissions had occurred in regions with low temperatures, between 37.4 and 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (or 3 and 17 degrees Celsius). While countries with equatorial climates and those in the Southern Hemisphere, currently in the middle of summer, have reported coronavirus cases, regions with average temperatures above 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18 degrees Celsius) account for fewer than 6 percent of global cases so far. The temperature dependency is also clear within the United States, Dr. Bukhari said. Southern states, like Arizona, Florida and Texas, have seen slower outbreak growth compared with states like Washington, New York and Colorado. Coronavirus cases in California have grown at a rate that falls somewhere in between. […] At least two other studies published on public repositories have drawn similar conclusions for the coronavirus. One analysis by researchers in Spain and Finland found that the virus seemed to have found a niche in dry conditions and temperatures between 28.3 degrees and 49 degrees Fahrenheit (or minus 2 and 10 degrees Celsius). […] Warmer temperatures might make it harder for the coronavirus to survive in the air or on surfaces for long periods of time, but it could still be contagious for hours, if not days, Dr. Bukhari said. Even seasonal viruses like influenza and the viruses that cause the common cold don’t completely disappear during summer. [NY Times ]

South Korea has emerged as a sign of hope and a model to emulate. The country of 50 million appears to have greatly slowed its epidemic; it reported only 74 new cases today, down from 909 at its peak on 29 February. And it has done so without locking down entire cities or taking some of the other authoritarian measures that helped China bring its epidemic under control. […] Behind its success so far has been the most expansive and well-organized testing program in the world, combined with extensive efforts to isolate infected people and trace and quarantine their contacts. South Korea has tested more than 270,000 people, which amounts to more than 5200 tests per million inhabitants—more than any other country except tiny Bahrain, according to the Worldometer website. The United States has so far carried out 74 tests per 1 million inhabitants, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. […] Yet whether the success will hold is unclear. […] New clusters are now appearing. Since last week, authorities have reported many new infections, including 129 linked to a Seoul call center. [Science]

Singapore introduces contact tracing app to slow coronavirus spread

Once inside a cell, a virus can make 10,000 copies of itself in a matter of hours. Within a few days, the infected person will carry hundreds of millions of viral particles in every teaspoon of his blood. The onslaught triggers an intense response from the host’s immune system: Defensive chemicals are released. The body’s temperature rises, causing fever. Armies of germ-eating white blood cells swarm the infected region. Often, this response is what makes a person feel sick. […] viruses function through us. With no cellular machinery of their own, they become intertwined with ours. Their proteins are our proteins. Their weaknesses are our weaknesses. Most drugs that might hurt them would hurt us, too. […] For all its evil genius and efficient, lethal design, Kirkegaard said, “the virus doesn’t really want to kill us. It’s good for them, good for their population, if you’re walking around being perfectly healthy.” Evolutionary speaking, experts believe, the ultimate goal of viruses is to be contagious while also gentle on its host. [Washington Post]

46% of the city’s COVID-19 patients are over 50 while 54% are 18-49. The remaining 2% of cases are people age 5 to 17. […] men account for 59% of infected people. Men are more than twice as likely as women to die from the pathogen. [NY Post]

up to 80% of people testing positive for COVID-19 might not have COVID-19

Twenty-first century science played a relatively small role in controlling SARS; nineteenth-century techniques continued to prove their value [ [SARS: how a global epidemic was stopped]

These days I sometimes catch myself wishing to get the virus – in this way, at least the debilitating uncertainty would be over

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