‘History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.’ –James Joyce

march 28

Some Wuhan residents who had tested positive earlier and then recovered from the disease are testing positive for the virus a second time. Based on data from several quarantine facilities in the city, which house patients for further observation after their discharge from hospitals, about 5%-10% of patients pronounced “recovered” have tested positive again. Some of those who retested positive appear to be asymptomatic carriers — those who carry the virus and are possibly infectious but do not exhibit any of the illness’s associated symptoms — suggesting that the outbreak in Wuhan is not close to being over. [NPR]

Is ‘Viral Load’ Why Some People Get a Mild Case of COVID-19?

In China, 52.9 percent of men smoke, in contrast to just 2.4 percent of women; further analysis of the emerging COVID-19 data from China could help determine if this disparity is contributing to the higher mortality observed in men compared to women

Roughly speaking, we might say that getting COVID-19 is like packing a year’s worth of risk into a week or two.

list of rent strike resources and information from the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia

The US keeps millions of chickens in secret farms to make flu vaccines. But their eggs won’t work for coronavirus

He recalls bringing it to one veteran Democratic member. “I said, ‘I need to talk to you about something important,’” says Baird. “He said, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘You know, we don’t have a valid process for replacing House members if we’re all killed by a terrorist attack.’” “He said, ‘What do I care? I’ll be dead.’” Why Is Congress Still Meeting in Person?

Drug Dealers on How Coronavirus Is Affecting Supply and Demand

Related: The team tested wastewater samples from 68 European cities in 23 countries, looking for urinary biomarkers or urinary metabolites for cocaine, MDMA, cannabis, amphetamine, and methamphetamine found in European wastewater. The countries with the overall highest concentration of urinary biomarkers for MDMA were Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Cocaine use appeared to be highest in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. [Daily Mail]

march 27:

When Boeing made its humble plea for $60 billion in coronavirus relief funds on Saint Patrick’s Day 2020, leading the pack of corporate supplicants, all its assembly lines unrelated to its notorious self-hijacking 737 Max jets, whose production halted in January, were still operating at normal capacity. They were still open in spite of the fact that Seattle public schools had been closed for six days at that point, in spite of the fact that every restaurant and bar in the state had been closed the weekend earlier, and in spite of the fact that the disease was quickly spreading among the factory workers, one of whom, a 27-year veteran of the company, would die within days. And they were still running in spite of the fact that demand for Boeing planes, thanks to the 737 crashes, is at an all-time low, with the company in January, a month in which its archrival Airbus sold 274 planes, reporting its first month in history without a single order. Which is to say, I can think of a lot of reasons Boeing might need a bailout. In December a space capsule the company designed to transport astronauts to the International Space Station failed to launch into orbit during a test mission because its timer was eleven hours off, a potentially half billion dollar mistake that may cost the company billions more in lost NASA business to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. In January, the company revealed that its attempts to load a software fix onto the 737s was repeatedly crashing the planes’ computers. Not long after that, the company finally admitted that the three-year-delay on its KC-46 aerial refueling tanker was going to be, at minimum, another three years. And then of course there’s the $70 billion the company has squandered over the past decade on stock buybacks and dividend checks. What all of these problems have in common is that none of them has shit to do with coronavirus. And neither does the $500 billion corporate bailout the Senate appended to an otherwise vitally important relief package. [Moe Tkacik]

14 years ago, Larry Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, spoke to a TED audience and described what the next pandemic would look like. At the time, it sounded almost too horrible to take seriously. “A billion people would get sick,” he said. “As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable.” […] Larry Brilliant: “The whole epidemiological community has been warning everybody for the past 10 or 15 years that it wasn’t a question of whether we were going to have a pandemic like this. It was simply when. […] By slowing down the curve, or flattening it, we’re not going to decrease the total number of cases, we’re going to postpone many cases, until we get a vaccine—which we will, because there’s nothing in the virology that makes me frightened that we won’t get a vaccine in 12 to 18 months. […] The world is not going to begin to look normal until three things have happened. One, we figure out whether the distribution of this virus looks like an iceberg, which is one-seventh above the water, or a pyramid, where we see everything. If we’re only seeing right now one-seventh of the actual disease because we’re not testing enough, and we’re just blind to it, then we’re in a world of hurt. Two, we have a treatment that works, a vaccine or antiviral. And three, maybe most important, we begin to see large numbers of people—in particular nurses, home health care providers, doctors, policemen, firemen, and teachers who have had the disease—are immune, and we have tested them to know that they are not infectious any longer. And we have a system that identifies them, either a concert wristband or a card with their photograph and some kind of a stamp on it. Then we can be comfortable sending our children back to school, because we know the teacher is not infectious.” [WIRED]

march 26:

Coronavirus Info-Database, an attempt to organize the disparate papers, articles and links

The coronavirus is slowly mutating. But experts say that so far, there’s no sign it’s becoming more harmful to humans — and that slow change is potentially good news for treatments and vaccines.

Italian researchers are looking at whether a higher than usual number of cases of severe pneumonia and flu in Lombardy in the last quarter of 2019 may be a signal that the new coronavirus might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought.

A ‘negative’ coronavirus test result doesn’t always mean you are not infected

Variation in state quarantine laws and regulations may create differences in the effectiveness of each state’s response to COVID-19, at least to the degree that those laws and regulations are relevant and enforced.

An app to connect, organize and help each other without risking physical contact and New Nextdoor Features

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait With the Spanish Flu, 1919

march 25:

Nuclear scientists in Austria are closing in on new coronavirus testing kits that could dramatically lower the cost and time it takes to diagnose people for the disease. Covid-19 diagnosis could drop to 10 to 15 euros a person.

We need to test as many people as possible. If we know who is infected, who is not and who has recovered, we could greatly relax social isolation requirements and send both the uninfected and the recovered back to work. Although our health-care system is now struggling to produce enough tests even for those who are likely infected, we recommend a massive mobilization that would allow hundreds of millions to be tested. There are two types of tests, and expanding both would be necessary. The polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test now in use identifies the genetic signature of the live virus and can identify those very recently infected. It requires someone to take swabs and package them, use of a PCR machine and trained professionals to run those machines. The second type of test, a serology test, looks for antibodies or other proteins in the blood formed by the immune reaction to infection. These tests, still in development, could reveal those who had the disease and recovered, and confirm infection of some still with symptoms. It could probably be self-administered and produce results in minutes. With enough of both kinds of tests, a variety of complementary strategies would be possible. Because live disease carriers would be more readily identified, it would be easier to trace and test their contacts and to quarantine the infected, particularly if a period of high isolation now greatly lowers infection rates. In addition, with widespread serology tests, those recovered and presumably now immune and unable to transmit the virus could return to work and resume many social interactions. Although no one is absolutely sure the recovered cannot be reinfected and then infect others, they will almost certainly have substantial resistance. [Washington Post]

Singapore to make its contact-tracing app freely available to developers worldwide

coronavirus RNA found in Princess Cruise ship cabins up to 17 days after passengers left

10 Amazon warehouses hit by coronavirus

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman says he turned $27 million into $2.6 billion during coronavirus crisis