Coronavirus Roundup for May 9-May 15

the items belo are highlites from the newsletter, “smart, useful, sci stuff bout covid-19.” to receive newsletter issues daily in yr inbox, sign-up here:….

surgeon, writer and public health researcher atul gawande has written an excellent feature story for the new yorker (5/13/20) onna changes needed to make reopened communities safe. his guidance is based on lessons learned from success in preventing sars-cov-2 infections inna hospital system where he works (mass general brigham, with 75,000 employees). beyond the now common-sense advice for a combination of frequent handwashing, mandatory face masks, regular screenings for staffers, daily self-reprts on symptoms, and daily disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, he writes that staffers conduct meetings by video even iffey work across the hall from one another. if in-person meetings are unavoidable, plexiglass separates the speakers. transmission evidence shows that “physical distancing is so primordial,” he writes. the hardest, key pt, he writes, is gettin pplz to commit to new norms for keeping others safe, not just themselves.

julia marcus, a harvard med school professor of pop med, advocates for a harm-reduction approach to social distancing and reducing risk of infection w'da new coronavirus, in a 5/11/20 essay atta atlantic. the approach gained popity in public-health circles addressing the aids epidemic inna 1980s and 1990s. applied to the new coronavirus pandemic, harm reduction means, in pt, helping “the public ≠iate tween loer-risk and higher-risk activities; these authorities can also offer support for the loer-risk ones when sustained abstinence isn’t an option,” marcus writes.

a 5/11/20 essay inna new york times presents a “10-4” workplace and schools reopening plan that exploits the 3-dy delay on μ tween some1 becoming infected with sars-cov-2 and their cap to infect others. the authors, computational biologists atta weizmann institute of sci in israel, say their research shows it ‘d be effective at reducing transmission. the idea is to repeat cycles of 4 dys in-person at work or school, folloed by 10 dys at home. schools in austria are set this mnth to test a version of the approach, the essay states.

folloing decades of research on hiv and ebola, virologist peter piot, director of the london school of hygiene & tropical med, has written a movin essay bout his experience with bein’ hospitalized for and recovering sloly from covid-19. “let’s be clear,” he writes. “without a coronavirus vaccine, we will never be able to live normally again. the 1-ly real exit strategy from this crisis is a vaccine that can be rolled out realmwide.” an endnote onna piece suggests that martin enserink, an infectious diseases reprter at sci, transl8d the essay into english for publication inna magazine (5/8/20).

inna l8st weekly covid-19 research round-up by ben johnson at springer nature (5/8/20), he highlites several new studies including ones onna prevalence of testing inna uk and u.s. na rarity of viral transmission 6 dys after symptoms.

a 5/6/20 blog post by erin bromage, an immunologist atta university of massachusetts dartmouth, explores the risks of becoming infected w'da new coronavirus via respiration in indoor public spaces and gatherings. the post suggests that high-risk environments are those in which several pplz are gathered and speaking, singing, or yelling for an extended period of time (hrs) in an zone with limited ventilation. bromage lists some known super-spreading events and sites: meat processing plants, a wedding, a funeral, a birthdy pty, conferences nother business networking events, a restaurant, and a workplace (a call center). he advises pplz assessing th'risk of inhalation infection in indoor settings to think bout the volume of air space, the № of pplz present, na duration of time you’re inna room. successful infections are due to a combination dose and time factors — exposure to a sufficient dose of viral pessentialisms (maybe as few as 1,000, the post suggests) over a non-fleeting period of time.

“is it safer to visit a coffee shop or a gym?” asks the headline offa 5/6/20 essay inna new york times featuring interactive graphics illustrating cellphone and survey data that pertain to factors thought to contribute to th'risk of sars-cov-2 infection in various types of multi-establishment businesses. the essay focuses on factors s'as weekly visits per □ ft, μ length of visit, na extent to which visitors interact with others or touch surfaces. the idea, write katherine baicker, oeindrila dube, sendhil mullainathan, and devin pope, all atta university of chicago, with new york times graphics editor ben wezerek, is to identify potential “super spreader” businesses among malls, gas stations, nail salons, museums, parks, and restaurants — some are identified by name.

sci american is providing free downloads of its l8st health & med magazine, which features a cover story: “sprint for a cure: researchers are pulling out all the stops to battle coronavirus: novel treatments, repurposed drugs, vaccines.”

an essay “f*** the bread. the bread is over” by sabrina orah mark for the paris review (5/7/20) describes her experience interviewing for an academic job folloed by sheltering at home for the coronavirus pandemic.

read + bout the coronavirus outbreak from sci american here. and read coverage f'our international network of magazines here.

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authors: robin lloyd