State of the Pandemic, June 2020, Part III: Current events and the future

Parts one and two of this three-part feature addressed what we have learned about the disease biology of COVID-19, and about pharmaceutical interventions to prevent and treat it. This third and final part will address the events that have elapsed since January and the current state of affairs. We’ll wrap up this series by talking

Those people without face masks? Study says their cough droplets can travel up to 12 ft

When you pass an unmasked person on the street or in the store, it’s become common practice to sigh a little bit and then give them a wide berth. Six feet, if space allows. But a study published just this morning shows that distance might not be enough. Without a mask, researchers say droplets from

If COVID-19 cases are rising (again), why aren’t death rates climbing?

Cases of COVID-19 are exploding across the United States. Cases have been on the rise for two weeks now, but the 7-day moving average of daily deaths is still relatively flat. A lot of people have wondered why. They expect our record-high cases to be accompanied by record-high deaths, not slow, steady death counts. That’s

Have an Instant Pot? DHS says you can use it to decontaminate an N95

Back in April, we told you that you probably shouldn’t decontaminate disposable N95 respirators in your home oven, but we also showed you how to do it if you were determined. Now, though, the United States Department of Homeland Security is recommending a way to decontaminate those masks at home in a programmable pressure cooker

Pandemic panic in the city? A country boy on what to expect from rural life

After the COVID-19 outbreak and a spat of turmoil in big cities, more and more people are looking to escape to the country: “Americans are considering moving to less populated areas to avoid coronavirus” in the New York Post “Escape to the Country: Why City Living Is Losing Its Appeal During the Pandemic,” writes the Wall

How to understand ICU occupancy numbers and tell when your area is in the danger zone

ICUs in some areas of the United States are about to go into overflow mode, as you’ve probably seen. You may have even shared a story about this on a social media site. And if you shared one of those “ICU occupancy is surging” stories, odds are good that someone responded to by suggesting that

COVID-19 might not linger long in the air, but it does ‘extensively contaminate’ surfaces

For months, we’ve been saying that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can survive on surfaces—even when the CDC appeared to be saying the opposite. We’ve also written about how asymptomatic cases are probably underestimated. At this point, we’re preaching to the choir. But this afternoon, a new study was published in mSphere, and it examines

State of the Pandemic, June 2020, Part II: Therapies and Vaccines

In this multi-part series, we step back from the flood of day-to-day pandemic news, and put our attention back on the big questions. This series is divided into three major parts: disease biology, therapies, and the progress of the pandemic. We’ll close by discussing the future. This is Part II, on therapies and vaccines. Read

Review: the GORUCK face mask

Here in Texas, we’re still having a hard time getting reusable cloth masks of decent quality. My wife ordered some fancy-looking masks from Canada over a month ago, and they’ve yet to ship. I recently waited three weeks for some overpriced masks that fell apart on first use. Luckily, more clothing makers and brands are

Still on lockdown from COVID-19? Psychologists say those ‘crazy’ feelings you’re having are normal

If you’re like most of us at The Prepared, you’ve been on lockdown for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, like us, you’ve probably spent the past few weeks watching friends go to bars, gyms, and the beach. Some people are even going on vacations. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are on the rise in much

One large gathering is riskier than 10 small ones: the math of COVID-19 spread

COVID-19 risks are not linear. For example: Four people hanging out over dinner is not twice as dangerous as two people having dinner — it’s actually three times as dangerous. Many of us do our best to forget high school math classes, but understanding how network effects and linear, quadratic, and exponential relationships work can