A collection of key developments in the fight against COVID-19 (the actual virus is SARS-COV-2), posted throughout the week for those who just want the signal and not the noise. If there’s something you think we should include, sound off in the comments thread attached to the post.
Visit our Wuhan coronavirus status page and learn how to prepare for possible spread to your area. Scenarios, shopping lists, background info, and everything else you need, all in one place.
Previously: The previous day’s key developments post is here.
Over 27,000 cases have been added to the globe since yesterday. Italy’s cases grew by nearly 6,000. Italy had over 600 deaths in the last 24 hours. The US and Germany each added more than 4,500 cases.
The erstwhile antimalarial hydroxychloroquine looks like a promising potential treatment for COVID-19, especially if paired with a common antibiotic. It’s not yet approved for this use, but investigations into its efficacy continue. Unfortunately, hydroxychloroquine is already in short supply.
Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) are already taxing hospital systems in the US. Some hospital systems are pleading for members of the community to make homemade masks for donation to clinicians. Some clinical settings may be forced to shut down. The proverbial pandemic marathon is only just getting started. If you’re interested in templates for sewing masks, see the links.
Let’s look at the relative efficacy of various homemade mask materials:
Cambridge scientists tested 0.02 micron Bacteriophage MS2 particles (5 times smaller than the coronavirus) & compared homemade masks made of different materials to surgical masks.
Surgical mask blocks 89%
Vacuum cleaning bag 85%
Dish Towel 73%
T shirt 70%#macgyvercare pic.twitter.com/RFEbhH1V5D
— C. Michael Gibson MD (@CMichaelGibson) March 17, 2020
Governor Newsom issues “stay at home” order for all 40 million Californians. Essential services remain open, like grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies. People may leave their homes to walk but may not gather in groups of 10 or more. Police are not enforcing the order—Californians are simply asked to honor the order.
Trump asks states to buy their own medical supplies, then outbids them. Trump then complains that he doesn’t want his administration to be a “shipping clerk.”
People keep taking cruises, and they keep getting sick with COVID-19. Cruise passengers disembarking from the Costa Luminosa and transported by plane to ATL were held on the tarmac and prohibited from leaving the plane. Many had not eating in 24 hours:
BREAKING: cruise passengers have landed at @ATLairport but say @CDCgov won’t let them off plane. Passengers say they haven’t eaten in nearly 24 hours, many on plane are sick, have passed out, one tells me.https://t.co/crOG59qnmV
— Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 20, 2020
Trumps Administration asks states to fudge the numbers on unemployment, adding: “States should not provide numeric values to the public.”
Gastro-intestinal symptoms are not as uncommon with COVID-19 as once thought. This is not terribly surprising, as a host factor the virus uses to penetrate cells is present in the cells of the gut. Maybe folks needed all that toilet paper after all.