Coronavirus Special Coverage

A collection of news posted throughout the week for those that want signal, not noise.

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COVID-19: key developments for Thursday, April 16, 2020

The world has gained over 93,000 cases in a day, totaling over 2.1 million.  The US continues to lead the world in both number of total cases and daily case growth. The US added nearly 30,000 cases in 24 hours and had over 2,100 deaths in that time as well.

17 bodies were found in a nursing home in New Jersey. Police reportedly received an anonymous tips that bodies were being stored in a shed. 68 residents and staff members from this facility have died in total. 76 other residents and 41 staff members have also tested positive. We are living in dark times.

Moscow is locked down and requires drivers to have digital passes. Voluntary restrictions were not stemming the tide of case growth. Two-thirds of Russia’s COVID-19 cases are in Moscow.

Protests against lockdown orders occur in 7 US states. Protesters feel state and local governments are overstepping their bounds in enforcing social distancing measures:

Ohio vows to open May 1st.

Cases are growing in farm belt states, where mandated lockdown orders are unlikely to be made. Is it personal responsibility that has staved off infections, or was case explosion just a matter of time? Will the US “re-open” right as these states begin to suffer higher case loads?

New York extends social distancing orders until May 15:

The small business Paycheck Protection Plan has already run dry. Congress is urged to approve continued funding of the program to keep small businesses aloft.

Recovery from infection won’t necessarily give you total protection. We don’t know how long people will be immune after infection, and we don’t know how complete a person’s immunity will be. There’s some evidence that those with mild infections produce mild immune responses, and those with severe illness produce a larger immune response. The moral of the story is that nobody should assume they are fully protected, even if they were previously positive. We’ll need more time and more data to know what immunity looks like to the virus.

Bolsonaro fires his Health Minister. The split between the two was due to differences of opinion over the response to the pandemic and the balance between the public health and the health of the economy.

24 million pounds of strawberries are about to get trashed. A halt in restaurant orders is the main cause. Farmers plan to donate to food banks, but food banks can’t take the lot. The USDA could act to buy and distribute food, but there has been no organized federal response.

Demand for seeds is unprecedented, and folks are having trouble finding sources that can fulfill orders.

The US paid $55 million for n95 masks which have yet to materialize. Notably, the company was bankrupt and had zero workers. The company had never produced medical equipment or n95 masks before.


    • P B

      New lesson: Optimism is dangerous under the right circumstances. I think we are seeing that right now.

      The case numbers are being perceived in a less serious light as people become numb.  The selfishness of people as individuals or small groups is becoming clearer. The constant media focus on reopening has taken over the basic message to stay home and social distance. The comparisons to the regular flu are re-emerging along with other poor comparisons that once again discount the seriousness of the situation.

      We only had to go through this once but without a successful treatment; a reopening will just land us back where we are right now. Just my opinion but I’m a numbers guy and they don’t add up.

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      • Vaylon P B

        The push to reopen is not coming from the media.

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      • P B Vaylon

        The media is an echo and surgeon of anything said by the government. No blame was being assigned; simply stating whats happening. Most people get their info from major news networks that relay government information; not from cspan etc. That being said; in this case the echo is dangerous. The general public will hear “open back up” and go right back to the norm of the beginning of the year. Summer? Parties!

        I know i always stay 6ft apart from everyone at those summer pool parties 😉

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      • Cia P B

        Hydroxychloroquine with zinc and azithromycin is a very effective treatment. Among other things, it disrupts the autoimmune cytokine storm and prevents the virus from destroying hemoglobin and releasing the iron, just as it does when treating malaria. It’s better to start taking it during the first stage, but has often been effective even when started in the second stage.

        An article in the Guardian today said that they may not be successful in making a vaccine. They were never able to make a SARS vaccine because of antibody-dependent enhancement. Having antibodies either from recovering from the disease or from a vaccine led to serious, even fatal, reactions when the virus was encountered again.


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