Coronavirus Special Coverage

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

  • Previous coverage - all of our posts in this ongoing series.
  • Coronavirus status page - learn how to prepare for possible spread to your area. Scenarios, shopping lists, background info and everything else you need, all in one place.

COVID-19: key developments for Thursday, May 21, 2020

The world has over 5.1 million cases.  The US has over 1.6 million cases and has had over 96,000 deaths. The US has had more than 10,000 deaths in the last week. The US has gained over 27,000 new cases since yesterday.

The US has pledged 1.2 billion dollars towards vaccine development and the sequestration of over 300 million doses of AstraZenica’s COVID-19 vaccine, should it work. A phase-III safety trial of 30,000 Americans is part of the deal. Phases I and II began last month in England. Pfizer, Sanofi, Moderna, and Inovio are also working on vaccines.

Ford stops production in two factories after workers fall ill. Production had been halted for over two months, and the plants had just reopened. The plants are undergoing cleaning and disinfection and will be reopened quickly.

Only 7.3% of Swedes show antibodies in study of seroprevalence. Coupling this with the fact that Sweden is a top-10 deaths/million and top-10 deaths/100,000 country, their strategy of refusing mandatory lockdowns seems like an especially bad choice.

Montgomery, Alabama might be going level 4. ICUs are overwhelmed. Patients needing an ICU have to be sent to other major cities. Cases are growing quickly but Montgomery has enough ventilators for now.

Unemployment is still skyrocketing:

The CDC has combined PCR and serology testing data in an error that, for one, distorts metrics states use to plan their reopening policies. Current infections need to be tracked separately from results of those who have ever been infected. Different states are reporting data differently and this is also problematic.

Is it safe to swim? There’s no evidence to say that is isn’t. Chlorine in pools should theoretically be strong enough to kill live virus. I’d say to stay cautious—live virus has been cultured from stool and urine, and we know that infection through the fecal-oral route is likely possible. A common-sense recommendation: don’t swim in ocean areas that issue rain warnings (like in Southern California) because the sewer contamination could be more dangerous than usual. Chlorinated pools might be alright, but not if you’re breaking social distancing to do it.

An argument against immunity passports:

Iranian health care workers are getting decimated:

High intensity interval training and COVID-19–a love story:

UN Food and Agriculture Organization resources and FAQs.

Universal Orlando plans to reopen June 1. Meanwhile, Florida gained 1,200 cases today:

Restaurant workers feel they’re being treated as disposable.  They’re not alone. Grocery and other essential workers share the sentiment.