Coronavirus Tidbits # 24 3-30-20

Quick links

Coronavirus Tidbits #24  


My new post

How Much Should You Worry About Your Pets?

A Cat Was Confirmed To Be Infected With COVID19 By Its Owner

~ ~ ~

From Orban to Kaczynski, Wannabe Autocrats Love the Pandemic

In Hungary and Poland — as in Israel and elsewhere — liberty suddenly seems cheap. Even in a pandemic, it shouldn’t be.
Hungarian legislature adopted an “empowerment law” (which sounds very much like the 1930’s “enabling act” which led to Hitler’s rise. Orban can now rule by decree, with no limits–indefinitely. 
It is an appalling story, done in the name of the coronavirus emergency. I wonder how many wannabe dictators will follow suit. He has extensive new powers including imprisoning people for “distorting” facts.
The author, Andreas Kluth, says Poland and Hungary are providing a user’s manual for such takeovers, a “coronavirus coup.” He says Bibi, Cambodian PM, India’s Modi, and Brazil are following suit. Hungary and Poland have also stacked the court with loyalists who will presumably support their moves, and the EU can’t punish them w/o unanimity. Sounds all too familiar, and is indeed quite chilling news. I’ve been long waiting for similar moves here.
~ ~ ~

Maryland prison system confirms first coronavirus cases

One inmate and two non-correctional contract employees at two different facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, defense attorneys, medical professionals and others have called for Gov. Larry Hogan to release certain older, immunocompromised and parole-eligible prisoners. More than 200 Johns Hopkins University public health faculty and staff penned a letter last week.

I wrote about my similar concerns re immigrant detainees here.

~ ~ ~

LA just “happened” to receive broken ventilators. I’m curious what happened.

~ ~ ~

A message to the public from doctors, nurses, and ethicists about the coronavirus

They, like the Washington Post before them, want you to know that if we can’t “flatten the curve,” that instead of the too frequent sense of entitlement we see among patients and families, expecting unlimited resources, the reality is that there will be tough decisions about what level of care will be given and there will be “rationing” of care. 


Very preliminary study (only 53 pts, but interesting) of artificial intelligence: the new AI tool found that changes in three features — levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT), reported myalgia (muscle pain), and hemoglobin levels — were most accurately predictive of subsequent, severe disease. Together with other factors, the team reported being able to predict risk of ARDS (severe respiratory failure) with up to 80 percent accuracy.


nothing new


Taxpayers Paid Millions (via DHHS’ BARDA) to Design a Low-Cost Ventilator, Trilogy Evo, for a Pandemic.

Instead, the Royal Phillips NV Company Is Selling Versions of It Overseas. (BARDA is the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, working here in a public-private partnership w Phillips.) via ProPublica

~ ~  ~

MIT-based team works on rapid deployment of open-source, low-cost ventilator

Epidemiology/Infection control:

A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead

“The choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.”

~ ~ ~

Patients with negative pharyngeal COVID-19 tests may still have virus.

sputum samples remained positive for up to 39 days and fecal samples remained positive for up to 13 days after the negative follow-up pharyngeal sample was obtained.

it is not currently known whether SARS-CoV-2 detected in sputum and fecal samples is infectious

Chen C, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2020;doi:10.7326/M20-0991.

Tips, general reading for public:

Ask your grocery market about this: Why not make aisles ONE WAY so that social distancing is much easier? from @cgerrish

Masks: Sound advice on home-made masks from an expert:

“people are giving in to the anecdotal observations and ignoring science so I am telling people this for now. – be humane and reserve the mask for the first line people who are risking their lives for all of us. Science shows use of mask in their setting saves lives. If you have symptoms stay at home as much as you possibly can. If you must go out then wear a mask if you can find one.

If you are going to wear your homemade masks or if you are going to waste a survival mask that could save a live in a healthcare setting then at least understand how wearing it improperly can make you sick. Studies have shown you are likely to contaminate yourself with the mask. Full stop. But here are the most common mistakes.

– touching the mask without washing your hands – this includes every time you adjust it. Every single time unless you stop right at that moment and properly clean your hands.

– as soon a you wear it into any location where there are people or have recently been people, there is a likelihood you will have contaminated the mask walking into the droplets and microdroplets they are dispersing and have left dispersed from sneezing, coughing and even talking. The mask can actually act to gather the droplets.

– Before you enter your home remove the mask do not take it into your home and do not wear it again until it has been washed in detergent and heat dried.

– Assume your hands are contaminated as soon as they touch the mask you have been wearing.

– if you intend to wear them or advise people to wear them, make certain you explain to them the risks and urge them to think critically about all the contamination points the average person just does not understand. Too many people have visions of shows wear doctors and nurses walk around with masks lowered around their necks. I cringe every time I see one.”


I’ve had 2 recent interviews on conservative news stations.

The most recent was last week on Michigan’s Steve Gruber show. While we are diametrically opposed on most everything, we had a reasonable exchange. You can hear it here. Topics were our antibiotic supply chain and coronavirus. The former was based on an article I wrote: Fragile Antibiotic Supply Chain Causes Shortages And Is A National Security Threat.

You might also enjoy my interview with Kristi Slaughter, of SuperTalk 92.9 FM, who kindly had me on to talk about my family’s history, ResilienceShe asked if I saw any parallels between now and the 1930’s. You can here that interview here. 

We had a more recent discussion, but I don’t have a link for that yet.

~ ~ ~

While I am not a Biden fan, this ad is worth watching as Trump denies help to New York, California, and Michigan:

~ ~ ~

More on foreign medical doctors not being allowed to work because of bureaucracy hereSo colossally stupid when hospitals can use all the help they can get.

Feel good du jour:

Southwest Airlines photo of health care workers flying to New York is what we need right now

Comic relief:

This story was pretty funny. Here is the full version.

~ ~ ~

Thirty days hath September,  April, June, and November, all the rest have thirty-one…

Except March which has 8000


Throughout history world has faced series great crises. In the aftermath there is always a choice. Do we seek to apportion blame, exact reparations & become ever more polarised? Or do we seek to come together & refashion a more collective, cohesive world? We will face such a choice.

Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust

Bits of beauty:

Today’s bits of beauty is generously shared by my friend Pat Cotter.

Share this post:


  • Arthur Benett Shostak

    As always, a wide array of diverse material of uniformly high quality. A stellar example of the BEST in social media, and one I hope gets carried forward in the A.C. period [After Corona], as we need such intelligent, humanistic, and empowering material.

    • Judy Stone

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I hope you will encourage others to sign up for the newsletter. It’s part of the “Politics and Science” blog. I try to provide a variety of material, but the facts are always curated and referenced rather than hype. People deserve the truth about what’s happening.

  • ccziv

    Had to laugh AND warn you not to put a hex on yourself: B’s 1st blog was called “Science and Politics.” It no longer exists, just sayin’. 😉