Coronavirus Tidbits # 28 4-4 to 4-6-20


First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I'm getting.

Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. The technical aspects of learning this are wearing... I have been immersed in preparing it and reading about coronavirus, and I need to spend a little more time on self-care, which for me means seeing the spring flowers emerge and digging in the dirt. Pesach is always a bit rough anyway, so I will turn to more nature.

Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don't be shy about that.


I had an interview for #Baltimore @JewishTimes:  Infectious Disease Specialist Answers Common Questions About #COVID19…/specialist-answers-covi…/covid-19/

The key message is later in the interview, where I shared with host Carolyn Conte how I learned from my family how unexpected kindnesses helped save some of their lives. If people could help each other like that under such desperate conditions in the ghetto, concentration camps, and death marches, surely we could be doing more now.

#MutualAid #kindness #resilience #caring #Holocaust

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By a 5–4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court just approved a brazen act of voter suppression, allowing Wisconsin Republicans to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to suppress tens of thousands of votes, by reversing a lower court order extending the deadline for mail-in ballots in Wisconsin. All four liberals dissent.

RBG: "The Court’s order, I fear, will result in massive disenfranchisement. A voter cannot deliver for postmarking a ballot she has not received. Yet tens of thousands of voters who timely requested ballots are unlikely to receive them by April 7, the Court’s postmark deadline."

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Dr. Fauci disagrees with Trump's promotion and posture on hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, since what Trump and Navarro are saying is based on no good evidence. Trump shuts down a reporter when he tries to ask Fauci directly.

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Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who was fired last week for having tried to protect his crew, is now himself ill with COVID-19.

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My latest post for Forbes, "Nadia, A Tiger At The Bronx Zoo, Is Ill With COVID-19," is up.

Several people have expressed anger and frustration that a tiger was tested when people who are ill still can't get tests. I get it.

Here's why the one tiger was tested -- it's important to know if the virus is jumping to other species, and to which. If cats are infected but dogs aren't, that gives clues to our understanding, for example.

Frankly, I don't believe we should be testing ill people now, but should assume that they have COVID-19 if influenza and other common respiratory viruses are ruled out. Instead, I believe we should be testing asymptomatic people in the community to get a better sense of the spread of disease and learn about the epidemiology.


see new info in my new section, COVID-19 Resources.

Remember: WHO's Dr. Tedros summed the issue: " Masks alone cannot stop the #covid19 pandemic.” Countries should (repeat with me): "find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact."

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There is a growing bidding war and power play over ventilators and PPE.

US accused of 'modern piracy' after diversion of masks meant for Europe, and outbidding other countries in the increasingly fraught global market for coronavirus protective equipment.

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States still allowing religious exemptions threaten public health. Here they are:

Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis went so far as to describe religious services as essential, and another order that overrides any localities’ conflicting guidelines.

And stupid Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia is allowing beaches to be open rather than a strict Stay At Home order.

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Voting by mail is problematic: Some are viewing it as a Democratic plot, some saying there is not enough time and money to redo the system now. Others (e.g. Wisconsin and NC) appear to be using this to suppress the vote. In North Carolina, you have to have two people or a notary to witness you fill out your absentee ballot. Wisconsin Republicans blocked a proposal that would allow the state to mail absentee ballots to all registered voters.

GA House Speaker David Ralston comes right out and says he doesn’t want every voter to receive an absentee ballot application because it would hurt Republicans

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Andy Slavitt has a thought provoking thread hereKey points:

NYC's biggest problem at the moment is not ventilators.

NYC is desperate for RNs, nurse practitioners & especially respiratory therapists.

They will fly people, put them up at a hotel, and pay them big sums ( 6-8x traditional salaries). They also have sufficient PPE for people willing to do it.

If anyone is interested here is an intake form: Or contact @AndrewSchwabDC at @USofCare

In many locations, nurses are getting furloughed & laid off as they eliminated elective procedures. These folks need money. And some would gladly go to NY.

I suggested that they organize a nurses and therapists brigade to go from place to place.

Go through professional organizations (like RNs or Respiratory Therapists). This avoids the middleman of staffing companies, which take a very large cut. [Why have the middleman profit?]

~ ~ ~ of the hospital leaders said...their no show rate had skyrocketed in COVID wings. I asked if it was because of PPE? No. Illness? No.

The answer...27/
“No one is supposed to see that much death.”

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The death rate will be disproportionate in low-income, older populations with chronic conditions. So in New York, a group formed— The New York City Rapid Response Coalition to serve & save at risk people.

They pulled 40 organizations together across NY to serve people & created a process & simple SMS based technology to reach out people to get them services. See








If we keep our seniors, sick & low-income neighbors safe, comfortable and well fed, we will dramatically kick down the death toll.

I’m going to say what I learned today:
-Help the hot spot cities while you can. They will help you.
-Prepare for all the bottlenecks that can come up. There are more than meet the eye. -Protect the people who need it.
-If we #StayHome we can help the most.


still an incredible, negligent last of testing.


Not ready for prime time, but great to see the Castleman's Disease Clinical Network using their resources to help in the fight against #COVID19 with #DrugRepurposing. Thanks to @DavidFajgenbaum and his team for their impressive work and for willingness to work with CURE ID and others. You can see a bit about them at to see cooperation rather than profiteering.

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About the ongoing feud between Fauci and Trump re hydroxychloroquine... and that widely touted French study, there is this today:

It even garnered a review in Retraction Watch.


Epidemiology/Infection control:

Good #dataviz via @Laurie_Garrett: When outbreaks start leaders say, "It's trivial. More people die of flu, of car crashes, of cancer.." as if that justifies lack of urgent concern. This interactive brilliantly shows how #COVID19 has compared to other causes of death over time.

Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.


What a great, reassuring speech by Queen Elizabeth yesterday. After thanking "everyone on the NHS frontline, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles," turning to "thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable."

Similarly, New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, shows a compassion and empathy for children that we can only dream of living to see again here.

Feel good du jour:

Sweet: Nancy Sims  @CopyrightLibn:
My cunning plan of taping masks to my garage for solid waste collection workers has netted me a thank you from the workers,
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Jamie Travers @JamieTravers reports:

Sikh charity Turbans 4 Australia are helping out those self-isolating.

They're delivering hot meals and hampers of essentials to the doorsteps of those unable to leave the house.

Comic relief:


Authoritarian Christians are deliberately undermining the public health response to coronavirus 

Another thought provoking article by Chrissy Stroop, one of my faves on Evangelicals and religious extremism.

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Quite the read about what is happening in India and the hate-mongering and class differences Modi is inflaming, by Arundhati Roy.

"If it were not masks and gloves that its frontline soldiers needed, but guns, smart bombs, bunker busters, submarines, fighter jets and nuclear bombs, would there be a shortage?"...

Bits of beauty:

courtesy Tim Skellett, @gurdur: Bee House

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