Coronavirus Tidbits #29 4-7-20


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. I have been immersed in it 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.


Trump removes inspector general who was to oversee $2 trillion stimulus spending

Today, it was Glenn Fine, a career official who has served Republican and Democratic presidents. He is eliminating any attempt at oversight.

"On Friday, the president notified Congress that he was removing Michael Atkinson as the inspector general of the intelligence community — a decision that Trump acknowledged was in response to Atkinson’s having alerted lawmakers to the existence of a whistleblower complaint about the president’s dealings with Ukraine."

MD Gov. Hogan announces ‘strike teams’ for responding to coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes

They will oversee testing and guide efforts to separate exposed residents and staff from others; provide logistics support and equipment while helping to triage patients who are believed to have been exposed; and bring medical supplies and workers directly to the facilities to help avoid unnecessary transfers of patients to local hospitals.

Great to see Hogan being proactive on many levels. Note in article that they are still stymied in their response by lack of test kits.

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Border wall construction and planning continues despite COVID-19. *Each mile* of wall costs somewhere north of $20 million. And significantly more than that in mountainous areas. Imagine how much that money could help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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Singer John Prine died of COVID19. Wrote Paradise, among others.

Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.


still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

Drugs, Devices

nothing new

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Bad news for herd immunity and vaccines

About 30 per cent of patients failed to develop high titers of neutralising antibodies after Covid-19 infection. However, the disease duration of these patients compared to others was similar," they said.

The team also found that antibody levels rose with age, with people in the 60-85 age group displaying more than three times the amount of antibodies as people in the 15-39 age group.
The low amounts of antibodies could affect herd immunity, resistance to the disease among the general population to stop its spread."
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Under-counting the dead in NYC, or "How to Lie With Statistics." An estimated additional 180 - 195 deaths per day occurring at home in New York City due to COVID-19 are not being counted in the official figures. "Early on in this crisis we were able to swab people who died at home, and thus got a coronavirus reading. But those days are long gone. We simply don't have the testing capacity for the large numbers dying at home. Now only those few who had a test confirmation *before* dying are marked as victims of coronavirus on their death certificate. This almost certainly means we are undercounting the total number of victims of this pandemic," said Mark Levine, Chair of New York City Council health committee
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What must states have in place before easing distancing policies?

Sustained reduction in cases;

Hospitals able to treat all patients with best standard of care;

Able to test all people with symptoms;

Able to conduct active monitoring of cases and contacts.

From Scott Gottlieb, Caitlyn Rivers and others at American Enterprise Institute

Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.

Good little video reminders:



For Kids questions: Coronacast podcast

This St. Jude's Children's Hospital's site also has a coloring book and an activity book
Also: talking to kids about Coronavirus:


On the refusal to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin:

President Trump: "I think mail-in voting is horrible, it's corrupt."

@carolelee: "You voted by mail in Florida's election last month, didn't you?"
Lee: "How do you reconcile with that?"
Trump: "Because I'm allowed to."

Feel good du jour:

Universities are increasingly volunteering empty dormitories for use by health-care workers and first responders who don't want to expose their families to infection.

Comic relief:

A certain irony: A zoo has been trying to get two pandas to mate for 10 years. When coronavirus shut the zoo down, the pandas finally did.

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I'll share a funny memory and slightly embarrassing photo for this special Pesach memory.

Daughter Heather was very much involved with musical theater from the time she was seven and was the youngest cast member in Music Man. I still remember my dismay that I ironed her dress for every show and told her to remember that--it would likely never happen again.

Fast forward...I began taking singing lessons with her and joined the cast in a couple of shows. I would have done anything to be with the kids when I could.

Many years ago, Heather was Louisa in 'Sound of Music.' I tried out and was cast as one of the singing nuns. I had the lowest range...It was very hot back stage in those heavy habits, so part of my role was comic relief. I would always hitch up my habit, revealing something different and outrageous underneath. I liked the Elmo slippers, but this snapshot of Sister Merry Matzoh was captured by a friend, on my birthday, and Pesach...being a singing nun.

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This is a beautifully shot video for World Health Day:

Bits of beauty:

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