Coronavirus Tidbits #51 5/25/20


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.

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

My latest post, a response to Trump's insistence that churches reopen, although they are dangerous

A Stairway To Heaven? Reopening Churches And Coronavirus


Horrifying and dangerously stupid:

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What Happened to Kroger’s “Hero Pay”?

Workers at the grocery chain are being asked to return emergency pay, even as company revenue and stock prices climb upward.


still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.


WHO Halts Hydroxychloroquine Trial Over Safety Concerns

because of Lancet report that found increased cardiac deaths in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine.

WHO will review their own data and decide how to proceed.

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A quarter of Americans are hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine

Some 36% of respondents said they would be less willing to take a vaccine if U.S. President Donald Trump said it was safe, compared with only 14% who would be more interested.

Among those respondents who expressed little or no interest in a coronavirus vaccine, nearly half said they were worried about the speed with which they are being developed.

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The world needs Covid-19 vaccines. It may also be overestimating their power

The vaccine likely would only prevent severe disease and perhaps reduce transmission...but like influenza, will not likely eradicate disease.

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Cuba credits two drugs with slashing coronavirus death toll

One is itolizumab, a monoclonal antibody produced in Cuba and elsewhere. The other is a peptide that Cuba says its biotech industry discovered and has been testing for rheumatoid arthritis in Phase II clinical trials.

But Cuba’s experimental treatments have helped it achieve an overall COVID-19 death rate of 4.2%, compared with the regional and global averages of 5.9% and 6.6%, respectively, health authorities say.

Official data suggests that Cuba, with universal healthcare and a well-staffed care system, has done well in containing its outbreak. It has registered less than 20 cases per day over the past week, down from a peak of 50 to 60 in mid-April. In total, Cuba has reported 1,916 cases for a population of 11 million and 81 death.

That translates to an infection rate 0.71 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with about 29 per 100,000 for the United States, according to a John’s Hopkins University tally.

Swift action helped Cuba contain its outbreak. After closing borders, schools and public transportation in March, Cuba urged residents to stay home, made wearing of masks obligatory, and employed effective contact tracing to curb the virus spread.


The Feds Gave a Former White House Official $3 Million to Supply Masks to Navajo Hospitals. Some May Not Work.

Zach Fuentes, former deputy chief of staff to President Trump, won the contract just days after registering his company. He sold Chinese masks to the government just as federal regulators were scrutinizing foreign-made equipment.

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You can also hear about Sarah Little Turnbull here.

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More on what materials to use for MASKS

We have carried out these studies for several common fabrics including cotton, silk, chiffon, flannel, various synthetics, and their combinations. Although the filtration efficiencies for various fabrics when a single layer was used ranged from 5 to 80% and 5 to 95% for particle sizes of <300 nm and >300 nm, respectively, the efficiencies improved when multiple layers were used and when using a specific combination of different fabrics. Filtration efficiencies of the hybrids (such as cotton–silk, cotton–chiffon, cotton–flannel) was >80% (for particles <300 nm) and >90% (for particles >300 nm). We speculate that the enhanced performance of the hybrids is likely due to the combined effect of mechanical and electrostatic-based filtration. Cotton, the most widely used material for cloth masks performs better at higher weave densities (i.e., thread count) and can make a significant difference in filtration efficiencies. Our studies also imply that gaps (as caused by an improper fit of the mask) can result in over a 60% decrease in the filtration efficiency,

Epidemiology/Infection control:

In the developing world, the coronavirus is killing far more young people

In Brazil, 15 percent of deaths have been people under 50 — a rate more than 10 times greater than in Italy or Spain. In Mexico, the trend is even more stark: Nearly one-fourth of the dead have been between 25 and 49. In India, officials reported this month that nearly half of the dead were younger than 60. In Rio de Janeiro state, more than two-thirds of hospitalizations are for people younger than 49...

When newly infected coronavirus patients already weakened by preexisting conditions seek treatment, they find hospital systems that are overwhelmed and unequipped to handle the deluge of patients.

“It all points to social economic status and poverty,” Gray Molina said. The positive benefits associated with the developing world — such as younger populations — are being “wiped out.”

In countries with more poverty and fewer resources, people who might have survived elsewhere are instead dying.

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Major problem coming:

WHO warns millions of children at risk as Covid-19 pandemic disrupts routine vaccinations

Vaccine campaigns have been disrupted in at least 68 countries. The interruptions could affect 80 million children under 1 year old in those countries.

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Polio Is Nearly Wiped Out. Covid-19 Could Halt That Progress

The disease once paralyzed 350,000 children each year; vaccination campaigns brought it down to just a few hundred cases. Then, the pandemic struck.
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One final viral infusion: Trump’s move to block travel from Europe triggered chaos and a surge of passengers from the outbreak’s center

Trump botched Oval address announcing Europe travel restrictions, leading many US citizens to believe they were about to be locked out of country. Air travel surged – from 30K on 3/11 to 45K on 3/12. Many carried infection, reentered country w/ no medical checks.

As Trump spoke from Oval, panic swept thru United Flight 989 departing Dulles. Passengers demanded to get off, fearing they would be barred from return to US. Nearly every American on the Frankfurt flight deplaned. One flight attendant got off plane for first time in 21 yrs.

Trump blamed Kushner for Oval debacle. Kushner helped draft speech and wouldn’t share copy with DHS, HHS, CDC or any other agency that had to execute order. Administration spent hours issuing tweets and statements to fix Trump errors.

Dep NSA Matt Pottinger & others pushed in Feb. to close off travel from Europe, saying once virus got there it would go “whoosh.” But he was blocked by Mnuchin and others. Infected travelers flowed in for weeks.

thread at

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More on advantages of Face Shields

Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.


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Deborah Birx is a colossal disappointment; she had a good reputation for dealing with HIV. Now shows shameless pandering

Birx: You can't tell who has the virus and many people don't show symptoms. Also Birx: People who don't feel well won't go to church.

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Why are these people not in jail?

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Feel good du jour:

On the way to the store, a mask giveaway to protect African Americans from coronavirus

MINNEAPOLIS — The volunteers gather every Saturday in a grocery store parking lot on the north side of town. They start with a pastor and a prayer, then set up their tables and bring out their bags of homemade masks and bottles of hand sanitizer. For the next few hours, they'll offer both for no charge to shoppers and passing cars.

Theirs is a mission to save lives, but it’s also a self-help movement. The black community here, like African American communities in cities nationwide, is being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. And some people have decided that they can’t wait for others to come to the rescue.

“The concept of social distance is in itself a privilege. To be able to socially distance, you have to be able to have access to resources,”

Comic relief:


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Interesting sounding read:

Robin Wall Kimmerer: Braiding Sweetgrass

'People can’t understand the world as a gift unless someone shows them how'

Bits of beauty:


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