Coronavirus Tidbits #99 11/29/20

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

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


Outrageous, unscientific, and unsurprising decision from the stacked Supremes, undermining public health during the middle of a pandemic:

Supreme Court on 5-4 vote blocks NY Gov. Cuomo from reimposing strict capacity caps on Catholic churches and synagogues that sued. Barrett joins conservative wing in majority; Roberts joins liberals in dissent.

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Thoughtful perspective from Pope Francis

Pope Francis: “…

With some exceptions, governments have made great efforts to put the well-being of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives. The exceptions have been some governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences. But most governments acted responsibly, imposing strict measures to contain the outbreak.

Yet some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom! Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate.

It is all too easy for some to take an idea — in this case, for example, personal freedom — and turn it into an ideology, creating a prism through which they judge everything…

…We cannot return to the false securities of the political and economic systems we had before the crisis. We need economies that give to all access to the fruits of creation, to the basic needs of life: to land, lodging and labor. We need a politics that can integrate and dialogue with the poor, the excluded and the vulnerable, that gives people a say in the decisions that affect their lives. We need to slow down, take stock and design better ways of living together on this earth.”

Sadly ironic how the Catholics on the Supremes are demonstrating the antithesis of what their Pope counsels.

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still an incredible, negligent lack of testing.

For those who like gifs, an explanation of RT-PCR by Ian Mackay starts here:


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A reasonable response to AstraZeneca’s hype:

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Interesting hypothesis from Eli Perencevich:

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Convalescent #Plasma Flops for Severe #COVID19 — Randomized trial finds no benefit in clinical status or mortality vs placebo



Courtesy of Republicans and anti-maskers:

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Pew Research Center study in August found a 16-point gap between Democrats and Republicans on wearing masks in public settings.

Mask defiance remains strong in Big Sky Country, even as the pandemic rages

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New study from Linsey Marr

Preprint now at… Take-home: Cloth masks are not an N95, but they work reasonably well for aerosols 1-2 microns and larger, which is the size that we think mostly mediates transmission.

For better performance, we recommend 3-layer mask w/ outer layers of tightly woven fabric + inner layer of something designed to filter aerosols. Should produce overall efficiency of >70% at the most penetrating particle size and >90% for >1 micron if the mask fits well. /5

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COVID’s collateral damage: Germicidal lamps may damage corneas

In a paper published in the journal of Ocular Immunology and Inflammation – reported that several patients using germicidal lamps in an attempt to sanitize against the coronavirus, developed painful inflammation of the cornea, a condition called photokeratitis. These consumer-available ultraviolet (UV) emitting devices were being used in an attempt to eliminate coronavirus from homes and offices.

Epidemiology/Infection control:

Study from Hunan:

Transmission risk: Authors found household contacts at highest risk, then extended family, then social and community contacts. Healthcare contacts were lowest risk.

Presymptomatic spread: They estimate that 63% of transmission came before symptoms. “Notably, we find that #SARSCoV2 infectiousness peaks slightly before symptom onset (-0.1 days on average), with 87% of the overall infectiousness concentrated within ±5 days of symptom onset and 53% of the overall infectiousness in the pre-symptomatic phase.”

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South Dakota hits COVID milestone: 1 out of every 1,000 residents dead.

Same in Illinois: 1/1000 dead.

North Dakota 1/850 residents has died.

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Thread: (starts here)

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Culture Shock: Why New Zealand’s Response to COVID-19 Worked


Tips, general reading for public:


Wash your hands.

Rinse and repeat.


The PA Supreme Court has dismissed the suit –with prejudice– that was attempting to throw out the votes of 2.5 million Pennsylvanians and halt certification.

“It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters. Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear.” – Justice Wecht, PA Supreme Court

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Feel good du jour:

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Some of the comments are pretty funny, albeit snarky.

Comic relief:

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Bits of beauty:

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