For the time being, generic drugs could prove helpful to those battling Covid-19. Blood from recovered patients is also promising, though getting it to those in need is a challenge. And AI is being used to accelerate everything from diagnosis to drug discovery. Most of all, it’s important to remember that finding treatments take time and there are a lot of dubious theories circulating online. Whatever you do, please don’t try drinking bleach.
Meanwhile, hospitals are redesigning their facilities and retooling readily available devices to accommodate the huge influx of Covid-19 patients. Elsewhere, engineers and manufacturers are racing to make more ventilators and PPE.
What to do if you or a relative is ill
Epidemiology and Tracking
How Covid-19 spreads
We know that the virus is passed from person to person when someone coughs or sneezes, or when someone touches a surface it has landed on. But there’s still some uncertainty about how likely the virus is to spread through air and whether your risk of catching it is the same when you’re outdoors. Outbreaks spread exponentially at first but that rate slows over time, especially if additional measures are taken to flatten the curve. And some researchers are exploring the possibility that the virus could return seasonally like the common cold.
How other countries have handled it
Some countries have opted for a strict lockdown. Others, like South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, seemed to have squashed the curve early on thanks to widespread testing and tracing efforts. Though travellers coming from the US and Europe later spurred an increase of cases, there’s still a lot for the US to learn.
How coronavirus is being tracked
To build useful models and fully understand the coronavirus, we need to know how it has spread. Right now, lots of countries are either using smartphone apps and location data to track the spread of the virus or are working to put a contact tracing system in place. To mitigate concern that this contact tracing would be an infringement of privacy, companies like Apple and Google are collaborating on a Bluetooth-based system that would track coronavirus and notify people who have been exposed without surveilling users.
Beyond smartphones, some countries and workplaces have started using thermal cameras to detect potential fevers, and wearable devices and sewage surveillance may also prove helpful. And some city and state officials are skeptical about digital tracing, employing thousands of people to do the tracing instead.
How to stay entertained
From video games to streaming services, we’re living in the golden age of digital entertainment! You can cope with cabin fever by working out, meditating, or getting really into bread baking like everyone else on the internet. And if you’re really feeling ambitious, you can always do your taxes.
How to work from home
Even if you’re lucky enough to be working from home, staying productive out of the office is an adjustment. The right gear and a good internet connection make a world of difference. So does mastering the art of Zoom.
Keeping in touch with others
Staying social is important for staving off isolation while we’re all sheltering at home. A well-placed joke and sense of self-awareness can go a long way. And if you’re a parent, it’s worth noticing how this may be affecting your child or teenager differently.
Business and Economics
How the coronavirus is worsening inequality
As unemployment rates and death tolls still climb, it’s evident that this pandemic is affecting everyone. But the way it’s hitting some of America’s most vulnerable populations–children and patients without an internet connection at home, people without a home to shelter in, members of the Navajo Nation, incarcerated individuals–illuminates many of the chasms that divide society. It’s been particularly distressing to see the disease’s disproportionate impact on communities of color. And recently, it’s been distressing to see hot spots emerge in densely populated cities in poorer countries around the world.
How its changing different industries
From airlines to influencers, every industry will be changed by this pandemic. Those that have adapted quickly–whether that means taking your business online or placing robots on the assembly line–indicate that embracing technology may be necessary for survival. For essential businesses, this crisis has spurred new conversations about workers’ basic protections and benefits, like sick pay. As some businesses reopen, workers who fear returning face difficult decisions. And when those of us working remotely do return to the office, it likely won’t look the same. Some may never go back to the office at all.
How the pandemic might affect climate change
You’ve probably seen pictures of newly car-free city streets and unpolluted skies, but the pandemic’s effect on climate change hasn’t been uniformly positive. Single-use plastic is making a comeback, the government is rolling back emissions regulations, and the renewable energy industry is taking a serious hit. Coronavirus deaths tend to be higher in areas with worse air pollution. Not to mention, dealing with natural disasters is much harder when we’re also faced with a pandemic. As we head into wildfire and hurricane seasons, many are concerned.
What’s happening at the state level
Recently, more and more states have started reopening their economies, even as some businesses choose to stay shuttered. This comes at a time when some are protesting sheltering in place and others don’t even know they should be staying home. To coordinate decision making, states in the Midwest, Northeast, and West Coast have formed unprecedented regional alliances. Some states are also working on developing their own contact tracing apps.
What the federal government is doing
So far, the federal government has failed to speak with a unified voice, denying the very real toll of this pandemic rather than take decisive action to mitigate its effects. Despite expert advice to the contrary, the president has expressed his eagerness to get people back to work. This comes after the White House ignored warnings dating back years about the threat of a pandemic.
How the pandemic intersects with the recent protests
In recent weeks, people across the country–and the world–have taken to the streets to protest systemic racism and police brutality. In many ways, these protests and the coronavirus pandemic mirror each other. Covid-19 cases were on the rise before these protests began, but the tactics police are using on large crowds, like tear gas, may exacerbate the disease’s spread. If you’re planning to protest, we’ve put together a guide to help you stay safe.
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