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  • Debate on facial masks
  • Cats and coronavirus (#12)
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  • COVID drug in tests (#19)


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The Atlantic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many people are now overthinking things they never used to think about at all. Can you go outside? What if you’re walking downwind of another person? What if you’re stuck waiting at a crosswalk and someone is there? What if you’re going for a run, and another runner is heading toward you, and the sidewalk is narrow? Suddenly, daily mundanities seem to demand strategy.


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Many of the articles on this list deal with the subject of masks, whether to wear them, whether to mandate them. Here Ed Yong explores what the research says and the debates around it.

Science

When malaria researcher Nicholas White saw coronavirus infections picking up around the world 2 months ago, he immediately thought of the impact they could have on poorer countries. “In fragile health care systems, if you start knocking out a few nurses and doctors, the whole thing can collapse,” says White, who is based at Mahidol University in Bangkok. “So we realized that the priority would be to protect them.”


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The Conversation

Isolation, social distancing and extreme changes in daily life are hard now, but the United States also needs to be prepared for what may be an epidemic of clinical depression because of COVID-19.


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The Hindu

The story so far: With a nascent virus, SARS-CoV-2, causing a global pandemic, the scramble has been, so far, and will be for a time to come, to understand the virus. While it belongs to the coronavirus family — variants of which cause the common cold — scientists and health-care workers are trying to fathom the nature of the virus, its behaviour and patterns, and gain familiarity with the pathogen, hoping that it will give them a better handle on this pandemic.


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Nature

More than a dozen research groups worldwide have started analysing wastewater for the new coronavirus as a way to estimate the total number of infections in a community, given that most people will not be tested. The method could also be used to detect the coronavirus if it returns to communities, say scientists. So far, researchers have found traces of the virus in the Netherlands, the United States and Sweden.


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The Lancet

Since the first cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), were identified in China in December, 2019, we have witnessed increasing numbers of infections and associated deaths worldwide. Although the case fatality rate for SARS-CoV-2 infection (ie, the total number of deaths in patients positive for SARS-CoV-2 divided by the total number of people with a positive test) is not high, given the huge scale of the pandemic, the actual numbers of deaths are considerable.


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NPR

When researcher Josh Santarpia stands at the foot of a bed, taking measurements with a device that can detect tiny, invisible particles of mucus or saliva that come out of someone’s mouth and move through the air, he can tell whether the bedridden person is speaking or not just by looking at the read-out on his instrument.


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The Canadian Press

The ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic could get a boost if Canadians paid more attention to the relative humidity levels in public and private spaces, according to a growing body of international research. Doctors, scientists and engineers agree that sufficient indoor air moisture levels can have a powerful but little-understood effect on the transmission of airborne diseases. While the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is currently treated as one that’s transmitted through droplet infection rather than the air, research on exactly how it passes between humans is still underway.


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Nature

Is the coronavirus airborne? Experts can’t agree The World Health Organization says the evidence is not compelling, but scientists warn that gathering sufficient data could take years and cost lives. Dyani Lewis Search for this author in: Pub Med Nature.com Google Scholar


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The New York Times

BOSTON — I was not sure what to say. We were midway through one of the family update phone calls that have become our new reality in the visitor-free intensive-care unit when he paused. He had a question. Anything, I said. He spoke hesitantly. His wife had been on the ventilator for a few days now and he understood that these machines might be in short supply. He just wanted to make sure: Were we planning to take her ventilator away?


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The Conversation

Even though, for reasons not yet yet known, the mortality rate of COVID-19 in infants is lower compared to older people, they are still at risk of getting the disease. During this pandemic, in which health practitioners recommend physical distancing to avoid virus transmission, mothers may wonder whether they should continue to breastfeed their children.


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Scientific American

Scientists say it is unclear whether felines can spread the virus to people


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Many people are looking at how to keep their families safe, and that includes the non-human members as well. Here the Scientific American, before news of the tiger at the Bronx Zoo, looks at the issue.

Newshub (NZ)

Epidemiologist Sir David Skegg has questioned the Government’s definition of community transmission, saying without knowing exactly how many people have caught COVID-19 within the country it will be difficult to know when we can leave lockdown.


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Slate

A smart thermometer company says its data could help track COVID-19. There are reasons to be skeptical.


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New Statesman

A small community has defeated the disease, for now, by testing every single one of its citizens.


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Princeton University

Study could help inform the design of campaigns to enhance communication of accurate information during times of crisis


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Press Trust of India

‘Measures taken by countries to reduce the number of live animals in food markets can significantly reduce the risk of future disease outbreaks’


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American Association for Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA – An increased proportion of Indigenous American (IA) ancestry was associated with a greater incidence of HER2-positive breast cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


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Scientific American

Slated for human trials, EIDD-2801 could become the first pill for COVID-19


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Nature

When Neil Ferguson visited the heart of British government in London’s Downing Street, he was much closer to the COVID-19 pandemic than he realized. Ferguson, a mathematical epidemiologist at Imperial College London, briefed officials in mid-March on the latest results of his team’s computer models, which simulated the rapid spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 through the UK population. Less than 36 hours later, he announced on Twitter that he had a fever and a cough. A positive test followed. The disease-tracking scientist had become a data point in his own project.


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Medical research involves breakthroughs like vaccines and drugs, though simulations, which may have not gotten as much attention in the press before the current crisis, are also important. Here Nature does a deep dive into the models guiding the response.

MIT

When the Covid-19 crisis hit the United States this March, MIT neuroscientist Jill Crittenden wanted to help. One of her greatest concerns was the shortage of face masks, which are a key weapon for health care providers, frontline service workers, and the public to protect against respiratory transmission of Covid-19. For those caring for Covid-19 patients, face masks that provide a near-100 percent seal are essential. These critical pieces of equipment, called N95 masks, are now scarce, and health-care workers are now faced with reusing potentially contaminated masks.


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Vox

Covid-19 deaths in the US have risen dramatically, and experts warn the coming days and weeks will be extremely grim. “This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Fox News Sunday.


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Associated Press

NEW YORK — A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere, federal officials and the zoo said Sunday.


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Austrian Academy of Sciences

The first 21 SARS-CoV-2 genomes in Austria have now been completed and published within the scope of the “Mutational Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2” project recently launched by the Austrian Academy of Sciences in collaboration with the Medical University of Vienna. The project aims at sequencing 1,000 viral genomes obtained from Austrian patient-derived samples, in order to learn more about the molecular understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic and the causative pathogen. The project results will integrate Austrian viral genome data into a global map of SARS-CoV-2 mutations, which will help decipher the mutational dynamics underlying the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Wolters Kluwer

April 7, 2020 – People living with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk of depressive disorders. But all too often, these conditions go unrecognized or untreated, suggests a literature review in the May/June issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.


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