Science reports: Japan yesterday declared at least a temporary victory in its battle with COVID-19, and it triumphed by following its own playbook. It drove down the number of daily new cases to near target levels of 0.5 per 100,000 people with voluntary and not very restrictive social distancing and without large-scale testing. Instead, the country focused on finding clusters of infections and attacking the underlying causes, which often proved
Science reports: One morning in mid-May, Nasim Qureshi suddenly developed a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Qureshi, a member of Mumbai, India’s street vendor union, rushed to a small private hospital, where doctors gave him a check up but refused to admit him. Later the same day, he was turned away from two more hospitals before he finally found a bed at a municipal hospital. By then, his breathing
The Washington Post reports: There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away. Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population. Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox. It is a daunting proposition — a coronavirus-tinged world without a foreseeable end. But experts in epidemiology,
By Katherine Harmon Courage, Knowable Magazine, May 26, 2020 With many states and towns lifting strict stay-at-home orders, people are faced with a growing number of new decisions. Mundane logistical questions — Should I go get my hair cut? When can I picnic with friends? What should I wear to the hardware store? — during the Covid-19 pandemic carry implications for personal and public health, in some cases life-or-death ones.
Dishonest Elections Project: Conservative group fighting to restrict voting tied to powerful dark money network
The Guardian reports: A powerful new conservative organization fighting to restrict voting in the 2020 presidential election is really just a rebranded group that is part of a dark money network already helping Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to remake the US federal judiciary, the Guardian and OpenSecrets reveal. The organization, which calls itself the Honest Elections Project, seemed to emerge out of nowhere a few months ago and started stoking
Mark Lilla writes: The best prophet, Thomas Hobbes once wrote, is the best guesser. That would seem to be the last word on our capacity to predict the future: We can’t. But it is a truth humans have never been able to accept. People facing immediate danger want to hear an authoritative voice they can draw assurance from; they want to be told what will occur, how they should prepare,
New research rewrites history of when Covid-19 arrived in U.S. — pointing to missed chances to stop it
Helen Branswell writes: New research has poured cold water on the theory that the Covid-19 outbreak in Washington state — the country’s first — was triggered by the very first confirmed case of the infection in the country. Instead, it suggests the person who ignited the first chain of sustained transmission in the United States probably returned to the country in mid-February, a month later. The work adds to evidence
Doug Gordon writes: As the Covid-19 crisis wears on, a surprising tool has emerged in the effort to slow transmission: city streets. The car has long been king in America’s cities, with spacious roadways edged by narrow sidewalks. But with many sidewalks barely large enough for the six feet required for social distancing purposes, urban residents now find themselves struggling to comply with regulations during even a brief grocery trip.
Business Insider reports: Facebook had evidence suggesting that the company’s algorithms encourage polarization and “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” but top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg killed or weakened proposed solutions, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The effort to better understand Facebook’s impact on user behavior started in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and its internal researchers determined that, contrary to the company’s mission of connecting
The New York Times reports: Two former British marines piloted their boats, a pair of military-grade inflatables, across the Mediterranean from Malta. Six helicopters were flown in from Botswana using falsified papers. The rest of the team — soldiers of fortune from South Africa, Britain, Australia and the United States — arrived from a staging area in Jordan. To anyone who asked, the mercenaries who slipped into the war-pocked port