Coronavirus: What you should know

Jimmy Carter, a wonderful man, is trying to eradicate Human Guinea Worm disease. He has mostly succeeded but there are complications.

Interesting that Guinea worms may have been the fiery serpents that inflicted pain on the Israelites.

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Thought this podcast interesting since things continue to evolve on the subject. If you are familiar with ZDogg, he puts out some informative and funny stuff.

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Interesting and quite alarming. I’m afraid the worst case scenario I sketched above is starting to look pretty optimistic. I think it would be a good idea to pray really hard that this outbreak turns out to be seasonal, since we’re currently fumbling the challenge quite badly, especially here in the US.

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I along with a friend who works for Merck will being meeting with out pastor to implications relating to the church and its programs. My friend is saying they are taking it very seriously, with only mission critical travel,allowed, cancelled meetings and everyone who can working online. A concern is church mission trips with a big youth spring break mission trip planned in a week, and a big church function planned in early June.
Any thoughts as to how your local churches are handling activities?

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That’s not selfish. It’s groupish.

I haven’t heard that we’ve changed anything yet, but we’re a small-town church and the virus isn’t “officially” in our state yet. I’ve attended a birthday party, funeral, church service, and potluck over the past 2 days. On the other hand, the parents of some of the kids my husband tutors have decided they’re taking a break from even sending their kids to our house for lessons – so it depends who’s making the decisions.

New piece on CoV from Seattle-ite biochemist, Ben McFarland.

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This article has lots of math, graphs, and models, which helped me appreciate the scope of the problem and the effect of earlier social distancing.

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Yeah, I’ve seen that. It’s a, um, bracing read.

I recall a fire safety class at a previous job. Early on, the instructor said, “If you’re ever in a fire, your first instinct will be to panic and run. . . Go with that.”

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I just got an email from our director (here in Mexico) saying that all upcoming meetings and workshops are cancelled, everyone should work from home, avoid travel and public transportation, and only spend time in public for essential things like grocery shopping and doctor appointments. Nobody really believes that there are only 12 cases in the country, but there has been no news yet of any cases in this state. The government has only tested 278 people, isn’t screening people at airports, and has taken no steps to limit large group gatherings. I’m pretty sure things are going to be a total mess in a couple weeks. But in the meantime, no shortages of toilet paper here.

Maybe you’ll be lucky and warmer weather there will keep from spreading too much.

How warm is warm? It’s 53-79 F here, because of the elevation. Similar temps in Mexico City where most of the cases are.

Some of the graphs in that article reminded me of peaking in on qPCR runs:

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That early rise giving way to exponential growth is all too familiar. The success China has had with social distancing gives me hope, but the real question is the level of compliance in Western countries. I guess there are some positives that come with authoritarian governments.

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From my anthropology perspective, I think one interesting thing that may come out of this are some good studies on how things play out in collectivist versus individualistic cultures. The countries that have seemed to have more successfully tamped down on things (China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong) are oriented pretty collectivist and don’t have any problem using shame to motivate people. There were billboards in China that essentially said, “If you are sick and don’t stay in quarantine, you are a horrible person and an utter disgrace. If you fail to report people who don’t stay in quarantine, you are no better.”

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Shame based motivation…interesting. It would be neat to compare and contrast that influence among societies.

I don’t think anyone knows. High relative humidity may matter, too. It does for at least one other coronavirus, although not in a simple way. High humidity at high(ish) temperature decreased viability of the virus, while high humidity at low temps increased it. Experiments like that won’t tell you what will happen with transmission between living hosts, though.

I’ve noticed a lot of religious nutcases coming out of the woodwork with false prophesies and the like. And behold! Missouri Sues Televangelist Jim Bakker For Selling Fake Coronavirus Cure.

My area has been deeply affected. I’m not allowed to visit my 97-year-old father in his nursing home because the virus would take him out right away. Local libraries, schools, colleges, are closed. Most educational institutions are transitioning to online instruction. Our library is having a presentation on Friday on the virus, but it’s via the internet only!

In the stores, and sanitizer, toilet paper(!), bottled water, and cleaners are disappearing from the shelves as people hoard stuff in a panic worthy of a zombie apocalypse. People are being encouraged to work from home if possible. In Grand Central Terminal, the usual announcements about suspicious packages and track changes include new instructions about washing your hands, not touching your face, etc. Lotsa big changes in cultural institutions, including churches. There are new rules on how we do the passing of the peace (no handshakes), and communion. And the changes are still developing. NYC just outlawed gatherings of 500+ people.

And you know, while our lives are disrupted, I feel that those in charge are handling things very responsibly. (And the religious nuts and hoarders should be ashamed themselves.)

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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