Coronavirus News Digest

"See you when the pandemic's over!"
"See you when the pandemic's over!"
Blue Planet Studio/iStock via Getty Images

The constant stream of information about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 can cause a lot of anxiety. Mental Floss created this semiweekly digest so you can peruse the news at your own pace—without feeling overwhelmed.

May 26, 2020

Coronavirus travel restrictions have trapped a Bolivian orchestra at a German palace since mid-March全天幸运飞艇数据网页。, CNN . When the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos left South America, Bolivia had registered no cases of COVID-19 and Germany was still accepting international flights. But days after their arrival, the musicians failed to get on one of the last flights out of Germany before Bolivia closed its borders. Since then, they’ve been staying in the guesthouse at , a rococo-style castle surrounded by picturesque grounds in northeastern Germany. We can think of worse places to be quarantined.

More cities and states are allowing certain business to reopen during the continuing coronavirus pandemic. The New York Times has a frequently updated, to the new rules.

Just FYI, rats are becoming more aggressive in their search for food. The Washington Post that the urban rodents全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 are having a hard time with bars and restaurants closed, since they’re not producing the garbage and food scraps the rats would normally feast upon. In extreme cases, rats are even turning to . Here are the CDC’s for keeping them away from your trash cans.

Speaking of nature, a new in Scientific American looks into how the environment will record the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent example, scientists examining Alpine ice cores discovered that the amount of lead pollution in the atmosphere decreased suddenly only once in 2000 years: between 1349 and 1353, when the Black Death engulfed Europe. In the future, tree rings and ice cores might show a remarkable in early 2020.

May 22, 2020

In two new studies published in the journal Science, researchers at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center report promising results in battling the new coronavirus. For the , nine rhesus macaques were exposed to the new coronavirus and came down with COVID-19. After they recovered, researchers again exposed them to the virus, and the monkeys did not get sick—suggesting that they developed antibodies that protected them from reinfection. In the , researchers gave six experimental vaccines to 25 monkeys, then exposed those animals and 10 control monkeys to the virus. The vaccinated subjects showed “a substantial degree of protection,” one of the researchers Reuters. Larger studies and human subjects will be the likely next step.

“Oh sh*t,” one virologist when she saw confirming the presence of infectious coronavirus particles in human poop. It gets worse: The study authors suggest that more research into “fecal-oral or fecal-respiratory transmission” of the coronavirus is warranted. And in a possibly related development, may present another problem for treating coronavirus-contaminated sewage.

Road trip in Arizona
Have mask, will travel.
Fabiomichelecapelli/iStock via Getty Images

Memorial Day Weekend is here, though it still seems like mid-March because time and space are meaningless now. If you happen to be planning a summer road trip for 2020, follow from The Washington Post, which suggest that vacations will be masked and sanitized for the foreseeable future. Here are a few more ideas.

Finally, if your summer vacation is going to be spent at home, check out these goods for a fun backyard movie night.

May 19, 2020

Remember the plight of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the naval aircraft carrier whose captain pleaded with authorities to rescue his coronavirus-infected crew? (And then the captain was , and then the guy who fired him was , and then the captain was rehired in a ?) It’s finally leaving port and heading back .

Speaking of aircraft, are planes safer than a car for travel these days? Medium to experts and finds that it really comes down to how tightly the vehicle is packed with non-related people.

And now that airlines and many other entities are requiring people to wear masks in public, you’ll need these for properly laundering your fabric face coverings.

Finally, a potential coronavirus vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Moderna has shown some in a preliminary test. The Phase 1 trial in eight volunteers showed the vaccine at low doses was safe for use, but did not gauge its effectiveness or final dosage. The New York Times that the participants had a strong immune reaction to the vaccine and produced antibodies. Much larger Phase 2 and 3 trials scheduled to begin the summer will evaluate the vaccine全天幸运飞艇数据网页。’s efficacy.

May 15, 2020

A French dairy trade group is cheese lovers in France to —basically, “let us act for cheese!”—to help farmers during the coronavirus pandemic. Citizens can do their part by scarfing down cheese from the regions of Saint-Nectaire, Reblochon, Cantal, and Camembert that would otherwise go to waste. BRB, moving to France …

Quarantine fatigue is sweeping the nation. Inverse about what this special type of fatigue looks like and offers some options for getting through it.

One way to battle quar exhaustion that seems to be working for us: Looking at these adorable baby animals born during the pandemic全天幸运飞艇数据网页。. CNN has the on a newborn zebra at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Florida, two at the Bronx Zoo, and baby bison at Custer State Park in South Dakota. Personally, I’m in love with Sami the porcupette and her mom, Samantha, who were rescued by workers at in April.

Apparently, a segment of the male population is not OK with wearing face masks, despite numerous cities and states mandating masks全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 in public to slow the spread of COVID-19 and statistics showing men are more susceptible to the disease. According to a non-peer-reviewed on PsyArXiv, men more than women were likely to view wearing a mask as “shameful, not cool, a sign of weakness, and a stigma.” You know what’s also a sign of weakness? Not being able to breathe because your lungs are filled with fluid!

And one more cautionary tale to take you into the weekend: a woman in Italy found out the hard way that drinking hand sanitizer does not protect you from coronavirus infection. The unnamed woman sipped two teaspoons of alcohol-based sanitizer every day for more than three weeks, then had to go to the emergency room for extreme abdominal pain. Doctors found “” to her digestive system. A better idea: wash your hands.

May 12, 2020

A new, free from Johns Hopkins University teaches the basics of contact tracing—which involves interviewing COVID-19 patients and determining whom they’ve been around. It’s one of the most important tools for stopping the spread of the new coronavirus. Once they’ve earned their certificate of course completion, students will be primed to apply for one of the thousands of contact tracer jobs in U.S. cities. The Washington Post全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 that up to 100,000 contact tracers will be required to fight the pandemic, with as many as 10,000 needed in New York City (and there, the gig pays $57,000 a year []).  

If you live in New York, Maryland, or another state that has required people to wear face coverings in public, perhaps you’ve noticed the extreme variety in mask styles—from surgical masks to bandanas to homemade masks to hazmat respirators. NBC has for choosing and buying a face mask, but the main thing to remember is that they won’t keep you completely safe from the new coronavirus. You still have wash your hands and practice social distancing if you need to leave home.

Healthcare workers hold orchids outside of a hospital
Maksim Axelrod, The Sill

Last week, houseplant boutique The Sill teamed up with and the orchid brand to donate 10,000 orchids to healthcare workers in New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital Network. Noting the mood-boosting power of plants, The Sill founder and CEO Eliza Blank said the gift is their way of thanking the city’s essential workers as well as celebrating Mother’s Day in the midst of a global crisis.

Certain segments of the internet have been over Dr. Anthony Fauci’s no-nonsense handling of the coronavirus crisis, but a steamy 1991 romance novel called was there first. Famed D.C. hostess and author Sally Quinn based her handsome NIH scientist who has an affair with the widowed first lady on Fauci, just as Fauci was at the NIH developing treatments for AIDS. Washingtonian has the .

Finally, as if it didn’t already feel like we’re living in a science fiction dystopia, check out the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

May 8, 2020

The FDA gave emergency-use approval to a new CRISPR-based test that can diagnose COVID-19 in one hour, much faster than the six to eight hours of some current tests, Emily Mullin in Medium. CRISPR is a gene-editing technology that uses a molecular “guide” to find and target DNA and remove it from its sequence. In the new test, developed by Sherlock Biosciences, the molecular guide is sent to find the novel coronavirus’s genetic signature in a nose or throat swab. If it locates the signature, the guide releases a signal indicating a positive result. Its developers say the test can be run using standard lab equipment. 

Last week, several news outlets reported some younger COVID-19 patients developing serious or even having strokes while being otherwise healthy. It turns out that blood clots may not be such an unusual symptom of infectious disease全天幸运飞艇数据网页。, Roxanne Khamsi in WIRED. As far back as 1903, physicians noted the presence of clogged blood vessels in people with typhoid fever or bacterial diseases. So why is it so surprising now in COVID-19 patients? “It may be on account of our success at treating such [bacterial] infections,” Khamsi says.   

The military is temporarily banning recruits who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 from joining any of the armed forces, according to a Pentagon memo by The New York Times全天幸运飞艇数据网页。. Military officials may reconsider the guidance in the future, once more facts are known about the virus’s long-term effects in patients.

Let’s end on a positive note, shall we? The World Naked Bike Ride will go on, despite the pandemic—at least in Portland, Oregon. While other cities have canceled the event, Portland’s organizers are to participate on June 27 while maintaining proper social distancing.

May 5, 2020

With so many families unable to visit loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes, some folks are getting creative with their means of connection全天幸运飞艇数据网页。. When his mother couldn’t visit her 95-year-old father in a Toronto hospital, Avi Minkowitz asked his friend to drive his cherry-picker truck to the facility. His mom got into the bucket and was hoisted up three stories so she could see her beloved dad outside his third-floor window. Read more in this .

New York City officials began distributing 7.5 million free masks to residents last weekend after the mayor said hospitals and health care workers were adequately supplied with PPE. People can in parks, schools, and food distribution centers (check for a map of giveaway points in parks). All New Yorkers are required to wear a face covering in public, especially in scenarios where social distancing is difficult.

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Tracy Wilk wanted to help out on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, but she’s a chef, not a doctor. So she launched a campaign, , while furloughed from her job as an instructor at the . Wilk creates batches of delicious cookies and gives them to nurses, physicians, and hospital staff who need a little pick-me-up. “A lot of those health care workers have been working overtime. I’ve done those days before in the kitchen,” Wilk Good Morning America全天幸运飞艇数据网页。. “A cookie isn’t going to change it, but it’s going to help workers on the front lines, and those little bits of joy are what makes the day better.”

As we learn more about the novel coronavirus, “COVID toes” is emerging as a possible new symptom. Some people have exhibited reddish lesions and then tested positive for COVID-19 without showing the typical signs of infection, such as a fever or dry cough. According to the , those with “COVID toes” or unexplained rashes should contact their doctor and seek a coronavirus test.

Finally, are you feeling cooped up? Commiserate with the casts of these single-location movies (like my favorite on the list, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope). 

May 1, 2020

People quarantining at home are feeding their sweet tooths (or is it teeth?). Sales of Kellogg’s breakfast cereals, which include Special K, Frosted Mini-Wheats, , and many more, increased in its latest earnings report thanks to the pandemic, the company said. Frozen food sales jumped 9 percent.

Stressed-out, home-bound parents are turning to when they need a break from working, teaching, and childcare. One sitter told The Washington Post that the most difficult part of the job was getting kids back in front of the screen when they wander off.

An NIH study of more than 1000 COVID-19 patients showed that the antiviral drug remdesivir reduced hospital stays to average of 11 days compared to 15 days for patients who received a placebo. The death rate was not reduced significantly. While the results of the study were modest, Dr. Anthony Fauci that “it is a very important proof of concept, because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.”

Drive-in movie theater sign
Coming soon: outdoor movie revival?
John Margolies, // No Known Restrictions on Publication

Could drive-in movie theaters make a comeback? With traditional cinemas closed across the country, drive-ins offer the thrill of a summer blockbuster in the sanitized safety of your vehicle, with a dash of mid-century nostalgia thrown in. , including the Family Drive-In Theatre near Winchester, Virginia, which has recently sold out its weekend shows of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Finally, if you’re bored with your cereal-based isolation diet, plug in your Instant Pot and try making these nine concoctions.

April 28, 2020

The CDC added six symptoms to its list of common signs of possible COVID-19 infection. Along with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the includes chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of smell or taste. NPR reports that the expanded list of symptoms might allow for coronavirus testing, since people generally need to show signs of infection to be tested. One scary potential symptom is not yet included: blood clots that are leading to strokes in younger, otherwise mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients. The Washington Post has that .

Preliminary results from an Oxford University-based effort to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus are promising, The New York Times reveals. Six rhesus macaque monkeys were given an experimental vaccine, exposed to copious amounts of the virus, and . Human trials are next.

N95 masks have been in short supply since the pandemic began, so a group of Boston-based researchers set about finding a simple way to decontaminate masks for reuse. In a not-yet-peer-reviewed appearing on the preprint server medRxiv, they suggest that steaming a mask in the microwave over a dish of hydrogen peroxide effectively removed viral particles. While the method hasn’t been tested on a large scale, it could present a way for individual healthcare workers to reuse previously worn masks.

n95 mask
An n95 mask
Famartin, //

If your wedding has been scaled back or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic—and if you really, really love Miller High Life—have we got a contest for you. The beer brand is giving away “doorstep” weddings to three couples, which include the services of an officiant and photographer and $10,000 for a sometime-in-the-future honeymoon. See the company’s for details about entering.

We’re still anticipating the return of toilet paper to store shelves. Now, Business Insider that the supply of disinfectant wipes and other cleaning products might not come back to pre-pandemic levels until late summer. Brush up on these tips for disinfecting your home while you wait.

Finally, if you’re running out of ways to entertain—I mean educate—your kids at home, try these fun and informative science experiments.

April 24, 2020

Doctors and nurses have self-isolated in and hotel rooms to avoid bringing the new coronavirus into their own families. But one doctor in Texas may be having a slightly more fun time that most in quarantine: He’s camping out in his sons’ treehouse, conveniently located within shouting distance of his actual home. ER doctor Jason Barnes the Corpus Christie Caller Times全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 that his wife cooks meals for him and leaves them on a table outside, where he “[grabs] it before the dogs can get it.” 

You might be wearing your mask wrong. If your mask全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 only covers your mouth or hangs around your neck while you talk on the phone, you’re not using it properly. The Huffington Post has some to get the most out of your cloth face covering—and also offers hints about the for making your own. And, NPR on a not-yet-peer-reviewed that suggests wearing a nylon stocking over your cloth mask keeps the mask tighter on your face and more effective at restraining your spittle.

Walmart and grocery stores are putting one-way in their aisles to help shoppers move in a single direction throughout the stores, which is meant to encourage social distancing. At least two Mental Floss editors have recently witnessed very little adherence to the rules, though. Maybe the stores need to hire crossing guards.

A highlighted last week in this digest found that cats were more susceptible to the virus than other mammals and birds. Now, the USDA is that two pet kitties in different areas of New York State have tested positive for the coronavirus全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 after visiting their vets with respiratory symptoms. There is still no evidence that people can contract COVID-19 from their pets. Fortunately, the two cats are expected to make a full recovery.

Finally, you may be sitting on a hoard on quarantine-related nonperishables right now, but those canned goods won’t last forever. Just look at what happened to this one

April 21, 2020

You may be feeling stir-crazy after a few weeks of home quarantine, but you have probably had it easier than in India who were found self-isolating in a cave. The visitors—from France, Turkey, Nepal, Ukraine, and the U.S.—had run out of money for their hotel rooms. Officials took them to a nearby ashram and told them to quarantine for another two weeks. 

Schoolkids in Britain can take a virtual class with naturalist extraordinaire Sir David Attenborough. The dulcet-voiced narrator of Blue Planet II and Seven Worlds, One Planet will teach pupils about mapping, animal behavior, and oceanography on the BBC’s .

Should you disinfect your deliveries? The New York Times offers on when or if to treat common surfaces, like cardboard boxes, your shoes, and your hair, with antiviral solutions. Bonus: The Times’s how-to guide for at home.

There are many things we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus, including how well it is spread by different methods. Words like airborne and aerosol get thrown around a lot, but their meanings aren’t always clear. Check out this explainer on some coronavirus terminology you should know

Finally, a Colorado indie bookstore is helping readers discover new novels and authors during lockdown. For $50, Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boulder will deliver a mystery bag of four to six books (plus a packet of tea or coffee beans) based on the customer’s preferred literary genre. Here are some more ways全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 to help local bookstores stay afloat.

April 17, 2020

A 99-year-old World War II veteran in Britain vowed to raise money for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) by walking 100 laps around his garden. On April 16, completed his mission and raised a whopping £13 million ($16 million) for the public health service. Moore had started out on April 8 with a goal to raise £1000—but when supporters donated £70,000 in the first 24 hours, he upped his objective to £1 million. As The Guardian , Moore completed the last 25 laps on live television accompanied by a guard of honor from the 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, Moore’s own regiment in the war. Now, his supporters are asking Queen Elizabeth II to give him a special commendation. And he turns 100 on April 30!

Another enterprising senior, quarantined 93-year-old Pennsylvania resident Olive Veronesi, put a plea in her window: “I need more beer!” Coors Light answered the call and promptly delivered 150 cans. “I was on my last 12 cans, I have a beer every night, you know what, beer has vitamins in it, it’s good for you, as long as you don’t overdo it,” Veronesi told . Similarly, 82-year-old Ontarian Annette Muller implored her daughter to run to the store with a in her window reading “need more wine.”

In more feel-good news, a Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant that usually features a $700 tasting menu is the city’s homeless population instead.  

An anonymous donor bought each of the 549 households in Earlham, Iowa, $150 in gift cards to spend at local businesses—a present totaling more than $82,000. “I don’t believe ‘thank you’ is a big enough word,” Mayor Jeff Lillie The Washington Post.

Finally, Facebook is who have interacted with posts containing coronavirus misinformation to websites with facts from the World Health Organization. A Facebook official said in a that 2 billion users have been directed and 350 million have clicked through to the factual sites. Here are some other companies doing their part during the crisis.

April 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the U.S. economy hard, but some small business owners are devising creative ways to help their staff. The owner of a Tybee Island, Georgia, bar spent three days un-stapling dollar bills—totaling more than $3000—from the walls and ceiling .

Speaking of workers: Some newly unemployed and furloughed folks are creating online communities to help their peers全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 of state labor websites and unemployment benefits.

Cardboard box of toilet paper rolls
Precious, precious toilet paper
NataliaDeriabina/iStock via Getty Images

The Great Toilet Paper Shortage continues, but apparently some people are finding it at Walmart. The company’s CEO, Doug McMillon, told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on April 10 that Walmart consumers enough toilet paper in five days to give every American a roll全天幸运飞艇数据网页。. (That’s about 328 million rolls, or 328 billion individual squares if every roll had 1000 sheets.)

Cats can catch coronavirus. A Chinese in the journal Science found that the novel coronavirus replicates easily in and ferrets (which often stand in for humans in respiratory studies), but not as well in dogs全天幸运飞艇数据网页。, pigs, chickens, or ducks. More research is needed, though.

By now you’ve probably heard your city’s or state’s recommendations for using a face covering or mask when you’re outside—and glasses wearers have surely discovered their lenses fogging up while wearing one. Here are a few tips for wearing a mask and glasses at the same time.

April 10, 2020

The toilet paper shortage is real—but your credit card company might be able to help you squeeze the Charmin. Finder.com that high-end credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the MasterCard Gold Card offer concierge services to help cardmembers make dinner reservations, travel arrangements, and other transactions. In a small experiment, three Finder.com staffers asked their card company’s concierge to find the nearest store with toilet paper on the shelves. Two concierges were able to call around and unearth the white gold.

A Marine veteran didn’t let the coronavirus pandemic interrupt her 104th birthday celebration, WMC Action News 5 in Memphis, Tennessee. Ruth Gallivan, believed to be one of the oldest female Marines, served in World War II. The veterans’ organization Honor Flight surprised her by putting together a drive-by car parade and wished her many happy returns.

Wondering how you can help essential workers during the pandemic, besides just staying home? Buy a meal for a medical professional 全天幸运飞艇数据网页。during the pandemic through , founded by a New York City restaurateur to make and deliver meals to hard-working doctors, nurses, and hospital staff (and to keep restaurants in business). You can also to NYC Health + Hospitals, where so many COVID-19 patients receive treatment.

Finally, your pantry staples might be running a little low after a month on lockdown. If you’re planning a run to the grocery store, follow these simple precautions全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 to reduce the chance of bringing home the coronavirus along with your bread and .

April 7, 2020

Almost 24 million people watched Queen Elizabeth II deliver a personal televised about the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, April 5. The queen thanked healthcare workers and those staying at home for their continued efforts in battling the outbreak, and said this address reminded her of her very first TV broadcast in 1940, when she offered a message to children who had been sent overseas for their own safety at the beginning of World War II. "We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return," the queen . "We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again." The queen rarely gives televised speeches apart from her annual Christmas message—this broadcast was only her fifth in her 68-year reign.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for COVID-19全天幸运飞艇数据网页。, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The zoo's chief vet Paul Calle that Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, had tests confirmed at the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory after showing respiratory symptoms. Three other tigers exhibited the same symptoms, and zoo officials believe the big cats were exposed to the virus by an asymptomatic zoo employee. The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Bronx Zoo, expects all the cats to . In a , the USDA said it's unlikely that your pet cat could transmit the virus to you, but if you feel sick, it's best to stay away from Fluffy as long as you have symptoms.

Oscar-winning actor and University of Texas at Austin professor Matthew McConaughey 全天幸运飞艇数据网页。 (via Zoom) for a group of residents at at Round Rock, a senior living community in a suburb of Austin. Along with his wife, mom, and kids, McConaughey called out the numbers while the quarantined seniors played along at home.

Should you be wearing a mask when you go outside? The answer is complicated全天幸运飞艇数据网页。, but New York City's mayor has begun urging residents to wear a to reduce the chance the virus could spread through breathing or talking. Recent suggests presymptomatic people could transmit the coronavirus more easily through than previously thought.

And finally, you may have a hard time finding hand sanitizer in stores these days, but if you do, check its expiration date.

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A Diehard Fan of The Office Just Wrote a 24-Episode 10th Season—and You Can Read It Online

The cast of The Office in a scene from the series finale.
The cast of The Office in a scene from the series finale.
NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Just like William Shakespeare before him, one fan of The Office has been using his time in quarantine to get a little creative, writing an entire new season of the beloved sitcom.

As reports, extreme Dunder Mifflinite spent his time indoors writing a full, 24-episode 10th season of the series, and it's available for anyone to read . Just be prepared that it may take a little time, as it's 900 pages long!

Janicki did the beloved sitcom appropriate justice by bringing back all the most crucial characters, including Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Pam Beesly, and Jim Halpert全天幸运飞艇数据网页。. To see exactly what goes down in each episode, and how Janicki's imagined 10th season plays out, you'll have to read it for yourself. The scripts are described as a "reunion season" and each one is currently available to read in PDF form. With titles like "The Dunderal," [] and "Bachelor & Chill," [] it sounds like fans are in for a real treat.

It might not be the long-awaited reunion fans had hoped for, but hey, it's something. As for whether or not the series will ever make like Friends and announce an official reunion, that is really anyone's guess. According to the show's creator Greg Daniels, the ensemble cast might be too big and too busy to all come back together for a new show. Thankfully, however, fans got the next big thing when many of the actors appeared on a recent episode of John Krasinski's Some Good News for a .

[h/t ]

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