Journalists help us make sense of the horrors, challenges, and hope as the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on the U.S. grows. Here are pieces I’ve found useful.
- Oliver Milman at The Guardian: Trump’s devaluing of science is a danger to US coronavirus response, experts warn
- Carolyn Y. Johnson & William Wan in The Washington Post: Trump is breaking every rule in the CDC’s 450-page playbook for health crisis
- Caroline Chen, Marshall Allen & Lexi Churchill at ProPublica: Internal Emails Show How Chaos at the CDC Slowed the Early Response to Coronavirus
- David Michaels at Undark: Paying the Price of Science Denialism … Again
- Jamil Smith at Rolling Stone: We Don’t Have Time for This: Trump’s racism isn’t ancillary to his inept response to the coronavirus pandemic — it is part of it
- Lisa Friedman: Coronavirus Doesn’t Slow Trump’s Regulatory Rollbacks
- Alonso Soto at Bloomberg: Nigeria Has Chloroquine Poisonings After Trump Praised Drug
- Amy Goldstein in The Washington Post: Trump ban on fetal tissue research blocks coronavirus treatment effort
- Aram Roston & Marisa Taylor at Reuters: White House told federal health agency to classify coronavirus deliberations – sources
Worker Health & Safety
- Maryn McKenna at WIRED: The US’ Health Depends on How It Cares for Health Care Workers
- Thomas Kirsch at The Atlantic: What Happens If Health-Care Workers Stop Showing Up?
- Melissa J. Perry, Rosemary K. Sokas & Peter LaPuma at the National Employment Law Project: To Protect the Public Health, Lawmakers Must Help Keep Healthcare Workers Safe
- Somini Sangupta in The New York Times: A N.Y. Nurse Dies. Angry Co-Workers Blame a Lack of Protective Gear.
- John Elligon & Nellie Bowles in The New York Times: They Clean the Buildings Workers Are Fleeing. But Who’s Protecting Them?
- Monica R. McLemore at Scientific American: COVID-19 Is No Reason to Abandon Pregnant People
- Joia Crear-Perry at Essence: Black Mamas Can Thrive During Childbirth, COVID-19 Or Not
- Emily Bazelon at The New York Times: The Coronavirus Becomes an Excuse to Restrict Abortions
- Garnet Henderson at Medium: How Abortion Providers Are Defying the Coronavirus to Continue Care
- Sabrina Tavernise, Audra D. S. Burch, Sarah Mervosh & Campbell Robertson in The New York Times: ‘We Have Lost It All’: The Shock Felt by Millions of Unemployed Americans
- Vann R. Newkirk II at The Atlantic: The Kids Aren’t All Right
- Joseph P. Williams at US News: Rumor, Disparity and Distrust: Why Black Americans Face an Uphill Battle Against COVID-19
- Melissa Boteach in The Hill: The coronavirus is decimating childcare providers. Congress must act
- Bryce Covert in Glamour: ‘Home Is Not a Safe Place If You’re With an Abusive Partner’
- Tim Fitzsimons at NBC News: Coronavirus behind bars: Prisoners being freed to slow spread in ‘virus vectors’
- Alia Wong at The Atlantic: Why Millions of Teens Can’t Finish Their Homework
- Helen Branswell at STAT: What we’ve learned about the coronavirus — and what we still need to know
- Tara C. Smith at SELF: How Far Are We From a Coronavirus Vaccine?
- Michael Halpern at Scientific American: On Coronavirus, Bypass the White House and Turn to the Experts
- Bob Bauer, Ben Ginsberg & Nathaniel Persily in The New York Times: We Must Vote in November. This Is How to Ensure That We Can.
- Scott Greer & Julia Lynch at The Washington Post: These social policies could help the U.S. cope with the coronavirus pandemic
- Ed Yong at The Atlantic: How the Pandemic Will End
4 thoughts on “Worth reading: Coronavirus hits the U.S.”
There seem to be some pretty bright minds here, so I had some thoughts and questions about how coronavirus might spread by touching surfaces.
I’ve pointed this out elsewhere on this site wrt flu, and that is that probably something like twenty-five to fifty percent of the population (maybe more) will at various times of the day actually insert their fingers to or into their mouths, and essentially grab saliva onto their fingers whereupon they subsequently deposit to all the surfaces they touch.
Others who happen to touch those surfaces then pick up that saliva on their fingers, which may then wind up into their mouths, noses or eyes. If that saliva contained infectious pathogens like flu or coronavirus, then I suspect the receiving person also risks illness, correct?
I am afraid hardly a soul out there is noticing this, and because of that, nobody is paying any real attention. This mode of transfer generally happens where food is involved. A cook for instance, rather than using a napkin of the sink, will clean up excess food that gets on his or her fingers by licking or smacking it off. A food server may do this too. Patrons, guests, etc, in places where ever there is dining- especially with things like ribs, sandwiches or finger foods- will also insert their fingers to or into their mouths to clean up excess food.
Just yesterday, there was a commercial on the Hallmark channel for I think Physicians Medical Insurance where the main character is cooking something and as he is talking to the camera, he inserts his thumb or index finger into the mouth. And right in the middle of this coronavirus crisis. Or just look at casual crowd photos at anyway sports game (not the jump up and cheering photos) and you will easily notice someone with a finger inserted into the mouth. Typical is a person with all five fingers flared out and the thumb inserted squarely into the mouth.
So we might wash our hands thoroughly before we eat, but what’s the point if we are going to simply spread our saliva everywhere afterwards? Let me suggest that our “finger licking good” culture is spreading disease in a tactile form, which I suspect complements the airborne/respiratory method very effectively.
So is this a problem or not? And if it is a problem, why isn’t ANYBODY bringing this to national attention?
Yes, the advice to avoid touching our faces definitely includes not putting our fingers in our mouths! Restaurant workers are generally well trained to avoid this, but people preparing food at homes may need to break the habit. And it would be helpful for commercials to model good hygiene.
Thanks Liz! So if you don’t mind, let me ask a few more questions for you or anyone else who cares to chime in:
It seems that something like 99% of the medical advice in the national narrative stresses that these viruses are believed to be spread by a contagious person who coughs or sneezes directly onto someone else who inhales those droplets and aerosols. And in much rarer cases it seems, someone might inadvertently inhale aerosols that remain in the air even from talking, singing or breathing, or they might touch surfaces where those droplets landed, then their faces.
So let me ask you: How serious is tactile transmission from deposited saliva? I don’t see this stressed or mentioned in our national narrative at all, so maybe it’s nothing to worry about that a substantial portion of our population manages to take their own saliva and deposit it to all surfaces they touch?
If not so serious, then all we really need to worry about is social distancing, perhaps face masks (to stop the spread of sneezing or coughing droplets by those who are sick) and regular handwashing.
On the other hand, if tactile saliva is a serious mode of pathogen transmission, and if society were to be alerted to a major degree to take appropriate measures (like keeping your fingers out of your mouths when you serve food or eat, and at other times), maybe we could curtail subsequent recurrences of the coronavirus. Or even cut down on the spread of flu in the future.
I really think we should explore all angles, yet as far as I know we’re either overlooking this one, or it doesn’t matter?
What do you think?
Dr. Fauci in an interview yesterday again advised to avoid shaking hands to prevent virus spread, and in fact he said this should be a new norm forever in his opinion, which may prevent future spread of disease, even the flu. Agreed!
But how exactly are those viruses getting onto our hands?
It just seems to me that if half our population, despite cleaning hands, will insert fingers to or into their own mouths every day when eating, they will be then transporting their saliva on their fingers to share on door knobs, rails, etc, or with whomever they shake hands.
Of course, when a person sneezes or coughs directly onto a doorknob or handrail, we could pick up some viruses that way, but isn’t direct transport of saliva from the mouth via the fingers of one person to give to another by touching surfaces, or handshakes, a much more effective mechanism?