Given the mass media bias for amplifying bad news and speculating about the worst possibilities, it is hard to find news of any positives happening. I just watched a tv anchor interviewing a doctor and displaying a concerted effort to get the expert to say scary things confirming the anchor’s fears. The doc held his ground (No, droplets from sneezes or coughs do not stay in the air; No, surfaces are not infected for some fixed time; many factors affect how long the virus can live. )
There are hopeful things happening, and thanks to Peter Diamandis for posting these good news reports on his Tech blog and Doug for emailing me. All links can be accessed freely without any paywalls.
How about some good news for a change?
There have been A LOT of facts going around regarding COVID-19, and a flurry of “positive news” items to lift our spirits.
Here are a number of major victories from the Pandemic line. I’ve had my team fact-check these wins with links you can follow up on.
(1)Vaccine development: An experimental vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. began the first stage of a clinical trial on Monday, with testing on 45 healthy adults in Seattle. [link]
(2) China’s new cases plummet: China has now closed down its last temporary hospital built to handle COVID-19. Not enough new cases to warrant them. [link]
(3) Drugs that work: Doctors in India have successfully treated two Italian patients with COVID-19, administering a combination of drugs — principally Lopinavir and Ritonavir, alongside Oseltamivir and Chloroquine. Several are now suggesting the same medical treatment, on a case-by-case basis, globally. [link] [link]
(4) Antibodies to the rescue: Researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody that can fend off infection by COVID-19. [link]
(5) 103-year-old recovery: A 103-year-old Chinese woman has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China, becoming the oldest patient to beat the disease. [link]
(6) Stores re-opening: Apple has reopened all 42 of its Apple retail stores in China. [link]
(7) Test results in 2 hours: Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center has developed a COVID-19 test that can now deliver results in just two hours, rather than in a matter of days. [link]
(8) South Korea’s dramatic drop in new cases: After its peak of 909 newly reported COVID-19 cases on February 29th, South Korea has now seen a dramatic drop in the number of new cases reported daily. [link]
(9) Mortality rates inflated? Experts predict that Italy has seen a higher mortality rate of COVID-19 given its significant aging population, as well as its higher percentage of COVID-19 patients with pre-existing health conditions. This might suggest that COVID-19’s fatality rate may have been slightly more inflated than previously thought for the general population. [link]
(10) Israeli vaccine development: More than 50 scientists in Israel are now working to develop a vaccine and antibody for COVID-19, having reported significant breakthroughs in understanding the biological mechanism and characteristics of the novel coronavirus. [link]
(11) Full recoveries: Three patients in Maryland who tested positive for COVID-19 have now been reported to have “fully recovered.” [link]
(12) Isolated virus: A network of Canadian scientists isolated the COVID-19 virus, which can now be replicated to test diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. [link]
(13) Yet another vaccine in the works: San Diego biotech company Arcturus Therapeutics is developing a COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore. [link]
(14) Treatment protocols: Seven patients who were treated for COVID-19 at Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh (SFS) Hospital and Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital in India have recovered. The treatment protocol will be widely scaled to other hospitals. [link]
(15) Another treatment: Plasma from newly recovered COVID-19 patients (involving the harvesting of virus-fighting antibodies) holds promise for treating others infected by the virus. [link]
Some of COVID-19’s hardest hit nation victims are already emerging strong after peak infection, and biomedical innovators are tackling the virus at unprecedented speeds.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER… While everyone is concerned about the super-high mortality rate of this virus — which is calculated by the “number dead” divided by “the number who have tested positive” (currently ~14,450/388,000) — the denominator, i.e. the number infected is actually VERY hard to know because so few people have been tested.
It may well be that 10x more are infected but subclinical. So is the mortality rate 4% or 0.4%?
We will find out as large scale-testing comes reliably online.
Wishing you the best. Remember that our most important tool during times of panic and crisis is our mindset. -Peter Diamandis
Footnote (Update March 23) Senior vets recover from Covid19:
A home for senior veterans has been the hot spot in Oregon for positive coronavirus diagnoses, with 13 residents and one caretaker coming down with the virus.
However, as time has gone, 12 of the 14 are doing well, with one showing no symptoms anymore. It also looks like the virus isn’t transmitting as easily as we were led to believe, with 137 people who live and work at the facility testing negative.