Vaccine development is also underway. Clinical trials have begun for two promising candidates, though it’s probable a vaccine won’t be available until early next year. And even then, it won’t be available to everyone at once, some supplies in high demand may be difficult to come by, and purportedly mild side effects could still be pretty unpleasant.
For the time being, generic drugs could prove helpful to those battling Covid-19. Blood from recovered patients is also promising, though getting it to those in need is a challenge. And AI is being used to accelerate everything from diagnosis to drug discovery. Most of all, it’s important to remember that finding treatments take time and there are a lot of dubious theories circulating online. Whatever you do, please don’t try drinking bleach.
Meanwhile, hospitals are redesigning their facilities and retooling readily available devices to accommodate the huge influx of Covid-19 patients. Elsewhere, engineers and manufacturers are racing to make more ventilators and PPE.
What to do if you or a relative is ill
Whether you’re raising a family or living alone, it’s best to isolate at home and keep your space clean. And whether you’re sick or healthy, it’s important to look after your mind and body.
Epidemiology and Tracking
How Covid-19 spreads
We know that the virus is passed from person to person when someone coughs or sneezes, or when someone touches a surface it has landed on. But there’s still some uncertainty about how likely the virus is to spread through air and whether your risk of catching it is the same when you’re outdoors. Outbreaks spread exponentially at first but that rate slows over time, especially if additional measures are taken to flatten the curve. And some researchers are exploring the possibility that the virus could return seasonally like the common cold.
How other countries have handled it
Some countries have opted for a strict lockdown. Others, like South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, seemed to have squashed the curve early on thanks to widespread testing and tracing efforts. Though travellers coming from the US and Europe later spurred an increase of cases, there’s still a lot for the US to learn.
How coronavirus is being tracked
To build useful models and fully understand the coronavirus, we need to know how it has spread. Right now, lots of countries are either using smartphone apps and location data to track the spread of the virus or are working to put a contact tracing system in place. To mitigate concern that this contact tracing would be an infringement of privacy, companies like Apple and Google are collaborating on a Bluetooth-based system that would track coronavirus and notify people who have been exposed without surveilling users.
Beyond smartphones, some countries and workplaces have started using thermal cameras to detect potential fevers, and wearable devices and sewage surveillance may also prove helpful. And some city and state officials are skeptical about digital tracing, employing thousands of people to do the tracing instead.
How to stay entertained
From video games to streaming services, we’re living in the golden age of digital entertainment! You can cope with cabin fever by working out, meditating, or getting really into bread baking like everyone else on the internet. Maybe there’s a drive-in movie theater near you, or you have access to a roof. And if you’re really feeling ambitious, you can always do your taxes. Whatever you do, promise you’ll try to avoid doomscrolling?
How to work from home
Even if you’re lucky enough to be working from home, staying productive out of the office is an adjustment. The right gear and a good internet connection make a world of difference. So does mastering the art of Zoom.
Keeping in touch with others
Staying social is important for staving off isolation while we’re all sheltering at home. A well-placed joke and sense of self-awareness can go a long way. And if you’re a parent, it’s worth noticing how this may be affecting your child or teenager differently.
Business and Economics
How the coronavirus is worsening inequality
As unemployment rates and death tolls still climb, it’s evident that this pandemic is affecting everyone. But the way it’s hitting some of America’s most vulnerable populations—children and patients without an internet connection at home, people without a home to shelter in, members of the Navajo Nation, incarcerated individuals—illuminates many of the chasms that divide society. It’s been particularly distressing to see the disease’s disproportionate impact on communities of color. And recently, hot spots have emerged in poorer, densely populated cities in the global south in poorer countries around the world.
How it’s changing different industries
From airlines to influencers, every industry will be changed by this pandemic. Those that have adapted quickly—whether that means taking your business online or placing robots on the assembly line—indicate that embracing technology may be necessary for survival. For essential businesses, this crisis has spurred new conversations about workers’ basic protections and benefits, like sick pay. As some businesses reopen, workers who fear returning face difficult decisions. From pro sports to patio dining, everyone is trying to come up with ways to keep patrons and participants safe. And when those of us working remotely do return to the office, it likely won’t look the same. Some may never go back to the office at all.