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What We’re Reading – Monday, March 30, 2020

General News 

The situation remains dire in New York, which is the current epicenter for the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., as doctors and nurses fall ill. It’s hoped that a Navy hospital ship, which is arriving in Manhattan this morning, will provide some much-needed relief. At this point, the worldwide total of confirmed cases has surpassed 700K with the U.S. having the most. 

Research News 

A new study in Nature Medicine suggests the virus could have been transmitted from animals to humans long before it was first detected in the Wuhan province of China. Scientists say gradual evolutionary changes over years or perhaps even decades may have allowed the virus to eventually gain the ability to spread from human to human and threaten lives. 

Now that conditions are improving in China – at least for now – experts are trying to determine why the country’s world-class infectious disease reporting system did not work as well as it should have in the early stages of the outbreak. This article in the New York Times delves into this issue.

Some Good News

There’s also some good news to report today. In the U.K., the coronavirus outbreak shows early signs of slowing, though officials warn emergency protections could stay in place for many months. There are promising signs as well today in the city of Seattle, one of the initial hotspots for the U.S. outbreak.      

Smaller news agencies have already been hit hard by the shifting way the world consumes information. The pandemic is only making things worse. However, Facebook has announced plans to spend $100 Million to support local news outlets amid the pandemic. The money includes $25 million in emergency grants for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project and $75 million in additional marketing spending for news organizations around the world. 

Overseas, residents are reporting some surprising sightings due to the emptiness of once-bustling city centers. Wildlife has started to appear on the streets of major metropolitan areas. Wild boar have shown up in and around Barcelona while sika deer have been seen in the metro stations of Nara, Japan. Here’s a story on that.

News You Can Use 

Finally, we thought it might be helpful to occasionally share a few news stories that contain COVID-19 information you can use at home or at work. First, there have been questions raised about whether pets pose an infection risk to humans. Here’s some reporting on that.  

A lot of questions have also come up about keeping surfaces as disease-free as possible. Here’s a list of disinfectants from CNN that you can use against coronavirus. Also from CNN, a guide on how to keep your phone clean.

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