But when people ask me if I’m worried about infectious diseases, they’re often not asking about the threat to human lives; they’re asking about the threat to human life. With each outbreak of a headline-grabbing emerging infectious disease comes a fear of extinction itself. The fear envisions a large proportion of humans succumbing to infection, leaving no survivors or so few that the species can’t be sustained. … [Read more...] about Why Hasn’t Disease Wiped out the Human Race?
That the US saw a late, severe flu season makes it even trickier to tease apart whether it was the flu or coronavirus that was making people sick in January and February, said Rutherford. He wouldn’t be surprised if more early cases turned up, but he said it was unclear why, if the virus was circulating early, patients were not overwhelming hospitals early on. “The big mystery is why don’t we have even more cases now, if it was spreading before we had shelter in place and all that,” he said. … [Read more...] about Tracing ‘patient zero’: why America’s first coronavirus death may for ever go unmarked
The combination of social media and selfish behaviour can have a profound influence on the ability of a disease to spread, even when those individuals starting the cascade have no more inherent influence than anyone else. There is some evidence from the US that this social connectivity has been important in determining how people adhere to lockdown restrictions. The impact of public figures acting in their personal interest can therefore be disastrous – not because of the individual disease risks they pose, but because of their potential, as a public example, to set off catastrophic behaviour change. … [Read more...] about How has Cummings harmed the fight against coronavirus? Here’s the scientific answer
Cheyne Moore, 38, is in lockdown in Cornwall with his wife and four-year-old son who has cystic fibrosis. Moore has had to close his small surfing school but his worries are focused on what being indoors is doing for his son’s health. “He swam every week, skateboards, went to the beach every day before the lockdown. Because of shielding we have not left the house or garden in the best part of eight weeks and all our fitness and health has suffered because of it.” … [Read more...] about ‘I had an active life’: How are shielders surviving lockdown?
Cracks are appearing, not just within the Conservative party, but among its cheerleaders and natural allies. They will heal, no doubt, but equally inevitably, they will open up again with the next assault on public trust. It may not be obvious today how to bring down a government in the middle of a crisis, but that has to remain the objective, and all activity and critique must build towards it. Otherwise Cummings is just toying with us – strengthened by the impotence of our anger. … [Read more...] about We can’t trust this lying government to steer us through the coronavirus crisis
An American passport used to be an asset, now it’s looking rather more like a liability. “Italy plans to reopen to travellers on June 3 –but not to Americans” ran a recent headline in the travel magazine Afar. This is somewhat misleading: Italy is opening its borders and removing quarantine restrictions only for people from other countries in Europe, it is not singling out Americans. However, Americans aren’t used to being told they can’t do things and a screenshot of the article quickly went viral. … [Read more...] about A US passport used to be an asset. Under Trump it has become a liability