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Podcast

Episode 3: Stopping the pandemic, rapid tests & social spiders

Featured in this episode:

What have been the most effective method in stopping COVID-19 spread

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 involves layers of methods coming together in unison

Frequent & rapid testing can help stop the pandemic in weeks

Early detection of those who have the virus, isolating or treating would speed up the victory against the pandemic

Social spiders

Spider colonies do exist and it’s remarkable!

Categories
Daily dose

Myth: Filipinos lack discipline

Three data sets utterly destroy the government’s mantra that Filipinos lack discipline and that this is the reason why COVID-19 cases – despite having the longest lock down in the world, continue to increase by the thousands each day.

A survey by the Institute of Global Health Innovation of the Imperial College London in partnership with YouGov came up with the following figures:

  • 91% wore masks when they were outside
  • 83% washed hands w/ soap & water
  • 77% avoided crowded areas
  • 61% avoided going out in general
  • 70% avoided touching objects in public

Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Report (pdf) based on “aggregated, anonymized sets of data from users who have turned on the location history setting” for their Google Account paints a similar picture covering the period of June 2 to July 14:

  • 46% decline in retail & recreation areas, including restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries and movie theaters
  • 20% decline in places like grocery markets, food warehouses, farmers markets, specialty food shops, drug stores and pharmacies
  • 25% decline in places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens.
  • 56% decline in places like public transport hubs such as subways, bus, and train stations.
  • 44% decline for places of work
  • 23% increase for places of residence. In other words, Filipinos stayed at home.

Marlen V. Ronquillo in his The Manila Times column talks about how a recent survey by the Asian Development Bank ‘shatter the myth that Filipinos are pasaway‘:

63.2% decrease in mobility – Filipinos stayed at home even in the congested areas where at least 10 people are crammed inside a small shanty.

A couple of days ago, Vince Dizon, the so-called ‘testing czar’ regurgitated the myth that ‘discipline’ is the key to beating COVID-19. He casually dismissed testing, contact tracing, strengthening the health care system and using available technology as essential tools against the coronavirus. It is bad enough that up until now, public health experts have taken a back seat in the government’s response against COVID-19, it’s infuriating to hear such ridiculous notions from those who are put in such a position.

I have said it before and will say it again, from the experience of other countries, COVID-19 can be beaten. The struggle only becomes more difficult – at the expense of human lives, when the government itself becomes another enemy in this pandemic.

Categories
Daily dose

Flying, children’s blood vessels, pepper sprays & the office

How Safe Is Flying in the Age of Coronavirus? link

Just like with SARS back in 2003, air travel has helped spread novel diseases the world over. Today’s COVID-19 pandemic is no different that’s why a lot of us are worried about the risks of getting sick in an airplane. Charlotte Ryan and Naomi Kresge have answers to key questions about the safety of air travel as some countries are now reopening for business and relaxing travel restrictions. If you think about it, the same questions apply to other modes of mass transportation such as buses and trains where a lot of people spend a lot of time in an enclosed environment.

“Running kids” by iwannt is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Why children avoid the worst coronavirus complications might lie in their arteries link

Children have less severe forms of COVID-19 compared to adults, especially those with diabetes and hypertension. The main difference, according to Frank Ruschitzka a cardiologist at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, may lie in the endothelium that lines the blood vessels which are in better condition in children compared to in adults. Healthier endothelium is able to withstand infection from SARS-CoV-2 which avoids the devastating blood clotting often seen in adult patients.

Paul Monagle, a pediatric hematologist at the Melbourne Children’s Campus has a similar theory. He thinks that when SARS-CoV-2 invades endothelial cells, it disrupts communication between such cells, platelets, and plasma components that results in excess clot formation which could result in death.

Can existing live vaccines prevent COVID-19? link | link

A group of experts has made the argument that the polio vaccine should be tested against COVID-19 because it strengthens the immune system against a wide range of diseases aside from polio. It’s fairly recent and existing polio vaccine are not included in current trials by WHO and other health experts in their race to find a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

“Crash UC Davis” by tpfliss is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
How to handle a pepper spray attack – link

The ingredients that go into pepper sprays are not regulated by the US government. Manufacturers have their own blend and the ingredients are not printed on labels. This means there’s little that scientists know about its composition so they can’t really say how harmful it can be. I’ve had a whiff of tear gas before way back when my sister and I were still kids when we found a small canister in my aunt’s purse. It was a nightmare and they say pepper sprays are far worse. Yikes!

“Office” by Super Rabbit One is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Death of the Office – link

Before Google and other tech start-ups started the fad of open office spaces with slides, bean bags, and free snacks, the ancient Romans as it turns out were on a league of their own. As they dedicated more time to leisure ‘work’ was wherever and whenever they were not having fun. It’s an interesting overview of the origins and evolution of the office. Something we all miss somehow as we work from home due to the pandemic.