• Business as Usual Is On Hold—Even at the EPA

    2020 has a new motto: “Canceled due to the coronavirus.” Businesses, schools, sports, travel, film, and TV production, conferences, meetings, and basically any and all business as usual has been suspended in the US as individuals and institutions try to slow the spread of Covid-19. We have, at least, had outdoor space to go to—staying at least six feet away from others as we do—when we need a break from the four walls of our homes. But those spaces, along with the air we breathe and the water we drink, may get a whole lot less pleasant going forward, as the Trump administration is adding environmental protection regulations to the temporary cancelation list.

    ARS TECHNICA

    This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED’s parent company, Condé Nast.

    The Environmental Protection Agency is

  • An ER Doctor Describes What It’s Like to Treat Covid-19

    The coronavirus has landed, hard, in American emergency rooms. Hospitals in some areas are overwhelmed with critically ill Covid-19 patients, as the patient surge that epidemiologists warned us about is beginning.

    Now it’s on doctors and nurses in emergency rooms across the US, who are also desperate for personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. “We think of the US as one of the most well-resourced places in the world when it comes to health care, but it just goes to show that when there’s sort of widespread panic, normal supplies can be depleted fairly quickly,” says Cedric Dark, an emergency room physician at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, which is preparing for a surge in patients.

    “The other thing that we’ve been doing in hospitals—not only in Houston but across the country—is trying to figure out ways we can use one ventilator machine for more than one

  • France’s Virus Train Moves Patients to Less Hard-Hit Areas

    Along with much of the world, France has gone into lockdown mode to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Citizens are staying at home, planes are on the tarmac, cars in garages. The national railroad has whittled service to a minimum, but it sent a TGV high-speed train from Strasbourg to Angers, in the Loire Valley, Thursday morning. The manifest, however, was most unusual: Instead of the more than 500 passengers that normally fit into the double-decker, it carried 20 Covid-19 patients.

    The goal of the “TGV medicalisé” was to take the pressure off hospitals in France’s Grand Est region, along the German and Belgian borders, where nearly 6,000 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed. Only the Paris area, with about 7,600 cases, has more within France, according to the national health agency. With fewer than 400 cases, the Loire region has medical capacity to spare.

  • Researchers Push For Mass Blood Tests as a Covid-19 Strategy

    Next week, blood banks across the Netherlands are set to begin a nationwide experiment. As donations arrive—about 7,000 of them per week is the norm—they’ll be screened with the usual battery of tests that keep the blood supply safe, plus one more: a test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Then, in a few weeks, another batch of samples will get the same test. And after that, depending on the numbers, there could be further rounds. The blood donors should be fairly representative of Dutch adults ages 18 to 75 and, most importantly, they’ll all be healthy enough for blood donation—or at least outwardly so.

    Testing thousands of samples from seemingly-healthy people might sound a little wasteful, with all we’ve been hearing about testing shortages around the world. But that’s precisely the point, says Hans Zaaijer, a microbiologist at Amsterdam University Medical Center and Sanquin, the Dutch

  • Covid-19 Poses a Heightened Threat in Jails and Prisons

    On Monday, Mo Korchinski drove to pick a woman up from prison. Korchinski is the project administrator for Unlocking the Gates Peer Health Mentoring Program, which provides support for formerly incarcerated people during the first 72 hours of their release. Korchinski had wasted the trip. The woman she had come to collect wasn’t able to leave custody. Due to extra security measures put in place during the global outbreak of Covid-19, she will have to wait a further 14 days before she can travel from prison to a post-correctional treatment facility, just in case she has been exposed to coronavirus while incarcerated. “It’s hard enough to find somewhere to go after prison any time,” Korchinski says. “Now with Covid-19, it’s way harder.” The woman will have to wait, and hope she doesn’t get sick.

    While deferring long-awaited freedom is depressing, the idea of coming down with coronavirus in prison is

  • Most Kids Only Get Mildly Sick From Covid-19—but Not All

    The kids are alright. Right? Well …

    For months, as a new coronavirus has spread around the world—sickening nearly 370,000 people and killing more than 16,000 as of Monday afternoon—it’s seemed that children have been spared the worst of this global pandemic. The earliest data from China, where the outbreak first started, showed that children under the age of 10 made up the tiniest fraction of identified infections. The same study found that the respiratory disease hit older people in China the hardest. Covid-19 killed one out of 250 patients under the age of 50. For patients over the age of 80, it was more like one in five. But it wasn’t clear if that was because the virus only attacked older people, or if they just had worse symptoms, and were thus more likely to be tested.