Coronavirus Daily Briefing on Smash Notes

Coronavirus Daily Briefing podcast.

March 09, 2020

The daily update on novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 15 minutes and you're up to date.



Recently updated notes

What is new with Coronavirus today? Ask a sneezing person near you! But, if that's too much, there is alway a podcast that covers the ongoing drama, filled with news bits, and important details. Enjoy!

Updated on March 12

Key points in this episode

Physicists give us the lowdown on human teleportation. Some tips for taking actually impressive photos of fireworks this weekend. The nuns moonlighting as bartenders in Milwaukee. What works and what doesn’t for keeping mosquitos away. And the Katmai National Park bear cam is officially back.

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A massive star has vanished. Or collapsed into a black hole. We’re not really sure. The story behind the new 3D-printed plant-based meats. Tips on how to finish your side project. And why Dairy Queen isn’t allowed to say they sell “ice cream” and what Margaret Thatcher has to do with that.

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A barber who’s invented a new, safe way to give people haircuts. The son who embarked on an eighty-five day solo trip across the Atlantic ocean to get to his dad’s 90th birthday after the coronavirus canceled all flights. An experiment in Australia that’s been running for almost a hundred years. Why we feel strangely "aggressive" impulses towards pets and babies we find unbearably cute. And a website that helps you virtually relive your daily commute.


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The church created to circumvent a loophole in Tennessee's elections. VR is getting smell-o-vision, but smelling things is not actually the point. How to prevent your glasses from fogging up while wearing a mask. And a website that aims to combine the best of old fashioned TV channel surfing and the weird wonders of the web.

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Tips for collaborating with coworkers and other ways to maximize working from home. NASA wants your help designing a toilet for their next trip to the moon. How unwanted pests in some store-bought broccoli turned into a wholesome Twitter saga. And a new way to keep up to date with your favorite directors.


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A smart sponge that may be the key to cleaning up oil spills. How to mentally prepare as your town reopens. DIY instructions for making your own beehive bed. And the blossoming audience members that attended Monday night’s performance at the Barcelona opera house.


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A pet robot that’s helping cure COVID-19 loneliness. If you thought the fireworks going off every night in your town was bad, let me tell you about a city in France that has set them off every single day for 150 years. Jurassic Park was #1 in the US box offices this past weekend. Like, the original Jurassic Park. From 1993. And are you ready to go to Flavortown, Ohio?

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Another Neolithic structure discovered just down the street from Stonehenge. Why some people are more resilient than others. The cardboard cutouts stadiums are using in lieu of real, flesh-based human fans. And a contract job that will pay you $10,000 to record your bowel movements.

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Father’s Day-–its origins and how it’s celebrated around the world. How the astronauts onboard the International Space Station are giving a whole new meaning to “space cake.” A fake Nirvana song made with artificial intelligence. A library that is completely for the birds. And some more of the coolest videos I’ve seen this week for you to queue up this weekend.

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Ahead of Juneteenth, a bit of background on its origins and the fight to make it a federal holiday. The inventor of the Segway has a plan to mass produce human organs. The productivity lifehack that lets you complain as much as you want. And the rickroll to end all rickrolls that happened just yesterday. 

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The Statue of Liberty arrived in the US on this day in 1885––a look at its original intended meaning. How our poop could help flatten the curve. The Boccaccio Project that’s capturing the music of quarantine. And a video camera returned to its owners after being stolen over twenty years ago.

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A new promising treatment for COVID-19. Good news for LGBTQ+ Americans. Why people are more honest when they’re typing on their smartphones versus on their computers. The one man who created the stuffed crust pizza, the McGriddle, the Quizno’s Steakhouse Beef Dip, the Dollar Menu, and more. And a Taiwanese airport trying to make a tourist attraction out of all the worst parts of traveling.

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The Kentucky tattoo shop fighting back against extremism. A small town in Washington that has straight up decided to start printing their own money. The science behind why heroes tend to downplay their heroic acts. And the dads who keep making and racing pinewood derby cars long after their kids graduate from Cub Scouts.

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With fans not allowed in stadiums, some sports leagues are using computer-generated crowds to fill the stands. If your hair has grown to a completely unmanageable length, this new site can help. Scientists have discovered massive unidentified structures deep beneath the earth’s surface. How to work out like a medieval night. And some video recommendations for your weekend queue.

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Weird comfort foods born out of historic times of discomfort. How to hug during a pandemic. Electric vehicle batteries may get a second life. Drones are now delivering library books to kids in Virginia. And the best custom birthday videos on the internet.

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The WHO’s new official advice on mask-wearing do’s and don’t’s. The 103 year-old retired Belgian doctor hoping to make a difference in the coronavirus effort. Archaeologists have uncovered an entire ancient Roman city without digging a single thing. Could going for walks replace your coffee habit? A Japanese zoo pivots to fashion. And an Italian woman who didn’t let a little thing like brain surgery get in the way of her cooking.

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A look at when epidemiologists will personally be resuming various daily activities. The real people behind one of Apple’s most famous sound effects. How dropping f-bombs might actually be a useful strategy. And the first American woman to walk in space makes history again.

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New Zealand has officially reduced their number of coronavirus cases to zero. Apple apparently patented technology for socially-distanced group selfies. How to order first-class stamps with your face on them. What paleontologists predict animals will look like in the future. The weird music coming from the Golden Gate Bridge. And a Belgian man plagued by mysterious prank pizza deliveries.

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A further look at the emerging controversy surrounding the data analytics company behind that big hydroxychloroquine study. Another study shows that humans apparently really do want to be kind to each other. Some perfectly specific words from other languages that have no direct English translation. It’s National Donut Day! Which it turns out, wasn’t invented by Dunkin––a look at its longer and more noble history. And some recommended videos to watch this weekend.

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Confirmed case numbers continue to rise around the world as places that were previously spared are now the sites of major outbreaks. How do libraries disinfect books? Isaac Newton’s little known cure for the plague. New synthetic red blood cells that can act as a mechanism for therapeutic drug delivery. And Big Bird’s upcoming CNN Town Hall.

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The data analytics company throwing several major COVID-19 studies into question. How the pandemic has changed the way we sleep. Why shoe companies used to use x-rays to sell shoes. And South Korea’s gift to the Navajo Nation.

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A six month check in on the coronavirus. tl;dr it’s going to last a long time, wear a mask. Recreating what Johann Sebastian Bach’s music sounded like to him. The introvert and extrovert’s guide to thriving during lockdown. And even more evidence that dogs are indeed very good boys.

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Is COVID-19 actually a vascular disease, not a respiratory one? And is the virus itself getting weaker? Plus, kicking off Pride Month with a look at how much same-sex weddings have boosted the US economy. Could human hibernation become a thing? A new exoplanet that could sustain life. And a 19th century clergyman’s advice for dealing with low spirits and isolation.


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Today we’re looking at the different ways the virus spreads and what measures can be taken to prevent spread in different contexts. A new study shows coronavirus epidemics may have started later than originally thought. Plus, the grad student who solved a problem that had stumped experts for half a century. Why Sweden celebrates Taco Friday. And a round-up of Star Wars-related media to check out this weekend.

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Is the coronavirus more dependent on super spreaders than we thought? Research indicates possible biological markers to determine how severely an individual will react to COVID-19. And how the decline of local journalism is taking a toll on America’s small towns. Plus, will we be able to trust our memories of this time? Cannibalistic dinosaurs. And why oranges are sold in red mesh bags.

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A third of Americans now show signs of clinical anxiety and depression. A round-up of where and how the virus spreads, including how safe you may be on planes and going into the office. Plus, the details behind the futuristic SpaceX flight suits. The woman on TikTok trying to trade a bobby pin for a house. And a soothing soundscape of narwhals.

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Young people are getting sick with COVID-19 in very high numbers in Brazil. A rundown on what we know and don’t know at this point. And an argument against immunity passports. Plus, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon launches tomorrow. A new space tax proposal. The world’s oldest living cat celebrates his birthday. How to get free pizza if you’re a graduating senior. And Catholic priests’ new weapon to fight coronavirus.

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More on that study projecting 36,000 people could have been saved if the US had locked down sooner. How to safely socialize, if you choose to do so. Bots are spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories on Twitter. And, Pac-Man turns 40 today. The hottest new renewable resource on the moon: astronaut’s pee. The twenty-five-year-old skin care consultant fielding Elon Musk’s missed calls. And some recommended videos to watch this weekend.

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Key points in this episode

The CDC updates their guidelines on the spread of the virus via surfaces. Is it safe to go swimming? How much of an effect does population density have on the spread of the disease? Plus, throwing cold water on that “NASA discovers a parallel universe” story. Some tips to improve your walking. And the most heartwarming YouTube channel to go viral in a long time.

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Key points in this episode

U.S. states are all reopening in some fashion this week. How AI-powered biotech can speed up the vaccine development process. And COVID-19 patients are running their own surveys to show the true effects of the disease. Plus, a livestream from Stonehenge. Chuck E. Cheese’s new front. And a British man who has turned one hundred, gotten a book deal, topped the music charts, and been knighted all in the last two months.

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Key points in this episode

How far can respiratory droplets fall when we speak? What would a public health plan targeted towards the elderly look like? Some advice on combatting COVID-19 symptoms from someone in recovery. Plus, have birds gotten louder recently? Why did Michael Jordan agree to star in Space Jam? And a site to help you discover new-to-you music on Spotify.

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Key points in this episode

Mental health concerns for children as the pandemic goes on. The seven things we can be doing to beat COVID-19 and save the economy. How our changed behavior has confused the algorithms. Why humans freak out when they get lost, and a new interactive Netflix special to enjoy while you stay home this weekend.

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Key points in this episode

Los Angeles is considering extending their lockdown for three more months while other places begin reopening. A practical guide to avoiding COVID-19 risks. What the loss of smell and other neurological symptoms might mean for the relationship between coronavirus and the nervous system. Plus, a new online simulator from SpaceX, how to make cold brew in a french press, a comet to look out for tonight, and Guy Fieri and Bill Murray go head-to-head.

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Key points in this episode

Many countries around the world take cautious steps toward reopening, but spikes of new daily cases are still popping up. Should people with mild cases of coronavirus be allowed to isolate at home? Why the passage of time feels so disorienting right now. And why Clorox wipes are still so tough to find. Plus,  and the gene that causes South African bees to have “virgin births.”

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Key points in this episode

Numbers are looking relatively promising in a lot of places, but one incident has jeopardized South Korea. The FDA has approved the first antigen test, and what’s the difference between that and an antibody test? Why might a vaccine take so long to develop? Plus, the internet shares their favorite memories of Little Richard, how to cook murder hornets, using nanospacecraft to locate black holes, and how The Simpsons predicted 2020.

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Special announcement from Brian about the changes to the podcast. Don't worry, we're not going anywhere...


Key points in this episode

Was the Sundance film festival another super spreader event early on in the disease? Now that remdesivir is thought to be a treatment, doctors want to know why they can’t get their hands on it. Blood thinners show promise combatting those clotting issues we’ve been seeing. A comprehensive look at antibody tests and what they can and cannot do. And a look at New Zealand’s “Bubble” concept. Could it be a playbook for the next few months?

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Are travel bubbles the new trend in post-lockdown countries? Could we see a coronavirus test that is as simple to take as a home pregnancy test? The problem with those stories about coronavirus mutations. The precise symptoms of that new, possibly covid-related sickness in children. And actually, a consideration of what we know and still don’t know about the long term health effects of the disease.

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“Where’s the beef?” Literally. At least, in some Wendy’s restaurants. A look at that research suggesting there is a mutated strain of the coronavirus that might be more deadly. Pfizer begins human trials of a vaccine. Rural infections rates spike. And the citizens of Ireland return a century old favor.


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A new mystery illness affecting children may or may not be Covid-19 related. What is life going to look like until there is a vaccine? How long do coronavirus symptoms actually last? Will schools actually be reopening in September? And why the lockdown has created a field day for speeders.

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This week begins the great re-opening experiment. We take a deep breath and look at three of our biggest concerns about all of this. Why does the virus wallop some places and spare others? Accurate comparing Coronavirus deaths to Flu deaths. And what offices might look like after lockdown. TLDR: the cubicle is back!

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Key points in this episode

Crucial statistical crossover in Western European coronavirus numbers. Cosmetic surgery returns to Los Angeles. Cities are banning mask valves. What is the “second week crash” and what are the symptoms? Why the coronavirus is unlikely to disappear in the summer? And should kids be allowed to hug their grandparents?

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A deep dive into the hopes surrounding remdesivir as a potential treatment drug. A high level summary of the current status around the world. Why some COVID-19 patients don’t sense they’re low on oxygen. Some more clues as to why some recovered patients test positive again later. And a look at the people stepping forward to risk their lives for a COVID vaccine. Should we let them?

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First scientific study to show that maybe aerosolization of the disease is possible. Considering the psychological toll on society, not just the medical toll. Hard numbers on how much testing and tracing individual communities will need to re-open with confidence. Is blood sugar another key corona factor? And could a new antiviral coating be a game changer for public spaces?

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Key points in this episode

Reopening plans take shape across the globe and the R-naught number is the metric communities are watching closely. Data suggests that Americans are increasingly not waiting for the official word to leave lockdown. An over the counter heartburn remedy might be a tool against the virus. And a comprehensive, $46.5 billion dollar blueprint to reopen the economy with the aid of testing and tracing from some of the experts we quote all the time on this show.


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Coronavirus Morning Report on Facebook

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Key points in this episode

The lockdowns are starting to come down in New Zealand, and even Italy. New official symptoms of the disease from the CDC. A follow up on that story about stroke victims suddenly appearing. Parsing the headlines about immunity, or lack thereof. A rule of thumb for assessing true infection numbers. And how to save summer 2020.

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The woman now assumed to be the first Coronavirus death in the US presents a puzzling case. Breaking down the big antibody test in New York. Did 1/5th of New Yorkers already get infected? If so, what does that mean? States are building out their own brigades of test and tracing workers. The lockdown means immunizations for other diseases are dropping dangerously. And the story of the last movie theater showing first run movies in the US.

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We’ve focused a lot on ventilators on this podcast because they seem to be the prime medical intervention we have at the moment. But there's more troubling data about how effective ventilators are to affect Covid outcomes at all. A new blood-clotting complication is worrying. Another look at New Zealand, where they’re so successful against the disease, their goal now is to “eradicate” it. And a snapshot at the realities of testing through the lens of one small Texas town.

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Coronavirus Morning Report on Facebook


Key points in this episode

Autopsies show cases of coronavirus fatalities in California, back in early February, which might change the entire timeline of the virus. A new study suggests that hydroxychloroquine treatment might actually make things worse. With clinical trials in humans beginning in Germany, another look at where we are with the Vaccine. Where did all the other non-covid related urgent health cases go? And when the heck are we going to get some data… any data… to hang our hats on?

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Coronavirus Morning Report on Facebook


Key points in this episode

Huge news: data from the first big serologic antibody study in LA County. Italy reports falling numbers and plans to cautiously end the lockdown. More good news: Asthma might not be a big risk factor. What are ‘Covid toes’ and are they a new stealth symptom? And new data on how long the virus can live on fabric. On shoes. On our hair. Etc.

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Coronavirus Morning Report on Facebook


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Re-upping or concern for specific hotspots as flareup potentials, including prisons, factories and nursing homes. More data that the curve has flattened into a plateau but it’s not dropping. More good news about Remdesivir. More data linking obesity to serve Covid outcomes. And worrying news that the first antibody tests are having serious problems.


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Coronavirus Morning Report on Facebook


Key points in this episode

As was widely expected, China has revised official Covid death numbers upwards. A deep dive into the positive test rate and why we should be cautious about US case numbers plateauing. Potentially really terrific news about a drug treatment we’ve discussed before. How far can air carry the Coronavirus? And with these terrible unemployment numbers, once again, why not put people to work doing test and tracing?


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Singapore has its worst Coronavirus day yet. More worries about meat processing facilities in the US. New antibody tests announced. More on what recovering from Covid-19 is actually like. And why overdoing exercise might actually lower your immune system.

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Key points in this episode

A surge of new official deaths in New York and some unusual categorization in Chile further highlights the vagaries of counting Covid. A look at New Jersey shows how even at this late date, simple testing is proving problematic. Businesses are looking to fill the testing gap. It turns out Americans are actually pretty good at social distancing. And a look at the phenomenon of social distancing shaming.

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Several states on the west coast and east coast have formed two separate coalitions to coordinate reopening the economy in their regions. Amazon is expanding grocery delivery capacity and Walmart is opening more testing centers. How the coronavirus has transformed the American economy. The model being used for reopening businesses and how it’s working so far in China. And, how to implement the old school form of contact tracing on the mass scale needed in the US.

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Key points in this episode

A lot of two steps back along with today’s one step forward numbers. Is Britain on track to have the highest fatality rate in Europe? Is Florida undercounting deaths from snowbirds? A deep dive into the Google and Apple contact tracing technology. It’s hard to believe at this moment in time, but medical staff are actually getting laid off right now. And more on what it's like to be on a ventilator, but more importantly, what it's like to come off of one too.

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Telescope is a new documentary podcast called telescope. It’s host by Jonathan Hirsch, creator of Dear Franklin Jones, and the founder of Neon Hum Media” Telescope is a show that tells the stories of life in the time of Coronavirus” The show tells stories we need right now. Stories of human struggle, resilience, and connection. New episodes drop every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and we’re going to share a quick clip of it right now to give you a taste. To listen to the show, just search for Telescope in Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Telescope Podcast


Key points in this episode

First it was worries about re-infection, now there is worrying new data about disease reactivation. We’re falling behind in terms of having enough supplies to test adequately to allow people to return to work. A followup on California’s coronavirus curve and testing program. A look at Easter weekend coming up. And the veterinarian being hailed as a hero for saving an entire nation.

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Key points in this episode

More signs that numbers are peaking while new hotspots emerge. Data shows the hotspot in New York might have been seeded by Europe, not by Asia. A lack of testing is forcing states to set up their own programs. More data on the rollout of antibody testing. Where have all the heart attacks gone? Funerals in the age of coronavirus? And why we now have a national glut of chicken wings.


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Key points in this episode

More people in NYC have died from Coronavirus than died from the terrorist attacks of 9/11. A hydroxychloroquine test in France is halted due to cardiac issues. Potentially terrible news suggesting that reinfection from the virus is possible in some cases. Is there a genetic link to mild corona-cases? And is it time for technological smartphone surveillance in the US?

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Tech Meme Ride Home


Key points in this episode

The second day of good news numbers is tempered by the fact that if this is the peak, that also means we’ll be seeing some of the worst numbers as well. Remdesivir trials expand. Why you never want to be on a ventilator: they’re only a hail mary last resort. And the UK’s antibody testing program is having problems.

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A bunch of numbers heading in the right direction, even as the US death toll will pass 10,000 today. More men are dying of Covid-19 than women. The Swedish experiment is about to be tested. Bill Gates’ big, expensive vaccine experiment. And why are British 5G towers burning down?

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The Coronavirus Morning Report subreddit


Key points in this episode

We’re at one million cases worldwide. We’re still talking about testing backlogs and undercounting cases. The whole mask debate has come full circle. Why are young people dying more in the US than in other places? Antibody testing gets underway in Colorado. And this show has a subreddit so that you can tip us stories. More info on that at the end of the show.

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Coronavirus Morning Report subreddit


Key points in this episode

The federal government’s stockpile of protective medical supplies is nearly gone. Looking at where the next global hotspot might be. Should you hold your breath when you’re out in public? The FDA isn’t allowing Chinese KN95 masks to enter the US. What a phased reopening of society might look like. The CDC now says as many as 25% of coronavirus patients are asymptomatic, and private labs are causing a new crisis for testing.

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This is the Coronavirus Morning Report for Wednesday, April 1st. The administration says the US is facing as many as 240,000 deaths. Bad numbers to watch for from Indiana and Louisiana. Shocking stories from a US aircraft carrier and about Pentagon supplies that have nowhere to go. Why is COVID-19 so lethal for seniors? Why does Mexico have so few cases, at least thus far? And increasing questions about the true number of deaths in China.


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Key points in this episode

The US death toll surpasses 3,000 and surpasses China’s reported total. General Electric workers who normally make jet engines have walked off the job to demand that their factories are converted to make ventilators instead. Did you already have Coronavirus some months ago and how would you know if you did? The great debate on if we all should be wearing masks of some sort. And the unique challenges when the virus reaches rural America.

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This week is going to be the inflection point week when we begin tracking death numbers and hospitalization numbers, not just new cases. Why have France and Italy been undercounting deaths in those countries? Now we have to worry about Primary Care docs being overwhelmed also. Will the Instacart strike mean no grocery deliveries today? A thread about virus re-infections. And tips to take care of your lungs.

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Just what the title implies. Here is what smart people think will be required to get us all back to work and back to normal. A road map and a game plan to give people hope and because someone needs to lay out what the light at the end of the tunnel might look like at some point.


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Key points in this episode

The prime minister of Britain has tested positive for COVID-19, why there is a shortage of eggs at the moment, med school students might be getting a field promotion to join the frontlines, the obscure plan that might mean the US Postal Service will have a big role in keeping the country going in coming months, the two current vaccine development tracks, and running the numbers at this moment in time––how many cases should we expect, and how many deaths?

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Louisiana is becoming a new global hotspot for the disease. How a single soccer game might have contributed to Italy becoming an early hotspot. Possible reasons why the death rate in Germany is so low, so far. And is pinkeye another early symptom of the disease?


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Prince Charles has tested positive. India has initiated the largest lockdown in human history, nearly 1/5th of the world’s population. Why is coronavirus so hard to defeat from a medical standpoint? Worrying news that the virus might stay on surfaces longer than we thought. But hopeful signs that the virus might not be mutating quickly, and why that is good news for a potential vaccine.

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Key points in this episode

More than 100 people died from Covid-19 in a 24 hour period for the first time. New York sees the majority of its Covid cases under the age of 50. The debate about ending social distancing soon. Another big mythbusting thread. A new tool to protect first responders. And a profile of Doctor Anthony Fauci.

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Key points in this episode

Key points in this episode

The current state of testing in the US, are tests more easily accessible for the wealthy and famous? The CDC recommends “last resort” options for when healthcare workers run out of masks, younger people are getting sicker than previously anticipated, and an update on how long COVID-19 will live on surfaces, and in the air.

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Global cases pass 200,000. Italy has the deadliest day in any one country since the crisis began. Conflicting studies on possible treatments. How to look up how much capacity your local health system has for Covid patients. More details on how the disease affects children. And advice on how to preserve your mental health, not just your physical health.

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Key points in this episode

The US has passed some unfortunate milestones. The Pentagon is donating materials to the healthcare system. First person accounts of what it feels like to have the virus. Lessons from the mortality rate in Italy. How many cases are likely in the US right now? And some of the biggest myths about Covid-19, busted.

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France goes into lockdown, as does the Bay Area. China has only one new local infection. A new vaccine trial. What the heck is going on in Britain? To what degree does bad air make the infection worse? And how long might social distancing last?

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A listener got in touch and asked if I would like to talk to a physician on the ground right now in Seattle area hospitals. Today, we're going to talk to that physician, Dr. Gregg Miller, Chief Medical Officer at Vituity

Dr. Miller requested that I share this resource with you: https://www.vituity.com/covid-19/


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Why the NBA had no choice but to suspend its season. Is high blood pressure a heightened risk vector for Coronavirus? Is there a tipping point which, if crossed, means you would get a more serious form of the disease? More worries about testing capacity in the US. And a new mantra:

 “How many people HAVE been tested? How many tests are available TODAY? How many people CAN be tested tomorrow?”

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The World Health Organization has officially labeled the Covid-19 crisis a Pandemic. Why are children seemingly less susceptible to the Coronavirus? Is China beginning to win the battle against the disease? And what is the status of a vaccine?

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Israel announces a blank quarantine for anyone entering the country. A US Senator and Representative are voluntarily going into isolation. Is Iran what it looks like when the virus spreads out of control? Is Italy’s health care system on the verge of collapse? And running the numbers on what it would take to push the US Healthcare System over the edge.

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Produced By Ride Home Media


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From Ride Home Media, this is the Coronavirus Daily Briefing. Every day at 5pm ET, catch up with the latest numbers, headlines, commentary, chatter, and context around the coronavirus outbreak.


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